Introducing The COWGIRL 30 Under 30 Class Of 2024

December 10, 2023 0 comments Ken Amorosano Categories Uncategorized

Finding talent among the vast arenas we call the Western industry is, quite frankly, an easy task. It’s who we are. Hardworking, dedicated, and ambitious don’t even begin to describe the motivated young women who are ubiquitous in every facet from sport to corporate, entertainment to media, and from agriculture to adventure. This talent is everywhere. The hard part is whittling the list down to just 30 to comprise COWGIRL‘s newest class of 30 Under 30 recipients.

This overwhelming task is worth it, however, because these annual classes make up the leaders who rise to the top for their dedication to lead the way by opening doors, and sharing enthusiasm and encouragement in everything they do, amongst many other admirable traits.

Now celebrating our fifth anniversary of seeking out and promoting this esteemed group of powerful young women, COWGIRL is extremely proud to introduce the COWGIRL 30 Under 30 Class of 2024.

In celebration, this class will gather in Fort Worth the weekend of March 8, 2024, to be honored at the Wrangler COWGIRL 30 Under 30 Empowered Gala at Tannahill’s in the historic Stockyards. Among invited guests will be alumna from previous 30 Under 30 classes, as well as family, friends, and industry leaders who support the annual program.

Congratulations, Class of 2024! It is an honor to introduce you to many of your peers and those in the industry who will look to you as leaders in this wonderful community we all know and love.

Alexa Wilcox

Head Women’s Rodeo Coach, New Mexico Jr. College | Lovington, New Mexico

Alexa Major Wilcox grew up on a cattle ranch in southeastern Colorado and was actively involved in 4H and FFA throughout her childhood. She found a passion for horses and rodeo early on and continued to pursue that passion, rodeoing in high school and in college at both Texas Tech University and Oklahoma State University. While finishing her master’s at Oklahoma State, Alexa also coached the rodeo team. She has a passion for leadership and following her master’s graduation, spent five years serving with the non-profit Field of Hope in Uganda to empower others through agricultural education and extension. She is proud to now serve as the Women’s Rodeo Coach at New Mexico Junior College while still breakaway roping at amateur and professional rodeos and American Quarter Horse (AQHA) shows. Alexa married CD Wilcox in 2018 and enjoys working and training horses alongside him. In 2021, Alexa submitted a rule change to the AQHA to add the Open Breakaway class to the show docket. After over a year of campaigning and collaborating with other breakaway ropers, AQHA approved the class. Alexa was honored to be the inaugural Champion of the Open Stakes class at the 2022 AQHA World Show.

Andrea Thorp

Marketing Director, Hippie Cowgirl Couture | Bridgeport, Texas

My name is Andrea Thorp. I am a Western marketing and media professional hailing originally from the great state of Iowa. My pursuit of a career in the Western industry started at age 18, expanding from rodeo media into a passion for celebrating Western culture through fashion. Setting out to share my devotion to Western artistry and style, I created “The Rodeo Mrs”, a Western fashion blog. This served as a catalyst into Western editorial, forging relationships with household names in the Western apparel and jewelry industries as Fashion Editor for Cowboys & Indians Magazine. During my time at Cowboys & Indians Magazine, I fostered friendships with Native American silversmiths, deepening my passion for sharing their ancient art on an expansive scale. This passion for Native-made turquoise jewelry led me into my current role as Marketing Director for Hippie Cowgirl Couture, a leading Native American jewelry retailer where I work to expand the reach of Native-made jewelry. Interwoven with my role as Fashion Editor for COWGIRL Magazine, I aim to amplify Native American-made artistry to new heights.

Ashley Starrett

Owner, Equine Dentist, Denim Dentistry | Amarillo, Texas

My name is Ashley Starrett, I’m a Doer, a Dentist, and a purveyor of all things Denim. Hence the name of my equine dental business, ‘Denim Dentistry.’ I’m a real-life tooth fairy, but for horses! I’m from the small rural community of Unionville, Missouri, where everyone knows everyone, there are more cows than people, and one blinking stop light reminds you of a slower pace. It’s rural as rural can be. From a young age I was surrounded by community and service-led individuals. These people taught me to serve in 4-H, FFA, churches, civic clubs and become an agricultural entrepreneur. They each helped instill a doer mentality into my life. They taught me to act locally and think globally. With this mindset I graduated college with not one, but two bachelors. I also have a master’s of Science in Agriculture degree and currently am pursuing a Ph.D. at Texas Tech School of VeterinaryMedicine in Amarillo, Texas. I am a three-time published equine researcher and author to the children’s book, “A Tale of the HorseTooth Fairy.”

