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Meet the Member Staff Sergeant Gayden L. Pollan
story courtesy of Dan Stewart
Military Bio: I joined the USAF before graduating high school via The Delayed Entry Program. Upon graduating high school, I went active duty. Upon completion of basic training, I was stationed at Sheppard AFB where I completed my training to become a Medical Laboratory Technician. This was the career path I had chosen so that I would be able to progress to become a viable candidate for the Air Force Physician Assistant Program. Next, I received orders to be stationed at Maxwell AFB where I worked as a Medical Laboratory Technician where my interest became elevated in Microbiology and Chemistry. As I well remember on a cold December in AL (which doesn’t occur a lot), my First Sgt, called me to his office with news that as he stated, “Needed to be conveyed eye to eye”. See, he was a close friend as we were teammates on the Base Traveling Softball Team. As I entered his office, the look on his face said it all. The military wool blanket sitting on his desk with my orders on top was a hint to the news. Seems like the USAF had decided to shuffle some medical personnel around and I had drawn the short straw for Minot AFB North Dakota. Now for those unaware, this is a very cold place to be stationed and most Airmen do everything to avoid it. Well, lucky me! It was 38 degrees when I left the South and two days later when I reported to duty at 1300 hours…… -60 degrees with the wind chill. Enough said. Later in my career I was deployed to the jungles of the Panama Canal Zone to serve in support of Operation Safe Haven. What a neat experience! Not long after returning from my deployment, I left active duty to serve in the Air National Guard. My highlight of the MS ANG was being presented an award by the Honorable Congressman “Sonny” Montgomery. The 1985 version “Montgomery G.I. Bill” that helps military personnel go to school was one of his donations to our military troops that still continues today.
Rodeo: I grew up with horses and cattle but never got to experience rodeo competition. It wasn’t until I went back to college to get my Wildlife Science degree that I met some guys that got me into team roping. Still due to work and school, rodeo competition would not find its way to the front burner until several years later. My job as a Certified Wildlife Biologist® carried me to the Mississippi Delta where I met Brian Scott and we began to spend a lot of time in the team roping practice pen and jackpots. However, one day I made a statement that I wanted to learn to calf rope. Now, some 16 years later I have managed to win calf roping buckles along with several other awards. One of the most memorable year end buckles was when it came down to the last calf after 8 months of rodeoing and I had to beat a multiple time champion….tenths of seconds do count! Since joining PAFRA in 2014, I have been privileged to win Calf Roping Rookie of the Year and Reserve World Champion to be followed in 2015 as the Calf Roping Finals Average Champion and World Champion. I would not be where I am calf roping without my Oklahoma mentor Lee J Elder. His unselfish dedication to supplying calves, advice and “motivation” always kept me moving in the right direction.
I joined PAFRA to be around others that knew what “wearing the uniform” means while enjoying the adrenaline rush of rodeo. As I sit here in my office writing this, I look at my framed 2015 Finals back number autographed by Lynn Mattocks, Highly Decorated US Marine, that he simply states: Ride, Ride, Ride. That is a true trophy to me just being able to meet a military hero like him.
I currently live in Stathem GA with my wife Melanie, daughters Marci and Maddie where I own/operate Peapatch Funds LLC and still occasionally consult as a Certified Wildlife Biologist®. My hobby of roping and rodeo would not exist if not for the support of those three!