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Past Citizens of the West Honorees

For information about former Citizen of the West Award recipients, please click a name to review excerpts from the original programs.

Dr. John Matsushima
Lynn Cheney
Pete Coors
Tom and Becky Kourlis
Robinson Brothers
Hank Brown
Cortlandt S. Dietler
Sue Anschutz-Rodgers
George Marvin Beeman
H.A. "Dave" & Jean True Family
William J. (Bill) Hybl
Albert C. Yates
Ned & Mary Belle Grant Family
Justice Byron White
W.D. "Bill" Farr
Daniel L. Ritchie
Brownie & Thurman "Fum" McGraw
Cliff Hansen

Dr. John Matsushima -- 2013

The National Western Stock Show has named Dr. John Matsushima the 2013 Citizen of the West.  He will accept the prestigious award at a dinner on January 14, 2013 at the National Western Events Center.  Net proceeds from this event go to support 74 annual scholarships awarded by the National Western Scholarship Trust.  The Citizen of the West, selected by a committee of community leaders, is an annual award given to individuals who embody the spirit and determination of the western pioneer, and who are committed to perpetuating the West’s agricultural heritage and ideals.

Born to immigrant parents from Japan who began farming in Lafayette, Colorado, and eventually Platteville, John’s love of cattle began at an early age.  His involvement with 4-H, Stock Show, and county fairs, where his steer beat another young rancher named Kenny Monfort (1991 Citizen of the West), only encouraged his interest.  After graduating as Valedictorian of Platteville High School, he earned B.S. and M.S. degrees at Colorado State University (then Colorado A & M College) in Animal Husbandry.  He went on to receive his Ph.D. in Animal Science at the University of Minnesota.  John then began his long career of teaching and research in beef nutrition.  Although he began teaching at the University of Nebraska, Warren Monfort and CSU’s President William E. Morgan soon lured him back to Colorado State.  He has mentored thousands of students and worked with hundreds of them on his many research projects.

Dr. William Wailes, former Department Chair of Animal Sciences at CSU, says “Dr. Matsushima is a highly regarded pioneer in the cattle feeding industry.  His development of steam-processed corn grain into ‘corn flakes’ in the 60’s is still used worldwide today to increase efficiency in cattle feeding technology in producing nutritious concentrated protein for the human diet.”   Pat Grant, former President of the National Western Stock Show, talks about how huge Dr. Matsushima is in the world of cattle and beef production.  “Johnny has overseen world renowned research into cattle feeding; this has led to his being a big influence on the quality, taste and tenderness of our best beef.  He has helped to open doors to export of our beef to many foreign nations.  I do not know of anybody world-wide who has done more to improve beef than Johnny.”  

Dr. Matsushima has written several books including an autobiography and authored numerous publications.  He has given speeches and shared his research with people all over the US and in 25 other countries.  He has received countless awards and accolades and even had awards named after him.  The most notable award he received was “Tenno Hosho”, the Emperor’s Citation, given by the Emperor of Japan.  This prestigious award is primarily reserved for Presidents, Prime Ministers and CEO’s of major corporations.  Despite all this, he remains a modest man and gives credit to his wife and his many students, colleagues and friends.

As Pat Grant says, “John Matsushima is an eternal optimist and problem solver, he views challenges as opportunities and his achievements know no boundaries.  Although influential around the world, he will always be a man of the American West.”

John and his late wife Dorothy, have 2 children, Bob (wife Beth) and Nancy (husband Gene), and 4 grandchildren, Cristina (husband James), Catie (husband Preston), Ryan and Jason.

Lynn Cheney -- 2012

The National Western Stock Show has named Lynne Cheney its 2012 Citizen of the West. She will accept the prestigious award at a dinner on Monday, January 9, 2012 at the National Western Events Center Paddock and Arena. This is the first year the event is being held at the National Western Complex. The Citizen of the West, selected by a committee of community leaders, is an annual award given to individuals who embody the spirit and determination of the western pioneer, and who are committed to perpetuating the West’s agricultural heritage and ideals.

Lynne Cheney, a native of Wyoming and former Second Lady of the United States, is an author and scholar. She served under presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Mrs. Cheney remembers growing up in Casper as an experience that encouraged self reliance. In her book about growing up in the West, Blue Skies, No Fences, she writes "You could see yourself creating your own future rather than having one handed to you. And it never occurred to me that my chances of doing this were diminished because I was a girl."