Bret Leigh Nance

Agricultural Law Attorney/Assistant Attorney General, South Dakota Office of the Attorney General | Pierre, South Dakota

I grew up on my family’s cattle ranch in the Texas Hill Country as well as spending summers and winters on my family’s cattle ranch in South Dakota. I worked alongside many great ranchers before me who developed my passion for ranching and the western way of life. However, I also saw the injustices faced by the agricultural industry. I realized I had the ability to be a liaison between the agricultural and legal worlds. This inspired me to obtain my degree in agricultural communications from Texas Tec University where I was also part of the track and field team. From there I went on to attend Texas A&M School of Law where I studied agricultural law. While in law school I worked as a ranch hand for a bred heifer and cow calf operation in Graford, Tx. I was also the secretary of the Agricultural Law Society as well as a member of multiple legal clinics. I graduated law school in May and have since started a career at the South Dakota Attorney General’s Office. Outside of my legal work I help ranch on my family’s ranch as well as friend’s ranches and enjoy running barrels.

Callie Masar

Sales and Rentals Manager, Colorado State Fair and Rodeo | Florence, Colorado

My name is Callie Masar. Currently, I am a part of the Programming and Partnership team at the Colorado State Fair and Rodeo. I work with private renters and organizations throughout the year to coordinate and schedule horse shows and rodeos Our hope is to grow the Western sports presence in the community and provide an exceptional equestrian venue. During the 2023 fair, I worked with the rodeo committee to coordinate and produce 4 sold-out PRCA performances, Ranch Rodeo and Celebración delos Charros. In years to come, my goal is to aid in the growth and improvement of our rodeo program, as well as work with our partners to maintain the relationships that support my home state’s fair. I handle the sponsorship and rodeo personnel agreements. I found a passion for growing and promoting the Western Industry by competing in youth horse shows and rodeos, and I have fostered this throughout my career. While working with Cinch Jeans and Shirts, I handled sponsorships that benefitted organizations and individuals across the Western industry. I provided monetary, in-kind assets and support to benefit rodeo athletes and organizations across the country at all levels of competition. As an employee for the Professional Bull Riders, LLC, I promoted the Western lifestyle by hosting behind-the-scenes experiences for ticket holders and sponsors. My goal in planning the events was to excite and educate attendees about the Western industry and were always well received.

Caroline Lukens

Rodeo Operations Coordinator, National Western Stock Show | Kiowa, Colorado

Caroline Lukens is the Rodeo Operations Coordinator at the National Western Stock Show. Since joining the team in 2021, she has been responsible for the planning and production of over 35 rodeo performances each year including the National Western Stock Show, Rodeo All-Star, and various private rodeos hosted at the National Western Complex. She began her time as an intern and continued to advance her way into her now full-time role. In 2019 she graduated from the University of Wyoming, earning a Bachelor of Science in Marketing. During her time at the University of Wyoming she competed on the rodeo team in goat tying and breakaway roping. Earlier in life she competed at junior and high school rodeos in goat tying, breakaway roping, and team roping. As a young lady growing up in the suburbs, it was no easy feat to enter the fast paced, competitive rodeo industry. From initially entering junior rodeos to currently producing professional rodeos, she has let no obstacle get in her way. She aims to empower other women to “do it scared,” because there is no perfect time to peruse your dreams and if your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.

