Leona Parker, the Lassen County CattleWomen’s Cowbelle of the Year for 2015, is known as the helping hands. Whenever help is needed, she is there with energy abound. Year after year, she has served on numerous committees such as the Kiddie’s Day, Third Grade History Day, The Rails to Trails Chili Cook-Off and the Taste of Beef, Sip of Wine, just to name a few.
Speaking of the beef and wine event, four years back, our then-beef and wine chairman retired from the job. Not unusual given that this event is our granddaddy of all, and it takes tremendous effort to put it on. Meeting after meeting, we sought a volunteer to take up the banner; and meeting after meeting, we left without a lead. This raised concerns that our Taste of Beef and Sip of Wine event may have seen its final days.
Our Cowbelle of the Year, at that time, had not served as a chair and was a bit apprehensive. But as the discussion continued, she hesitantly raised her hand and said, I’ll do it, but I will need lots of helping hands.
And so, our Cowbelle of the Year will lead our beef and wine event for the next three years, achieving our 25th anniversary of the event. Her friends and family call her a “fervent worker,” and this is definitely an example of that.
She actively participates at the state level as well, attending the spring, mid-year and year-end conventions. In addition to the Lassen County CattleWomen, she is also involved in our community through her church and through the Awana program, giving of her time and energy.
Our Cowbelle of the Year has a real love for agriculture, beef and horses. She and her husband had two different cattle herds. The first was a roping cattle business they ran for seven years, growing and raising roping steers for the market. The second was a commercial cow/calf operation that they ran for approximately nine years. And, in addition to the cattle business, they grew their own hay.
Horses have played an important part of her life. She has shown in halter classes, reining classes and even jumping. She also started several young colts, training them to rope and brand. Her husband describes her as a “pretty darn good all-around hand,” and it’s been pretty darn handy that our Cowbelle of the Year can rope and is a darn good roper at that. She has won several buckles in co-ed competitive roping competitions.
She brought this skill to our Kiddie’s Day each year and the Third Grade History Day, giving the children in our community a brief sense of what ranching life is. For these events, her dedication often required her to leave work to come help, and then go back to work. Not only that, one year, she and her husband came to teach the children how to rope because we were short on helping hands. And that particular day was their anniversary. Now that’s dedication!
To sum it up, using the words from her friends and family: many people can be called kind, many people can be called considerate, many people can even be called selfless, but a person who sets themselves apart from others through integrity, generosity and love, is truly a gift to all who know them. I think this best describes Leona Parker, our Cowbelle of the Year.