Wagner named “Lady of the West” by Montana Pro Rodeo Hall/Wall of Fame

By: 
Marlo Pronovost
Thursday, February 7, 2019
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Jackie Jensen Photograpy
          
            Judy Wagner at the Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame’s banquet last month

Park City’s own Judy Wagner has been named the 2019 Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame’s Lady of the West.

The title is bestowed annually on a Montana woman who demonstrates, preserves and promotes the Western Heritage Lifestyle. The award was presented at the 14th Annual Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame banquet on Jan. 26 in Billings.

Wagner is the vice president of marketing and communications at Montana Silversmiths in Columbus.

“It’s been an honor to work for Montana Silversmiths and within the Stillwater community for almost 20 years,” Wagner told the News this week. “We are family. I am very blessed. I truly believe that in treating others well and with respect is a large part of my success both with business and personally.”

“EACH DAY IS A NEW OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE”

Wagner is proud to be a ranch girl from Avon, where she learned that “the cows don’t know it’s Christmas,” according to two-pages devoted to her in the program from the banquet. Also in that program is a letter from Wagner to her “rodeo family,” that highlights her formative years as well as adult life and how the lessons learned in ranch life have shaped her to become who she is, personally and professionally.

“It is my belief that much of life is breaking trail, each day a new opportunity to make a difference, find your passion and follow your dreams. Not everything works, but if you work hard, you can achieve,” Wagner wrote in the letter.

Wagner also detailed that it was her early days on the ranch that “fueled” her fire for marketing for RanchGrownLogic (Wagner’s marketing company), as well as gave her common sense and taught her hard work and responsibility. Her family also started Gator Ropes in their garage, growing it to become one of the leading ropes in the country, as well as the official rope company of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Associations (PRCA).

Wagner also instituted the Rocky Mountain All-Girl Team Rodeo, with competitions held annually at the Last Chance Stampede in Helena. It was the only All-Girl rodeo of its kind and was pre-rodeo entertainment, with the participants and organizers serving as “producers, stock contractors and participants,” according to Wagner’s letter.

“We used this as a team rodeo concept to help us gain sponsors from the city and county. We held a cowgirl Calcutta, we rodeoed individually as well as with our team for our sponsors. We sewed bright color-coded team vests which included business logos and wore them throughout the performances and fair week to promote our event,” Wagner wrote.

Also on Wagner’s resume is the 1990 Standard of the West Award, as well as being the founder of the Gold Buckle Dreaming Rodeo for youth rodeo and a co-creater of the Round Up Roping Club. In her position at Montana Silversmiths, Wagner instituted the Pursuit of Excellence scholarship, which runs in conjunction with the company’s Everybody Wins trophy scholarship program. To date, the company has given out more than $40,000 in scholarships since 2005.

In 2013, at age 60, Wagner bought her first ever Women’s Professional Rodeo Association card and earned the title of WPRA Team Roping Header Rookie of the Year.

ABOUT THE MONTANA PRO RODEO HALL AND WALL OF FAME

The January banquet event served as a fundraiser for the Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame scholarships, awarded to high school seniors. The organization has been awarding scholarships since 2006.

Special guests this year included eight-time PRCA world bull riding champion Donnie Gay, along with actor Wilford Brimley and country music singer Gary Morris.

The Montana Pro Rodeo Hall and Wall of Fame is dedicated to honoring Montana professional rodeo cowboys and cowgirls “who exemplify our Montana western heritage,” according to the organization’s website.

The group maintains a monument near an entrance to the MetraPark Arena in Billings which includes an 18-foot bronze sculpture of six-time World Champion bronc rider Dan Mortensen, along with brick and granite walls honoring Montana’s professional rodeo champions, legends, queens and personnel.

Every year, the organizations also gives out $39,000 is scholarships. To date, more than a quarter million dollars in scholarships have been awarded, according to the organization.

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