I’ve told quite a few stories about my travels giving Extension programs…after all, I am the Asphalt Cowgirl, right? Not only do I get to travel to exotic locations all over the state and region, I’ve also given presentations in some pretty interesting venues.
There was the time I spoke in Fishtail at the community hall on a 25-degrees-below-zero day when the furnace blew the breaker. It was the first and only time (so far) I’ve given an indoor talk with my coat and neck scarf on! Another of my favorites is the bomb shelter bunker built into the side of the hill in Fort Benton. You don’t have to worry about too much light coming through the windows and washing out your slides, that’s for sure. And you get great cell phone reception and wireless internet, too, which remains a mystery to me!
Just a few weeks ago, I spoke in Sunburst at the Methodist Church. Having a church as a venue for Extension programs isn’t all that unusual, after all, churches are often an important gathering spot in our rural communities. Usually though, I’m in a church hall or a church basement. In this case, I was in the back of the church behind the pews – definitely the most spiritual talk I’ve ever given! And there wasn’t a screen, so we projected my slides on the wall in between two lovely stained-glass windows. That’s not the first time we’ve made do with a wall or something else…we forgot a screen once in Lodge Grass, so we tacked a tablecloth up on the wall and made do!
One of my other favorite stories comes from my hometown Ag Day for local 2nd and 3rdgraders that’s held every other year. Last time, it was held at an indoor arena and we brought one of our horned Hereford herd bulls as part of the beef cattle station that I was in charge of. Dozer is a good sport, and he lives up to his name as he is very mild-mannered. But he almost gave me a heart attack – and lived up the “bulldozer” side of his name – when he started rubbing on the panels and used his horn to lift the corner of his pen up about two feet. I envisioned the scattering of many small children as Dozer ambled out of his pen to check out the other stations. I stood on the panels for the rest of the day…not that it would have stopped him!
Today, I gave a presentation at the Pine Hills Youth Correctional Facility here in Miles City, which was quite an experience. Pine Hills is a 120-bed facility for juvenile males from age 10-17. The class I spoke to is going to have a Lincoln-Douglas style debate about genetically-modified food, and I was asked to talk about genetically-engineered animals. I was very impressed with the preparation the boys had done and the discussion they generated during the hour-long class. It was a little disconcerting going through the maze of deadlocked doors from the main building to the school and finding my way back by myself, but it was a rewarding experience nonetheless.
Last week, I traveled with a group of county agents to the Range Beef Cow Symposium. Stay tuned for a blog post about our trip! I’m looking forward to the Montana Stockgrowers Association annual convention next week in Billings – hope to see some of you there!
The Asphalt Cowgirl
“Now our windshield’s a painting that hangs in our room, It changes each mile like the radio tune” —Rodeo Moon, Chris Ledoux