Mrs. Cheney’s close friend Maggie Scarlett sums it up well. "Lynne is a true Westerner who credits much of her success to her western heritage and upbringing. She epitomizes western values. Compassionate, committed and effective; she has an impressive record of scholarly achievements and service to our country."

Mrs. Cheney also has ties to Colorado having earned her B.A. degree with highest honors from Colorado College and her M.A. degree from the University of Colorado Boulder. Her Ph.D. is from the University of Wisconsin. She is also the recipient of awards and honorary degrees from dozens of colleges and universities

From 1995-1998, Mrs. Cheney served as the co-host of the Sunday edition of CNN’s Crossfire, and she has been a member of several boards of directors, including those of the Lockheed Martin Corporation, Union Pacific Resources, and American Express Mutual Funds. While she was Second Lady, Mrs. Cheney returned to a theme she had stressed while chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities: the importance of knowing about the leaders, events, and ideas that have shaped our nation and the world. She wrote six best-selling history books for children and their families, beginning with America: A Patriotic Primer, released in 2002, and most recently publishing We the People: The Story of Our Constitution in 2008. She has donated more than a million dollars of the proceeds from her children’s books to charity.

Among her other books is Kings of the Hill, the story of historic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives. She co-authored this book with her childhood sweetheart and husband, Dick Cheney, and is now at work on Founding Genius, a biography of James Madison.

Hank True, a fellow native of Wyoming says that "Lynne Cheney has demonstrated and personifies the strength, the wisdom, and the leadership capabilities of a true pioneer of western heritage. It is indeed fitting that she is recognized and honored for all her accomplishments as this year’s Citizen of the West." The True Family received the Citizen of the West award in 2004.

Lynne and Dick Cheney have two daughters and seven grandchildren.


Pete Coors -- 2011

Pete Coors, a Colorado native, is chairman of Molson Coors Brewing Company and chairman of MillerCoors. His professional career in the brewing business follows a Coors tradition that has spanned more than a century and five generations of Coors family members. Pete has been an outstanding example of his family’s dedication to Colorado.

Pete is president of the University of Colorado Hospital and Energy Corporation of America and is president and a trustee of the Adolph Coors Foundation and the Castle Rock Foundation. His numerous and diverse civic responsibilities include serving as a trustee and member of the executive board of the Denver Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, a member of the National Western Stock Show Association executive committee, Johnson and Wales University Corporation and the Denver Art Museum Foundation.

In addition to his civic endeavors, Pete is an avid outdoorsman. Active in wildlife conservation, he serves on the boards of several conservation groups. Peter is currently a national trustee and also is a former national president and chairman of Ducks Unlimited.

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Tom and Becky Kourlis -- 2010

Tom and Becky are the first legacy (Becky's mother and father, John and Ann Love, were honored in 1989) and among the youngest Citizen of the West honorees.

Tom and Becky are both Colorado natives but grew up in two different worlds. Tom is the eldest son among five children born to his Greek parents, Harry and Effie. Tom was raised on his family's ranch in Craig and attended Moffat County public schools. Meanwhile, Becky was born in Colorado Springs, but moved to Denver when her father, John Love, was elected Governor. Becky grew up in the public eye playing hide-and-seek in the Governor's mansion and attending Graland and later Kent Denver

While their life experiences have been very different, Tom and Becky's commitment to family, community service and their dedication to the West's past, present and future are perfectly aligned. Steadfast in these values, Tom nd Becky have taken on numerous leadership responsibilities at the local, state and national level.

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Robinson Brothers -- 2009

The parallel lives of these two outstanding men made it important to choose both for this honor. Dick and Eddie are fourth-generation natives of Denver; their great-grandfather, Lewis Robinson, settled in Lakewood, Colo., in 1885. Dick was born in 1929, followed two-and-one-half years later in 1932 by his brother, Eddie. Both graduated from East High School, and attended Colorado A&M, now known as Colorado State University. Dick earned a Bachelor of Science degree in animal husbandry, and Eddie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture.

