Farmers, ranchers and their families gathered at the Elks Lodge in Cortez Saturday for the annual Southwestern Colorado Livestock Association and to recognize the Stockman and Cowbelle of the Year.
The most prestigious agriculture awards in the southwestern region are given to those who embrace both the agriculture industry and activity in the community in the past year. They are awarded by members of the SCLA board who compile family background and business information on the winners, and obtain personal stories from family members and friends.
The 2013 Stockman of the Year was awarded to Steve Hinton, who was born and raised in Cortez to a regional pioneer family. Cowbelle of the Year went to Kate Greaves, who was born in Trinidad, Colo.
Both recipients were surprised and gracious as they accepted their awards.
Jason Blackmer, president of the SCLA board and Bev Humiston, president of the Southwestern Cowbelles presented the awards.
Growing up, Hinton was part of a cattle ranch and alfalfa producer.
Hinton was born and raised in Cortez and attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and Mesa State College in Grand Junction. After college he mined in Rico then went on to work for a tire company. He lived in Denver, Grand Junction and then Cortez. He worked for Nielsen's Construction for 22 years and retired in May 1998. During his time at Nielsen's, he couldn't shake his desire to return to ranching. He entered into a partnership with his father and they purchased land near Groundhog Reservoir in Dolores County to use for summer grazing.
"I owe my livestock days to my father," Hinton said. "He taught me everything I know."
Over the years, he has served as a past president on the board of the Cattleman's Association, served on the Montezuma-Cortez School District board and the Vo-Tech School Board. He has a strong involvement in both water issues and community service.
Hinton was surprised to receive the honor.
"I thought old and successful guys were supposed to get these awards," Hinton said to the crowd.
Greaves was equally shocked by her award. "I am just flat floored. I had no idea!"
Greaves grew up on a mini-farm that had chickens, ducks, rabbits, horses and cows. She made her way to Southwest Colorado after she married in 1971. She joined the Southwest Cowbelles in 2004. She takes care of cattle and horses, has a leather shop for making purses and other items, and is also a seamstress.
She has been on numerous committees over the years including; Adopt-a-Highway Cleanup, Ag Expo Booth, Beef Education, Fair Booth, Quilt Ticket Sales, Youth Legislation, Home and Garden Show and many more. She served as vice president of the Cowbelles from 2008-09 and Secretary in 2012. She resigned when her husband was diagnosed with cancer. As a busy, caring and compassionate woman, Greaves was rightly recognized that evening by her community members.
The SCLA board also held a silent auction with proceeds going to youth scholarships to kids active in the agricultural community. To date, the association has awarded over $50,000 in scholarships. One item, a handmade decorative rope vase, sold for $600. The prizes were donated from at least 20 different local banks and businesses in Cortez, Dolores, Dove Creek and Mancos.