Catherine Dowling

Senior Technical Services Veterinarian, Zoetis | Montague, California

Dr. Catherine Dowling is the veterinarian serving the northwest United States for the Zoetis Beef Technical Services team. Catherine recognized her passion for advocating for animal health early in life raising market 4-H animals, showing horses, and learning the ropes of ranching from dear family friends in northeastern Colorado. A drive to specialize in livestock medicine led here to seek mentorship from the most progressive, experienced beef veterinarians across the country (and therefore forego summer “breaks!”) before graduating from The Ohio State University as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Catherine serves as an informational liaison between cattle producers, practicing veterinarians, and industry stakeholders and offers sales support to her regional colleagues. Education is a keystone of her career, from keeping veterinarians current on new innovations to training ranch and feedlot crews how to maximize cattle health initiatives throughout the production chain. Balancing industry traditions and modernizations, she is steadfast in her determination to lead cattle operations towards improved health, production, and longevity. This now includes the ranch her husband, Everett, manages. Being a working cowboy’s wife provides a humbling opportunity to practice what she preaches riding alongside Everett caring for the land and livestock while honoring the Western lifestyle.

Courtney Greener

Marketing Manager, Double D Ranch | Yoakum, Texas

Courtney Greener is the Marketing Manager of Double D Ranch in Yoakum, Texas. Courtney is a lifelong agricultural enthusiast and western industries advocate. Growing up raising market animals and competing in FFA Leadership Development Events Courtney’s passion for advocacy and sharing her lifestyle with others commenced. While pursuing her education at Sam Houston State University Courtney obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Communications and her Master of Science degree in Agricultural Sciences with an emphasis in business and marketing. Throughout her time at Sam Houston Courtney was involved in the Agricultural Engineering Sciences and Technology ambassador program that allowed her to travel across the state to inform students about opportunities within the agricultural and western industries. Upon graduation Courtney pursued her love of marketing and advocacy and has worked for some of America’s leading brands including Circle Y Saddles, Inc. and now Double D Ranch.

Courtny Conkle

General Manager, Wyoming State Fair & Rodeo | Douglas, Wyoming

Courtny Conkle is the General Manager of the Wyoming State Fair and Rodeo. Courtny is a steadfast advocate of Western heritage preservation, fairs, agriculture, and rodeo. With a deep-rooted passion for celebrating the rich cultural tapestry of the American West, Courtny has dedicated her career to fostering connections between generations through time-honored traditions. Drawing from her profound appreciation for Western heritage, Courtny leads the charge in curating experiences that seamlessly blend past and present at the Wyoming State Fair. Her visionary approach ensures that each fair and rodeo event reflects the resilience, spirit, and camaraderie of the West’s history, while also embracing modern innovation and remaining relevant. Beyond her role, Courtny Conkle is a living testament to the enduring legacy of the West. Her tireless dedication to maintaining the traditions of yesteryears within the context of a dynamic contemporary world is a beacon of inspiration to all who cherish Western heritage, fairs, agriculture, and rodeo. With Courtny at the helm, the Wyoming State Fair and Rodeo thrives as a cherished institution that bridges the gap between generations and ensures the Western spirit remains vibrant for years to come!

Diane Hayes

Operations & Research Analyst, Cobalt Cattle Company | Orchard, Colorado

I grew up in southeastern Colorado and have been involved in the Western industry for as long as I can remember. My dad raised Corriente cattle and made a living providing roping stock and putting on team ropings. In addition to rodeoing as a kid, I quickly learned how to run the office at team ropings and often found myself announcing or taking entries instead of backing into the box. I received my Bachelor of Science in Animal Science and Agricultural Literacy from Colorado State University and am currently finishing my master’s degree in Beef Cattle Production from University of Nebraska – Lincoln. My husband and I live on our family ranch in Orchard, CO, where I help manage the family’s ranch and cutting horse operation. In addition to the family ranching business, I am also extremely passionate about the beef industry. I recently started with Cobalt Cattle Company as their Operations and Research Analyst and work in a variety of facets, focusing mainly on driving compliance and consistency at our feedyards, providing training for our Spanish speaking employees, and analyzing cattle performance data. Whether at home or work, I feel lucky to be a part of such an amazing industry.