Robinson Dairy was established in 1885 by their Great Grandfather. Dick and Eddie joined the family business in 1954 and 1956 where they spent their entire working careers. Being active in community and charitable organizations was a mutual passion. They not only joined, but also chaired and tirelessly served many of Denver's prestigious boards, foundations and philanthropies.

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Hank Brown -- 2008

A Colorado native, former US Senator Brown entered the University of Colorado in 1957 on a football scholarship and helped pay his way through school by working 30 hours a week. Academically, he was on the faculty honor roll for four semesters and participated in the honors program. While at CU, as student body president, he secured the passage of the first complete reorganization of student government since the late 1930s. He also holds a bachelor's degree in accounting, a juris doctorate degree from the University of Colorado Law School, and a master of law degree from George Washington University.

After serving in the US House of Representatives, Hank Brown was elected to the United States Senate in 1990, becoming Colorado's 30th Senator. He was chairman of the Middle East Subcommittee on Foreign Relations and chairman of the Constitutional Law Subcommittee on Judiciary. Numerous bills were passed with his leadership, but among legislation most pertinent to the American West, Brown was the prime sponsor of Colorado's only Wild and Scenic River and the only Heritage area designation, the 1994 Colorado Wilderness Bill, and the American, Santa Fe and Oregon Trails bills.

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Cortlandt S. Dietler-- 2007

Cort Dietler is a legendary figure in the oil and gas world who typifies the western ethics of integrity, straight-talk and self-reliance. From his first job with ARAMCO in Lebanon in 1947 to his current role as founder and chairman of the board of TransMontaigne Inc., Dietler was instrumental in making Denver a corporate energy center, and has had a major impact on the petroleum industry in the Rocky Mountain West.

Born in Denver in 1921, Dietler graduated from Culver Military Academy and the University of Tulsa. Prior to his graduation in 1947, Dietler served with the Army Corps of Engineers in northern Africa, Italy, France and Germany. Dietler and his wife, Martha, were married in 1948.

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Sue Anschutz- Rodgers -- 2006

"A tradition of the Citizen of the West is to give back more than you receive, and Sue Anschutz- Rodgers gives willingly of herself to the end," said Western Stock Show Association chairman of the board Ben Houston.

Anschutz-Rodgers grew up in Kansas, with a ranching background that had been in her family for generations. She spent summers on her family's ranches, where she learned rural American values. Anschutz-Rodgers received her B.S. in education from the University of Kansas, and has three daughters and nine grandchildren.

Her own venture into ranch ownership began when she took ownership of the Crystal River Ranch, a ranch that her father purchased in 1966, in 1987. Today, the ranch is a prominent cattle and hay ranch. Due to her ongoing efforts, it is a successful example of the benefits of careful land and animal management.

She is the first woman to be appointed to the nine-member executive committee of the National Western Stock Show.

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George Marvin Beeman-- 2006

“Marvin Beeman is known worldwide as the consummate horseman's horseman. A native son, his western heritage and values are evident in his forthright attitude, great vision and aggressive approach to new challenges and a leadership role in agriculture animal and horse needs. With his vast knowledge and experience, he has become America's professional voice in the horse and animal agriculture world,” National Western Scholarship Trust Chairman Robert Shideler, D.V.M., said.

Born in Denver, Colo., Beeman is a fourth generation Coloradoan. He received his bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine from Colorado A&M in 1953, and his D.V.M. from Colorado State University in 1957.

He married Eunice Matthews in 1955, and together they have two children and five grandchildren.

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H.A. "Dave" & Jean True Family -- 2004

As independent oil operators, the Trues successfully developed new oil and gas production within the northern Rocky Mountains, while the efforts of major oil companies moved to offshore and overseas drilling.

Philanthropic and civic leaders throughout the state of Wyoming, the Trues also carry out their legacy of hard work and participation in industry and community endeavors.

Hhonored along with Jean are the True children – Tamma True Hatten, H.A. “Hank” True III, Diemer Durland True and David L. True.

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William J. (Bill) Hybl -- 2003

Hybl gained national prominence as President of the United States Olympic Committee on two occasions when he led the U.S. delegation in four Olympic Games-in Albertville, France and Barcelona, Spain in 1992, in Nagano, Japan in 1998 and in Sydney, Australia in 2000.

