Russell Karney Honored by Cattlemen Association; $14000 Raised at Auction


Russell Karney accepts the cattlemen honor at the March 31 banquet in Lamar.

LAMAR – Russell Karney of La Junta was honored during the annual Bent-Prowers Cattle & Horse Growers Association banquet March 31 in Lamar. Karney, a rancher and retired agri-business owner, was selected as the association’s prestigious Honorary Life Member Award recipient.

Karney was raised on an irrigated farm south of Swink during the Great Depression – times that he described as tough “but we never went hungry; we all worked hard.” It was during these years, he acquired a deep passion for agriculture and its way of life, said Karney’s grandson, Tyler, who made the surprise presentation.

The family farmed up to 160 acres with horses, milked up to 25 cows, plus raised chickens, turkeys and pigs. While growing up in the Fairview area, Karney and his younger brother would drive the milk cows to pasture for the day. “He had his horse trained to take the cows home, while the boys swam in the Otero ditch,” his grandson stated. Karney’s family, through his father’s connections as Winter Livestock yards foreman, had access to purchasing cattle and finding pasture all over southeast Colorado.

Grandson Tyler Karney, First Vice President Reggy Lusk, and incoming Pres. Kevin Hefley offer congratulations to Russell Karney as he is awarded the Bent-Prowers Cattle & Horse Growers Association Honorary Life Member Award.

In 1947, the day after he graduated from La Junta High School, Karney went to work at La Junta Mill. He started out as a bookkeeper there, in addition to ranching. He was in the Army from 1951-1953, serving in the Korean War. Upon returning home, Karney married Mary Lou Autry and he resumed ranching and La Junta Mill. In 1956, he bought his first stock in the company; in 1969, he became assistant manager; and in 1976, he became majority owner.

Karney sold his interest in La Junta Mill to his oldest son and daughter-in-law, Pat & Robin Karney, in 1999. He continues to ranch both for himself and in helping his youngest son and daughter-in-law, Kevin and Verleen. Russell and Mary Lou also have two daughters, Rhonda Johannes and Lisa Lower, 11 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.

Karney’s honor highlighted the evening, which also included a cowboy punch bowl and banquet. Prior to the prime rib buffet, the membership held an auction, with all proceeds going to the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) building fund. The generously donated items included framed original drawings and paintings, custom-made belt buckle set and spurs, a homemade quilt, a patio set, and loads of hay. The auction netted more than $14,000 for the CCA building fund.

Kevin Hefley of Walsh was installed as Bent-Prowers Cattlemen president. Dave Mendenhall of Rocky Ford was recognized as the current CCA president and thanked with a travel defrayment check from the Bent-Prowers Endowment Trust. Mac Entertainment then set the Cow Palace’s dance floor in motion.

Cattlemen look over auction items on March 31 at the Cow Palace Inn. Members from Bent-Prowers Cattle & Horse Growers Association raised more than $14000 to support the Colorado Cattlemen's building fund.


For IMMEDIATE release — Check-off Increase Discussed; Elections Held

LAMAR – After serious but civil discussion, the Bent-Prowers Cattle & Horse Growers Association membership approved a resolution to raise the beef check-off by $1 per head. The resolution, which proposes the extra $1 go to fund state beef education and promotion, was passed at the membership’s annual meeting March 31 at the Cow Palace Inn in Lamar. The proposed check-off increase will now be forwarded to the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) convention on June 11-13 in Loveland.

The membership, representing much of southeast Colorado, also approved a Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) resolution. Discussion noted that mandatory COOL has resulted in a judgment against the United States by the World Court and possible tariffs on beef by Canada and Mexico. The resolution, which asks CCA to support voluntary COOL, also will go to the state level. Prior to the resolutions, the membership viewed a historical check-off presentation, heard from industry leaders and interacted with numerous lawmakers and political candidates addressed the group.

The Bent-Prowers Cattlemen is Colorado’s oldest livestock organization that serves members in Baca, Bent, Crowley, Kiowa, Otero and Prowers counties. Members elected Kevin Hefley of Walsh as president; Reggy Lusk of Springfield as first vice president; Bill Hancock of Rocky Ford as second vice president; and re-elected Susan Russell of Sugar City as secretary/treasurer. Directors elected for the multi-county area are: Nolan Davis, Tim Erickson, Bruce Fickenscher, Amber Freouf, Bill Gray, Hans Hasser, Louis James, Pat Karney, Tyler Karney, Joe Kasza, Leon Leonard, Amanda McEndree, Steve McEndree, Dave Mendenhall, Colby Mick, Leonard Pruett, Pat Ptolemy, Milton Rink and Rick Wollert. Outgoing president Lori Chase, plus recent past presidents Timy Trosper, Ron O’Neal and JoAnn McEndree, round out the board.

Also at the Cow Palace Inn, Southeast Colorado Cattlewomen and Southeastern Colorado Junior Cattlemen members met, plus the youth held their own annual meeting and bowling outing. Bent-Prowers Cattlemen kicked off its 143rd year with a banquet and ball, where Russell Karney was given the Honorary Life Member Award.

Filed Under: AgricultureBusinesscommunityCountyEconomyEmploymentGranadaHistoryHollyLamarWiley


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