Elyssa Leininger

Western and Wildlife Artist | Billings, Montana

Elyssa Leininger is a professional Western and wildlife artist who creates vivid and dramatic paintings inspired by the AmericanWest and her Western lifestyle. She grew up involved in the horse and livestock industries, competing in rodeo, hunting, fishing, and enjoying Montana’s vast landscapes. At 17 years old, Elyssa underwent a heart operation that resulted in complications. Upon recovery, she viewed the world as more vibrant and sacred, inspiring the artistic visions she now creates. She graduated from Rocky Mountain College in 2017 with bachelor’s degrees in art and biology, a minor in psychology, and the Rocky Mountain College Art Award. She has since received countless accolades for her art, as well as for her work in the community. She has painted more than 12,000 square feet of neglected public spaces in her hometown of Billings, Montana, making her one of the largest creators of public art in the region. Elyssa is a member of the Western Heritage Artists Association, she serves on the Board of Directors for the Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame, and she is passionate about sharing her love for art and the American West so everyone may experience her passion.

Hannah Crandall

Marketing & Media Manager, North Texas Fair & Rodeo | Pilot Point, Texas

Growing up around agriculture and rodeo in a small Texas town, Hannah Crandall’s biggest regret was not competing herself or being involved in a more ‘hands-on’ capacity. However, with a passion for sharing the unique stories of the people and animals that make these industries so special, she found her identity as a cowgirl. With an agricultural communication and journalism degree from Texas A&M University, she now has a career marketing the North Texas Fair & Rodeo and writing/creating content for multiple well-known and trusted Western lifestyle publications/brands. These include Cowboy Lifestyle Network, The Arena Press(as well as the ‘Where Rodeo Meets the Road’ podcast), Western Horseman, Quarter Horse News, Cutting Horse Chatter, and Twisted X. She is passionate about connecting with cowgirls (whatever their role may be), is a member of groups like Ag Women Connect, Cowgirls & Cocktails, Cowgirls Over Coffee, and the National Cowgirl Museum & Hall of Fame to name a few and enjoys volunteering whenever she can with events like the Legacy of the West gala. Hannah’s biggest goal as a young woman in the ag and western space is to contribute to ensuring this way of life lives on for generations to come.

Kaitlyn Weldon

Social Media Manager, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum | Jones, Oklahoma

Growing up in Oklahoma, Kaitlyn Weldon has been surrounded by cowboy culture her entire life and was raised to live the tenants of the “Cowboy Code.” From feeding cows when she was little to telling the stories of American West today, Weldon has a passion for the Western way of life. She currently works as the social media manager for the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Weldon believes in the magic of the West and considers it her greatest privilege to inspire the next generation of cowgirls and cowboys. Some of her favorite moments at the NCWHM have been when kids run up to her in the galleries and ask, “Are you a real cowgirl?” with awe on their faces. She always assures them they can be a cowgirl or cowboy too–regardless of owning a cowboy hat. When not working at the NCWHM, Weldon travels and writes for her blog, “The Active Historian.” She initially founded this platform to share her master’s thesis research about women in the West, but it quickly grew to be so much more. She has been able to share her passion for Western history with people from around the world.

Katie Clinebell

Director of Client Services and Operations, Equine Network, LLC | Loveland, Colorado

As the daughter of a farmer, Katie was exposed to all kinds of critters, but when her parents bought her first horse, she was hooked forever. Since that fateful day, she has crafted her life around horses. Through college, Katie taught riding lessons and started colts, and she graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Agricultural and Resource Economics. Post-graduation she worked for the Greeley Stampede, Colorado’s largest summer celebration and rodeo. When the opportunity to join the Equine Network came about, she jumped headfirst into a career including client relations, media strategy, and performance analysis. Katie quickly grew within the company and is now the Director of Client Services and Operations for the Equine Network, which is home to Horse Rider, EQUUS, Practical Horseman, Team Roping Journal, and more. In this role, she works with clients like W.F. Young (Absorbine®), Nutramax Labs (Cosequin®), Zoetis®, SmartPak®, and more! In addition to her client work and team leadership, Katie is also the host and producer of a podcast called Beyond the Saddle where she interviews professionals from across the equine industry about their careers. When she’s not presenting or podcasting, she’s out riding her two home-raised horses, Cosmo, and Mimosa.