Hybl's accomplishments have reached beyond service within the state of Colorado to a significant national and international level. As U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney said, "Bill Hybl is a leader and a patriot who has served Colorado and the nation with honor and distinction. He will long be remembered for his hard work, commitment and diplomacy working with the international community as past President of the United States Olympic Committee and as Public Delegate to the United Nations."

Born in Des Moines, Iowa, Hybl moved with his family to Pueblo, Colo. in 1945. He attended Colorado College and received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Colorado in 1967. With the exception of his service abroad as an officer with the United States Army, he has lived in Colorado Springs with his wife, Kathleen.

With Hybl's direction, El Pomar Foundation has become one of the leading philanthropic foundations in the Rocky Mountain West. The Foundation has made more than $280 million in grants since its inception in 1937, supporting non-profit organizations in the arts and humanities, education, health, human services and civic and community initiatives. Under Hybl's leadership, the Foundation received the National Foundation of the Year Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 1998.

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Albert C. Yates -- 2002

Albert C. Yates, the 12th president of Colorado State University, has founded his life and work on those qualities that characterize the spirit of the American West: honesty, integrity, self-reliance, perseverance and commitment to community. These values drive his belief in the land-grant ideal of a "university of the people" -- and have shaped his determination to work on behalf of children, academic excellence and an improved quality of life for Colorado and its citizens.

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Ned and Mary Belle Grant Family -- 2001

The Grant roots go back to Edwin B. Hendrie (1847-1932) who in the 1860's was a young man venturing in the thriving Montana gold fields.

Ned Grant (1908-1968) was born in Denver to Gertrude Hendrie, Edwin's daughter, and William W. Grant. In 1933, Ned's parents bought back the farm once owned by Colorado Governor James B. Grant on West Bowles in Littleton, Colo.

The farm bordered property where Mary Belle McIntyre spent summers riding horses. Their marriage in 1939 formed a bond of two pioneer families, each with deep commitments to a Western lifestyle.

Ned Grant ranched on Colorado's east and west slopes and was active in the National Western Stock Show for 25 years, from the early 40's until his death in 1968. Ned exhibited feeder cattle in the "yards," was a member of the executive committee, second vice president and manager of the Horse Show.

Mary Belle's grandparents, William and Marian Young, traveled across the plains in a covered wagon in 1871, settling on the site that was to be the Antlers Hotel in Colorado Springs. Henry Azile McIntyre, Mary Belle's grandfather, was part of General Palmer's survey party that laid out the route of the railroad between Denver and Colorado Springs. Mary Belle (1915-1999) was born in Denver to Newell Wood McIntyre and Cecil Monarch.

Mary Belle also loved and lived the ranch life, which included managing the Steamboat Ranch following Ned's death. She portrayed the West through various mediums of art and writings.

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Justice Byron White -- 2000

Born in Fort Collins, Colo., and raised in Wellington, CO, Byron White was appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy. He served for 31 years, one of only nine out of 100 Supreme Court Justices to serve that long.

During his tenure, major decisions of the Court were made that profoundly effect current and future generations. Pat Grant, National Western president said, "Byron White pulled himself up by his bootstraps. Growing up in a small town (pop. 350) he went on to achieve national acclamation and has led a life of sound integrity and outstanding fairness. He is a man to match our mountains."

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William "Bill" Farr -- 1999

Bill Farr, a third generation Coloradoan whose family settled in the Greeley area over a century ago, has been recognized as a leader and visionary in the area of water conservation. He is also credited with pioneering the method for successful year around cattle feeding.

John A. Love, former Governor of Colorado, said, "Bill Farr has played a vital part in the history and progress of Colorado. His contributions to the water programs and policies, to banking, to cattle feeding and to general agriculture, have played a great part in the development of the West."

Farr has four sons, two of whom continue to work with him in the farming and ranching business in the Greeley area. In 1970, one hundred years after the founding of Greeley, the W.D. Farr family was honored as the Centennial family of Greeley.

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Daniel L. Ritchie -- 1998
By Joanne Ditmer

Dan Ritchie not only raises cattle at his Grand River Ranch outside Kremmling and avocados at his Rancho Cielo in Santa Barbara, California, he also grows people, institutions, hope and big dreams.

