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Commitment honored with lifetime membership

Susie Rogers
Kiowa County, Colo.

Bent-Prowers Cattle and Horse Growers Association (Bent-Prowers) inducted three new lifetime members at this spring’s annual cowboy ball and banquet.

Bent-Prowers members have protected the interests of the cattle industry for 137 years, largely due to the commitment in time and service of longtime members throughout these decades. In recognition of this commitment Bent-Prowers honors some of their members with the prestigious Lifetime Membership Award, including this year’s recipients ” Prowers County’s Ray Hays, Bent County’s Pat Karney, and Baca County’s Calvin Thompson.

Ray Hays was born and raised southwest of Lamar on a place homesteaded by his grandfather in 1908. Growing up on a cow-calf operation, Ray joined Bent-Prowers in the early 1980s where he served as a board member and later chaired the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) Ag Labor and Convention committees. Throughout his service for Bent-Prowers and CCA Ray received numerous awards for membership achievement and recruitment. Beyond these organizations, he also served on Southeast Colorado Coop’s Board of Directors, the Prowers County Conservation District Board, and in the Lamar Elks. Now retired, Ray and his wife, Nancy, enjoy retirement traveling the country.

Pat Karney’s family came to Higbee Valley more than 140 years ago where his grandfather worked the well-known JJ Ranch. Pat started working for the La Junta Mill and Elevator in high school, graduated college, and then bought shares in the mill until he became full owner in 1999. Having worked 27 years at the mill, Pat then sold it and with his wife, Robin, purchased the Pointon Ranch in Bent County. Over the years he has served as a Bent-Prowers Board member, treasurer and president; he served as CCA treasurer, and as an advisor of Junior Cattlemen. Currently Pat serves as secretary of the Bent-Prowers Endowment Trust, is a member of the Colorado Grain and Feed Board, Ark Valley Preservation Land Trust, and Bent County Fair Board.

Calvin Thompson was born and grew up in Baca County as the oldest of three boys. He spent time in the military then returned to Vilas, taught school and worked for local rancher Deet Rutherford and started his own herd. Calvin led Bent-Prowers as vice president and president in the mid 1970s. He also worked in the 4-H program, on Baca County’s Fair Board, and with the Plainsman Research Center (east of Walsh).

Candidates for the Bent-Prowers Cattle and Horse Growers Lifetime Membership Award are from various places and varied backgrounds in the cattle industry. But all share one common interest ” their belief that it takes individuals who care enough about all cattlemen to give their time and effort to learn about issues, resolve issues, create programs, and protect interests, all for the benefit of everyone who participates in the cattle industry.


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