Kelley Ranly

Extension Program Specialist (Leadership Coordinator), Texas 4-H Youth Livestock and Agriculture | Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service | Bryan, Texas

Kelley Ranly serves as an Extension Program Specialist, Leadership Coordinator for Texas 4-H and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension where she is responsible for coordinating and organizing statewide agricultural leadership programs for high-school-aged youth across Texas. In this role, she also oversees Texas 4-H Horse Validation and is on the leadership team for the Texas State 4-HHorse Show. Kelley began working for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and Texas 4-H while she was a student at Texas A&M. She worked in Texas Steer and Heifer Validation for two years before moving into the role of assisting with youth leadership programs. She continued to work in this capacity for about three years before moving into her current position. Kelley recognized her love for agriculture and the western way of life at a very young age. She grew up showing livestock and rodeoing, but really found her niche in the horse world while attending college at Texas A&M University. Kelley obtained a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science with a minor in Business Administration at Texas A&M University before going on to complete her Master of Agribusiness, also at Texas A&M. While completing her degrees, Kelley was a member of the Texas A&M Ranch Horse Team for four years, which uncovered her deep love for reined cow horses. In her spare time, Kelley also enjoys working with livestock and hay producers to maximize profitability on their pastures, serving at her church, and watching Aggie sports.

Kendall Whatley

Regional Sales Manager, Vytelle; Owner, Bar K Cattle Services | Stephenville, Texas

Being raised in the livestock industry, Kendall experienced first-hand the impact of agriculture industry and the western lifestyle. She grew up on a ranch in central Georgia, where ranching was not a way of life for most people. Even knowing how differently she was raised compared to her peers, she always had a sense of pride being in the minority that inhabit the western lifestyle. Kendall graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Livestock Production in 2016, working in several sectors of the cattle industry for approximately five years, including beef cattle genomics, animal and herd health, livestock handling equipment, artificial insemination, semen sales, sale cattle and western lifestyle photography, and ad design. With a plan to supplement her largely reproduction-and-genetics-influenced experience, she then returned to academia to earn a Master of Science in Animal Science, specifically researching beef cattle nutrition and forages. A more than 10-year involvement in organizations like the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has been pivotal to her successes thus far. Understanding the “why” behind breeding and feeding decisions, and using that knowledge to better the cattle industry, is at the forefront of her endeavors.

Lexi Hoagland

National Sales and Marketing Specialist, Lane Boots | Fort Worth, Texas

Dolly once said, “Don’t be a lady, be a legend” and I want to be a legend. My name is Lexi Hoagland, I am 27 years old from Denver, Colorado and I live in Fort Worth working for Lane Boots over Creator Relations and National Accounts. I didn’t grow up in the industry, but my parents raised my triplet brothers and I with western cultures and values. Moving to Texas and becoming immersed in the industry reminded me of home and I knew I had to be a part of it. I started freelancing for the CMAs in Nashville four years ago and worked for NRS for two years as Director of Sponsorships. I have seen a need for women to feel engaged, heard and involved. I started a women’s business development group/ social club in DFW called Cowgirls & Cocktails that aims to create a longer table instead of a taller fence. Within a year we have grown to 600 members, opened two other branches, and hosted monthly events for women to network, learn and engage with one another. I am driven by my faith, rooted within family, my friends inspire me, and this industry has given me a home.

Madison Brooks

Business and Corporate Development Manager, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo | Katy, Texas

Madison Brooks is the Manager of Business and Corporate Partnerships for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Originally from College Station, Texas, Madison attended Texas A&M University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Communications and Journalism in 2019. During college, Madison formed great relationships with those in the Western industry as she interned with the Texas Beef Council, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Brazos Valley Fair & Rodeo, and her future employer, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Through her experience, she has always worked to uphold the passion, hard work, and integrity of the Western Industry. Madison is known for her gregarious personality and kind spirit, which led her to pursue a career in the Rodeo’s Revenue Department, to help support the education of Texas youth. She’s a keen communicator and problem solver, always finding creative ways to go above and beyond for the Rodeo’s partners.