A dedicated cultivator, he nurtures students from kindergarten through graduate school, both at the University of Denver, where he was named 16th chancellor in July 1989, and also through the university's unique partnership with Denver Public Schools. Under his stewardship at DU, new buildings and innovative programs blossomed. Dan has brought financial stability broadened and strengthened academic programs in every department and instituted new ties internationally.

Dan Ritchie represents the true spirit of the West -- he believes everything is possible.

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Brownie and Thurman "Fum" McGraw -- 1997
By Debbie Hansen & Connie Pfeiffenberger

In college, Fum lettered in wrestling, track and football, where he became the first "All American" from then Colorado A&M. He followed football to the pros and played for the Detroit Lions. They won two World Championships while he was co-captain, and he received numerous football honors.

Fum returned to his Alma Mater to coach wrestling and football, but the pros beckoned again and he joined the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Again he returned to CSU to serve in several positions including Director of Athletics. He has been inducted info five different halls of fame, and a new athletic complex was built in his name.

Brownie's personal accomplishments include earning several advanced degrees and affecting thousands of young lives from the front of the classroom and as principal of a Junior and Senior High School in the Poudre School District. When she retired from education, she joined the District Attorneys Special team working with first time youth offenders and their families.

Fum and Brownie find strength in the outdoors, family and friends. They have an educated knowledge of the mountains and a reverence for "western ways", hard work, integrity, generosity and humility.

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Cliff Hansen -- 1996

Cliff's parents were homesteaders and cattle ranchers. And in a family of six children, there was no money to spare. As a child, he stammered so badly his first teacher sent him him with a note labeling him "uneducable". Undaunted, Cliff continued his education, attending the Univeristy of Wyoming, arriving in a well-used model T truck. He not only overcame his speech difficulty, he became a member of the University's debate team.

Cliff Hansen served the State of Wyoming for many years, first as its Governor (1963-1967), and then as Wyoming's US Senator (1967-1978). In addition, Cliff served a President of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association; as a member, chairman and Director on several Wyoming Boards, including the Jackson State Bank, St. John's Hospital, Pacific Power and Light and as Emeritus trustee of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody.

He later went on to do what he loves best -- raising Herefords. Whether it's behind the wheel of his pick-up, in the saddle, or afoot, Cliff continued to live up to his title, "Stock Grower of the Century" which was bestowed upon him by the Wyoming Stock Growers Association.

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Ben R. Houston -- 1995
By Dale F. Runnion

Ben showed his first calf at the National Western Stock Show in 1938. It was a modest beginning for the 9-year-old schoolboy, but it was the start of an American dream to have a cattle ranch, a family to nurture, a good horse to ride and a chance to give something back for the opportunity of fulfilling the dream.

With a family started, the second step of the dream came about with the establishment of Aristocrat Angus in 1965 on a newly purchased ranch on the St. Vrain near Platteville, CO. The operation grew to include a 2500 head feedlot, an embryo transplant center and croplands to support the operation.

When asked how he would like to be remembered, he replied without hesitation, "as a person who has helped improve the genetics of beef cattle and to further the meaningful Houston family traditions."

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Rollin D. Barnard -- 1994
By Bill Hornby

Rollie's business career began during high school clerking for the Morey Mercantile Co. and formally concluded when he retired from the financial industry as president of Western Capital Investment Co, holding company for Bank Western and successor to the Midland Federal and Western Federal Savings and Loan Assns. For these big-player financial corporations, Rollie rode point as President and CEO from 1961 to 1984.

Other affiliations included the Denver Board of Realtors, Denver Jr. Chamber of Commerce, DU School of Business faculty, the greater Denver Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Denver Improvement Assn., CO. Assn. of Commerce and Industry, U.S. League of Savings Institutions, and Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka. He also served as Mayor of Greenwood Village.

Probably the long service of which he is most proud, however, is to the National Western Stock Show Association of which he was 1st Vice President and Director since 1971.

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Dick Cheney -- 1993

Casper, Wyoming has been Dick Cheney's home for most of his life. He began his public service career, as an intern at the Wyoming State legislature in Cheyenne. He spent several years of federal service under Presidents Nixon and Ford. Shortly after Gerald Ford assumed the presidency, Dick Cheney became Assistant to the President and White House Chief of Staff.

