Washakie County Cowbelles remain an integral part of county ag community
Worland – Since their formation in 1958, the Washakie County Cowbelles have remained active in the Worland and Ten Sleep areas, promoting agriculture and serving local agriculture organizations in a number of ways.
“The Washakie County Cowbelles was the eighth Wyoming county to organize as a group of Cowbelles,” says Kathy Bush, Ten Sleep rancher and long-time Cowbelle. “Six women from Ten Sleep organized and chartered the Washakie County Cowbelles.”
The first six members of the organization included Mrs. Ed Rice, Mrs. Fred Grant, Mrs. Ray Brown, Mrs. W.A. Waldo, Mrs. Harry Taylor and Mrs. J.S. Woosley.
On founding the group, the six ladies immediately began promoting Washakie County agriculture.
“At their first meeting, held Sept. 29, 1958, they first decided to design and make brand napkins,” continues Bush. “This project has grown, and we have had brand napkins ever since.”
She adds, “We also have brand placemats, tote bags, scarfs, aprons and afghans.”
Continuing to grow
The Cowbelles have continued to steadily grow and develop since.
“At the beginning, the Cowbelles met twice a year – in the spring and summer,” Bush explains. “We now hold monthly meetings.”
She notes that the organization’s main purpose is to promote and educate consumers about beef.
“We promote and educate through holding cook-offs, giving away beef certificates, giving beef to 4-H, FFA, home economics classes and in Christmas baskets,” Bush says. “We also hold radio talks, ag expos and have floats in our local parades.”
The Cowbelles also cater a variety of luncheons, banquets and ag-related events, including WESTI Ag Days.
“We’re very active,” comments Danyne Six, the Cowbelles’ current secretary.
“Every month, we try to do a new promotion,” Cowbelles President Betsy DeBolt comments. “For example, for Valentine’s Day, we will give away beef certificates, and in March, we have the ‘beef fairy,’ who buys corned beef in the grocery stores for folks who are shopping.”
The group also does a lot for Thanksgiving and Christmas by participating in food programs for needy families.
Supporting the community
The Cowbelles are also very active in Washakie County by supporting students through scholarships.
“With the money we raise by catering events, we give scholarships to students,” DeBolt says. “Our only requirement for scholarships is that the student be majoring in agriculture.”
“We give three to five scholarships each year to graduating seniors and college students for continuing education,” Bush says. “Students who are going to enroll in or are currently enrolled in ag–related majors can apply for those scholarships.”
Six further notes that they are generous with their scholarships and provide many opportunities for students.
DeBolt notes that nearly 20 women are members of the organization, with more than half of those participating actively and regularly in the organization.
DeBolt serves as the Washakie County Cowbelles president, Sherry Brewster is the group’s vice president, Six serves as secretary, and Marlene Loudan serves as treasurer.
The members of the organization are all involved in some aspect of agriculture, whether that be cattle production, crop production or as an advocate of the industry.
“The Washakie County Cowbelles are a viable group and will continue to be very active into the future,” says Six. “We love serving beef, and we love teaching about beef.”
“We’re proud to promote beef because it’s a great product,” adds Six.
DeBolt says that the Cowbelles are important because of the role they serve to promote beef.
“We are promoting beef to consumers,” she says. “Beef is the best source of protein and iron out there, and it’s important that people know that. It is important to the U.S. and the world as a whole that people know how great beef is.”
“So many people have misconceptions that beef is bad for us, but that isn’t true,” DeBolt adds. “We will continue to promote beef every way we can.”