Mallory Bush

Global Product Manager–Western Footwear & Business Development, Ariat International, Inc. | Hollister, California

Mallory Bush is a Global Product Manager on the Western Footwear Merchandising team at Ariat International, Inc. She grew up in a small town in Southern California and rodeoed from childhood through her college years as she attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. After three years she received her degree in Business, but struggled to find how she could build a career that involved her love for the Western industry. She found that perfect balance at Ariat on the Western footwear product team. At Ariat, she brings trends, technologies, and product strategy to life for top athletes to fashionistas and everyone in between. She strives to bring an authentic perspective to the business, serve up best-in-class product for consumers, and honor the Western way of life.

Marissa Fisher

Beef Operations Manager, University of California, Davis | Walnut Grove, California

My name is Marissa Fisher, and I am a 3rd generation rancher from California. I grew up in a ranching family and I consider that to be one of my greatest blessings as this is where my life’s passion began. I am a graduate of Texas Tech University, lover of Jesus, cattle, horses, sunrises, sunsets, and countless other small, nameless parts of life. Cattle have always been a passion of mine and after a lot of hard work and sacrifice, I have turned that passion into a career and way of life. Now as Beef Operations Manager at UC Davis I have the opportunity to manage a feedlot that replicates the commercial industry with the added components of teaching and research. My days are full of feeding cattle, crunching numbers, procuring, and marketing cattle and commodities, facilitating innovative research projects, and mentoring college students, often from varied backgrounds in both the cattle industry and life. I am so lucky to have always called the western industry my home, and as passionate as I am about the cattle, I am equally so about welcoming others into this community, and I am so blessed to have found a way to spend my life dedicated to both.

Megan Ray

Social Media Coordinator, Professional Bull Riders | Ellensburg, Washington

As a young girl, Megan Ray was enamored with watching bulls at Ellensburg Rodeo’s Xtreme Bulls performance, so it’s only fate that she finds herself working for the top bull riding organization in the world. Megan is the Social Media Coordinator for the Professional Bull Riders. She is accountable for strategically planning, creating, and executing social media content across a multitude of platforms and has achieved significant follower growth to expand the reach of the PBR. Megan is passionate about creating captivating and engaging content that shares the stories of the Western industry with potential fans. Megan developed her niche in social media by building the Ellensburg Rodeo social media channels from the ground up back in 2019. Four years later, as the Digital Content Manager, she strategically planned and executed a dynamic campaign in celebration of the Rodeo’s centennial anniversary. In her free time, you can find Megan on the back of a horse and actively volunteering with the local 4Hhorse program.

Megan Silveira

Associate Editor, Angus Journal | St. Joseph, Missouri

Christ, cattle, cameras, and coffee have been the “four C’s” guiding Megan Silveira’s life since she left Denair, California, to attend Oklahoma State University. Growing up showing western pleasure Quarter Horses and raising black Angus cattle she exhibited across the west coast; Megan knew from a young age the agriculture industry was home. While sporting America’s brightest orange in Stillwater, she found a passion for the world of agricultural communications. Photography and journalism became an outlet for Megan’s creative spirt and allowed her to share the stories of those who loved ag as much as she did. A past Angus Journal internship led to a part time position as assistant editor while Megan completed her master’s program. Following graduation, she joined Team Angus full time. She is proud to be a part a publication that’s shared Angus member’s stories for more than a century. Megan proudly labels herself a fan of the beef industry, consistently looking for ways to advocate for farmers and ranchers in her everyday life. Evenings and weekends are dedicated to her freelance business, Silver Lining Media. While it largely focuses on lifestyle photography, Megan also writes for several agricultural publications and designs ads for livestock operations.

Michaela Brazil-Gillies

Director of Operations/Owner, Go West Enterprises | Fountain Valley, California

I was raised by ranch veterinarians in the remote mountains of Northern California. From the earliest age, I could be found in the backseat of the vet truck or riding and training horses. This upbring taught me a deep love the Western way of life. After graduating with a double major in finance and accounting, I joined Deloitte Tax San Francisco where I earned my CPA; specializing in negotiating credits and incentives for corporations such as eBay, PayPal, and Southwest Airlines. In 2017, I returned to my roots, starting Go West Enterprises with a purpose: serving and communicating the value and beauty of this way of life. Putting my skills to work for the Western industry has taken me many places, including currently heading up the Ranch Vision Technologies’ ranch management software development. In 2023, I wrapped directing and producing my first feature-length film You Just Can’t See Them From The Road, a documentary portrait of modern West Coast ranchers. The film has been accepted into multiple festivals across the country, including the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival and Nature Without Borders. The film has been nominated for five awards, and selected as Best Documentary at the Wild West Film Festival.