After the end of the Ford Administration, he and his family returned to Wyoming where he announced his campaign to run for Wyoming's only seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The people of Wyoming elected him to Congress six times. He rose through the leadership ranks to become the House Republican Whip, the second ranking minority leader in the House. Shortly afterward, he was nominated by President Bush to be Secretary of Defense.

As the nation's 17 secretary of defense, Cheney became known across the country as the cool and commanding man at the Pentagon during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. For his service to the nation during the Gulf War, President George Bush presented him with America's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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William K. Coors -- 1992

Bill Coors said that he accepted the 1992 award not so much for his personal accomplishments, but in recognition of the 119-year history and impact that the Coors family and businesses have had on Colorado and the West. "The Citizen of the West award, to me, recognizes the spirit that began with my grandfather. In reality, it's a commitment to the American Dream."

As chairman and president of Adolph Coors Company, he helped forge his grandfather's dream into one of America's largest 225 companies. In addition, Coors is among the West's philanthropic giants. Since its creation in 1976, as of the award in 1992, the family foundation had donated $52 million to literally thousands of organizations and causes.

In addition, the brewery donates approximately $3 million per year. "You have to be concerned with the community, and that sense of caring must come down from the top. Company leadership must set the example," said Bill.

His most satisfying business achievement came in the creation, marketing and subsequent success story of the aluminum can. Thanks to Coors, aluminum cans have become the industry standard, and recycling is now a way of life for Americans.

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Kenneth W. Monfort -- 1991
By Gene Meakins

'Kenny' Monfort's first association with the National Western occurred a half century ago when the twelve year old 4-H kid from Greeley showed the Grand Champion steer at the 1941 National Western Stock Show.

Ken began to make his mark in the livestock industry in 1959 when he and his father decided that the family should build their own beef packing plant in Greeley. The idea made economic sense. Why ship the cattle to the centers of the population to be processed when you could move the packing plants to the cattle and save enormous shipping costs? Thanks to the vision of industry leaders like Ken Monfort, cattle no longer are shipped to Chicago, Denver and Omaha. Instead, the big plants now are located in places like Grand Island, Nebraska; Dumas, Texas, and Hyrum, Utah.

Ken Monfort also helped pioneer another innovation, the "Breaking down" of beef carcasses into primal cuts that could be shipped to the end user such as the supermarket. No longer was it necessary for the grocer to hire skilled butchers to "breakdown" the carcasses. Grocers no longer had to worry about selling all of the parts, or getting rid of some at a loss. Today, the primal cuts from the same beef may end up in a number of different meat counters across the nation and in foreign countries.

He retired in 1990 after forty years at the helm of the Monfort operation, which grew from a single cattle feedlot north of Greeley into one of the "Big Three" in the red meat industry.

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Alan K. Simpson -- 1990
By Pete Simpson

Growing up in Cody, Wyoming, in Al Simpson's mind, it is western values that have contributed the most enduring qualities to American life.

He began the practice of law with his dad, and he had his first taste of public office as city attorney in Cody. He then went on to serve in the State House of Representatives for 14 years. During that time he rose to the position of majority leader, but declined to run for an 8th term in which he would have been Speaker of the House, in order to file as a candidate for the U.S. Senate. Wyomingites evidently liked the idea and sent him to the Senate with an overwhelming majority. As one of his opponents remarked, "it wasn't an election, it was a coronation."

Whether he was exchanging views in a country schoolhouse with the ranch families of Big Piney, Wyoming, or on national television with Ted Koppel, Al tells it like it is. He managed to stay his own man throughout. He is not one to parade his religious beliefs, but he lives by their precepts. In public life he feels if one is to be worthy of leadership, one has to first be a servant. Translated into Wyoming terms, if one is to understand those he represents, he must truly be among them and one of them. That is what made Al Simpson a fine choice for what he considered to be one of the greatest honors of his life -- being chosen "Citizen of the West".

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Governor John and Ann Love -- 1989
By Jean K. Tool and Joanne Ditmer

In the beginning few people had even heard of this quiet, competent, Illinois-born Colorado Springs lawyer. Fewer thought he could in a single bound leap from obscurity to Chief Executive. Fewer still thought he should even try. But he won most of their minds and hearts with the theme of his inaugural address: "The people have elected all of us to do our best for them. Let's do it!"