Rizpah Bellard

Entrepreneur and Cattle Rancher, Nova Farming | Fresno, California

Rizpah Bellard is a graduate of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (BS ’15). Raised on a Black Angus cattle ranch, Cornell was the perfect fi t. Through both lived and academic experiences, Rizpah has combined natural sciences with social sciences. In her professional experience, Rizpah has tackled many social-biological issues such as human trafficking, mental health, homelessness, global health, and education. After many years working with socially disadvantaged populations, Rizpah has pinpointed a major source of imbalance between the social and biological worlds – a widening gap between humans and their food. As an entrepreneur, Rizpah founded Nova Farming to educate and expose society to the American and global agriculture sectors and build a bridge to agriculture as an occupation, to eventually even out the imbalance between society and nature. Rizpah has experiences in global agriculture in Changchun, China , Cali, Colombia and is currently consulting farmers and ranchers in Akure, Nigeria (Ondo State). Rizpah holds a Master of Arts from The University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies in International Studies with a Concentration in Human Trafficking and Forced Labor and a Certificate of Global Health (‘20). Rizpah was awarded a Fulbright Scholar Award in 2020.

Sarah Falen

Agriculture Advocate, Wild West Advocacy | Cheyenne, Wyoming

As a sixth-generation rancher, I have been working in the western industry my entire life. I attended the University of Wyoming for undergraduate school where I achieved bachelor’s degrees in agriculture communication and environment and natural resources. I was the first person at the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture to graduate with two degrees in a total of three years. Continuing to law school, also at the University of Wyoming, I focused on agriculture and natural resources law. Upon graduation, I started working at Budd-Falen Law Offices, focusing on agriculture and natural resources law, primarily representing farmers and ranchers in the west. In February of 2022, I posted a viral TikTok explaining a case I had been working on. This led tome starting my own business, Wild West Advocacy, where I use social media to educate the public about western issues, lobbying to educate Congress about western issues and attempt to change laws that negatively impact western industries. I travel across the country speaking on western and agriculture issues. I also travel to teach women’s self-defense classes. This summer, I was asked to take a position at the University of Wyoming teaching agriculture law.

Sarah Schobert

Equine Lecturer and Horse Judging Coach, Texas A&M University | Navasota, Texas

Sarah Schobert attended both Black Hawk College (BHC) and Oklahoma State University (OSU) while pursuing her degree in Animal Science. During her graduate study at OSU, she coached the horse judging team, aided in the OSU Equine Breeding Program, launched the OSU Horse Judging Team Endowed Fund, and travelled to Europe to teach International Horsemanship camps in representation of the American Quarter Horse Association and OSU. In the spring of 2017, she went back to BHC and took on the role as the Horse Science Instructor. In the fall of 2018, she founded the Hunt Seat Division of the Equestrian Team at BHC. In 2020, Schobert transitioned to start as the Horse Judging Team Coach and an Equine Lecturer within the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University. At Texas A&M, Schobert’s roles include coaching the Horse Judging Team and teaching equine classes, such as Introductory Equine Care and Use, Equine Handling and Safety, and Equine Evaluation and Selection. She has coached 18 champion or reserve champion teams at a national level. She holds professional judge’s cards for the American Paint Horse Association, National Snaffle Bit Association, the Pinto Horse Association of America, and the Pony of the Americas Club.

Shelby Rasmussen

Coordinator-Operations, Sponsorships & Events, LEARFIELD College Rodeo | Cave Creek, Arizona

Shelby has been immersed in the rodeo lifestyle from the time she was born, growing up traveling to the biggest rodeos in the country with her father, Flint, 8-time PRCA Clown of the Year and her mother, Katie, horse trainer and barrel racer. She started riding horses before she could walk, and it was obvious her heart would always be in the Western industry. She was a high school rodeo state champion and the National High School Rodeo Association President. Shelby attended Montana State University, earning a degree in marketing, qualifying for the College National Finals Rodeo, and winning a National Champion Women’s Team Title, while interning for Equibrand, the National High School Rodeo Association, Ride Pass, and the Cowboy Channel. Rasmussen then attended a year of graduate school as the women’s rodeo team captain while working full-time for Pendleton Whisky as the event sponsorship coordinator. She then went on to coach at Montana State, where she coached the Regional Champion and National Reserve Champion Women’s Rodeo Team. Now, Shelby is the Operations Coordinator for LEARFIELD College Rodeo, anew business line created to elevate college rodeo and the Western way of life. Through this, she is working to oversee local sponsorship sales efforts and rodeo production to grow individual rodeo programs, and national sales efforts and event production to elevate college rodeo and the Western industry. She also continues to train horses, give lessons, and compete.

Sidney Abbott

Head of Research and Cattle Management, OT Feedyard and Research Center | Wildorado, Texas

My name is Sidney Abbott and currently I serve as Head of Research and Cattle Management at OT Feed yard & Research Center. I am responsible for executing protocol, maintaining animal welfare, data collection, and corresponding with scientists and product developers around for some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies for the 1,600 head of cattle enrolled in the program. Additionally, I am responsible for managing risk for Spur K Cattle Company. I hedge forward-contract and price cattle to the nation’s largest meat suppliers nearly 12,000 head annually. I am proud to say I am 51% percent owner of Abbott Hay Co. Making it a majority minority owned agriculture company. Together with my husband our company produces 22,000 tons of roughage market to dairies and feed yards across the Texas Panhandle. Last fall I gave birth to my daughter and she alongside of me checking pens, collecting data on, and covering hundreds of acres in the field. I am also a proud active member of the panhandle chapter Texas Agri women. I am grateful for the opportunity to advance animal welfare and participate in the supply chain that feeds America.

Sierra Jepsen

Owner, Meat Scientist, and Lead Butcher, Butcher Solutions, LLC | Livingston, Montana

Sierra Jepsen is the owner, lead butcher, and meat scientist of Butcher Solutions, LLC – a traveling butcher school. Sierra delivers hands-on training for meat processors to help build and retain a skilled workforce to serve livestock producers and communities. Sierra grew up on a grain and cow-calf operation in Amanda, OH, where she attended The Ohio State University and was introduced to meat science. She has been directly involved in the meat industry for 9 years, first competing on the 2016 Ohio State meat judging team, followed by four years of coaching collegiate meat judging teams at the University of Wyoming and leading the Cowboy Branded Meats program. In 2022, Sierra received her master’s degree in meat science from the University of Idaho and now resides in Livingston, MT. Recently, Sierra competed in tryouts for Butchers of America and was selected as one of three ‘Young Butcher’ finalist to compete at the 2025 World Butcher Challenge. In addition to business and butchery, Sierra is a competitive OCR athlete and a member of Team Beef Montana. She greatly enjoys conversations about beef as part of a healthy diet and celebrates all competitors that fuel their athletic endeavors with red meat protein.

Tyler Schuster

Manager, Leadership Development, Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association | Fort Worth, Texas

Tyler Schuster is a fifth-generation rancher from Brackettville, Texas. A graduate of Tarleton State University and Texas A&M University, Schuster currently serves as the Manager, Leadership Development for Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) based in Fort Worth, Texas. In this role, Schuster leads all organizational efforts to prepare and educate the next generation of cattle raisers. In 2022, Schuster’s signature TSCRA project launched: a youth program that allows the next generation of ag producers the opportunity to develop a stronger understanding of the cattle industry and its processes “from pasture to plate”. Since moving to Fort Worth, Schuster has become an active volunteer at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. When not traveling the Lone Star State promoting the beef industry, Schuster can be found working alongside her mom on her family’s ranch or recording new episodes of her podcast, Basically Famous. Basically, Famous arose out of Schuster’s desire to showcase stories of people, women in particular, in the western and agriculture industries.

COWGIRL 30 Under 30, presented by Wrangler, is sponsored by Cavender’s the Official Retailer, Charlie 1 Horse Hats the Official Hat, and Durango Boots the Official Boot, for COWGIRL 30 Under 30, with Montana Silversmiths, Corral Boots, and Old Gringo Boots.

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