It's likely that none of us can name any of the half-hundred pro-Colorado bills that Love and the Legislature passed during his first term. Yet they are bricks in the foundation that has put a strong base under the Colorado we know today. And so it's natural that he would become the first person ever elected to three four-year terms in Colorado (Governor 1963-1973).

When the Love family moved into the Governor's Mansion, Ann initiated regular public tours, a practice continued today. She was a pioneer in historic preservation, one of the first to realize that Colorado was losing irreplaceable fragments of its history. The Molly Brown House was endangered and was saved to become a popular house museum. She also played an active role in the preservation of the historic Paramount Theatre.

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No Dinner Held -- 1988

Charles C. Gates -- 1987
By Jack E. McCanless

Charlie Gates has been challenging himself and calling his own shots from the very moment he was born. He declined to enter this world in the conventional manner, and was born in the back seat of the family car as it raced through Morrison speeding toward a Denver hospital. It was typical of Charlie that he simply decided it was time to get his life started because he had things to do and time was wasting. On that day he showed the world that he would not be waiting around for things to happen -- he would make them happen.

As Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Office of the Gates Corporation, Charlie Gates grew up in and around the business. Charlie's father had always maintained that the company should stick to those programs and products they knew best and in which this proud, private company excelled. All of these centered around rubber products such as fan belts and radiator hose for cars, large drive belts and hose used in manufacturing, agriculture, mining, drilling, etc. But when Charles Gates, Sr, died in late 1961 and the reins passed onto his son, the business climate and conditions in this country had changed. With his keenly introspective and analytical mind, Charlie realized that it was now time to move out into new fields while keeping rubber products as bedrock of the enterprise. He guided the company into ranching, aircraft manufacturing and marketing, battery manufacturing and marketing, and truck liners for cars. A hard worker with an astute business sense, Charlie propelled his corporation into the exclusive ranks of America's top privately owned companies.

As president of the Gates Foundation, he has given millions of dollars for people pleasure programs that include the Platte River Greenway, the Gates Planetarium, the Gates Tennis Center, and Colorado open lands.

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Nicholas Robert Petry -- 1986
By Ira G. Rothgerber, Jr.

In the late 1950s, Nick became president of the construction company which bore his father's name, and he pioneered in what in those days were thought to be high rise buildings in Denver. He built the Petroleum Building at the corner of 16th and Broadway, and that was considered a giant of a building. He built the Brown Palace West, and completely remodeled the old Brown Palace. He built the Capitol Life Center; a complex of buildings on the University of Denver University Hills campus, the Colorado State Bank Building, the Denver National Bank Building and the Colorado National Bank Building.

He ranched both in Wyoming and in Colorado. He raised cattle. He attended Colorado State University to further his knowledge of cattle breeding and nurturing.

He served for years as President of the National Western Stock Show and as Chairman of the Board.

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William H. McNichols, Jr. -- 1985

"Call him Mayor." It isn't his title any more but it's the way he's thought of by thousands of Denverites. Add the ever-present cigar, the trim figure, the dry wit and there he is -- William H. McNichols, Jr. Walk down the street with him and there are varying salutations of "Hello, Mayor...Hello, Your Honor...Mayor, it's good to see you." Almost always, Bill McNichols calls the greeters by name, asks about their family or business and moves along to face a succession of those who simply want to pass along good wishes.

The Sports Arena, subsequently named after Bill McNichols, now is known widely and fondly as "Big Mac" despite an early outpouring of bile from critics. Hizzoner also underplayed the dramatic expansion of Mile High Stadium into a major league facility in which he took a large role.

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Allan and Gerald Phipps -- 1984
By Sam Lusky

Sons of former U.S. Senator Lawrence C. Phipps, the Phipps brothers saved the Denver Broncos, a previously derided professional football team, from being forced to leave Denver.

Allan Phipps helped found the Winter Park Recreational Association in 1950 and remained as chairman for two decades. He was also president of the Denver Museum of natural History from 1970-81, served as president of the Denver Symphony Orchestra and chairman of St. Luke's Hospital.

Gerald Phipps became president of Gerald H. Phipps, Inc., a leading general contractors firm, president of the Associated Building Contractors of Colorado, a director of the United States Equestrian Team and a former director and zone V.P. of the American Horse Shows Association.

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Pete Smythe -- 1983
By Red Fenwick

Pete is as native to the West in his philanthropy and philosophy of life as the Wyoming wind, the Colorado Columbine and the music of the universally western meadowlark.

Showman, musician, composer, radio and TV personality, author, vocalist, band leader, horseman, cowboy-at-heart, dude rancher, entertainer, historian, athlete, dog lover, idol of kids, soft-hearted Irishman, raconteur, all-around good fellow.

His mountain-size personality led him to freelance for top radio productions. He jolted the radio waves with his "The Bottom Ten from the Barbwire Network" album and attacked the monotony of everyday living with his books, Something for the Daily Battle of Life, Big City Dropout, and Sweepin's from Smythe's General Store. Pete once wrote a song that said, "Oh there's nothin' so good for the inside of a man as the outside of a horse." That, folks, is a man who perpetuates and upholds the traditions of the West.

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Aksel Nielsen -- 1982
By Maurice B Mitchell and Jack Muse

Men and women who opened up the great western spaces of the United States were pioneers in the truest sense of the word. They had courage, imagination and great personal strength. In the West, they sought freedom, opportunity and an expansion of the great dream that had made the United States unique. Few men typify that group more thoroughly than Aksel Nielsen, the 1982 Citizen of the West.

Some of us know him as Aks Nielsen the rancher and cattleman, intensely proud of his herds of Herefords and his lovely ranchlands. Others have dealt with him as a far-sighted developer of lands for homes and commercial use. Still others have observed him at work as a university trustee; a federal, regional and local banker; an airline director; a civic leader; a hospital administrator; a government advisor and a confidant of national leaders. Whatever the work, his approach to it has been innovative.

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Ed H. Honnen -- 1981
By Charles Shumate

Builder of massive projects, highways, water works, dams, tunnels, military installations. Defender of his country in two world wars; Businessman of great accomplishments; Breeder of fine horses; Author of considerable merit; Patron and collector of western works of art; A moving force in equine research for the betterment of the horse; and Recipient of the Golden Beaver Award, the construction industry's highest honor.

"I am here to fulfill my destiny. To give of myself and to leave the important part of my accomplishments for those who will follow." Ed Honnen

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Frank H. Ricketson, Jr. -- 1980
By Robert F. Lotito

Many people know Frank Ricketson, jr. as an astute, successful man who ran motion pictures theaters in the Rocky Mountain states and for a while in the entire nation. Rick also produced motion pictures.

Some people know "Rick" as a public servant who has given generously of his time, talents, leadership and resources. He coined the name, "The United Way."

There is another segment of people who know (him) as an advocate of culture. He was chosen to lead the world renowned Central City Festival which brought to that obscure mountain mining town famed personalities and great talents of music, opera, theater, dance and design.

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Willard Simms -- 1979
By "Red" Fenwick

Willard Simms' name is much more than just a household word in the West. You saddle up and ride any range from Calgary, Canada, to Temple, Texas, and all points East and West. Visit any top-notch feedlot. Walk into any cow country barn or cowboy bar. Go any place where quality beef cattle, aristocratic sheep, fat hogs, fine horses or rodeo champions are discussed, and sooner or later you'll hear the name -- Willard Simms.

During his tenure (as General Manager of national Western 8/1/55 to 7/1/78), the Stock Show experienced the greatest growth in its history in all departments -- the livestock show, the horse show, rodeo and the institution's physical plant. The Denver coliseum was built, the Denver Stockyards acquired, the Hall of Education, Beef Palace and Horse Center were added, parking facilities were expanded. Emphasis was laid on education of city dwellers to meet production processes, and ranch kids began to play an increasingly important role in the entire show.

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Robert "Red" Fenwick -- 1978
(excerpts from Bill Myer's article: "Fenwick: Windy, Warm as Wyoming." The Denver Post)

Red has made it plain how he feels about the West. He's poked good-natured fun at its laughable side, heaped praise on its good side and scolded it on its bad side. More important, when its bad side rears up like a Bronco with a rattler in its path, Red shoots the snake with his trusty weapon, a loaded typewriter�as a roving reporter for The Denver Post.

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