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Laura Martin, from Lakewood, Colo., is the new secretary for CPRA. “I jokingly call myself a rodeo junkie. I love the sport, the way of life, and everything about it,” she said. “To be able to come in and be part of this association and rodeo as a whole – this has actually been a goal for many years.” Laura is no stranger to the rodeo world. Her passion for the sport started when she was a child. Today she serves on three rodeo committees (Rooftop Rodeo, Elizabeth Stampede, and Douglas County Fair & Rodeo), as well as volunteers in the contestant hospitality for the National Western Stock Show.
For her real job, Laura works for US Bureau of Reclamation. “I’m a financial specialist in accounts payable.” Her department is responsible for everything from utility, water grants, to a variety of bills for the federal agency. “Our agency owns most of the dams in the Western United States and we pay all of the invoices and payables for the entire nation. Most everything we do is from Oklahoma west.” Laura has been with the government since she was 18, taking several years off to acquire her education as well as raise her son. “I started off as a file clerk.” She went to school fulltime and graduated from Red Rocks in 2010 with an associates degree in general ed. She furthered her education by getting a BA in History from Metro in 2012, with a minor in Native American studies. “Once I got past the general ed stuff and was taking history classes and Native American classes – anthropology was part of it – and I enjoyed those.”
She is slated to retire in 20 months and is looking forward to pursuing other interests; writing books and rodeo are the top two. Her dream is to get a trailer and travel from rodeo to rodeo. She travels to plenty of rodeos but must return to Lakewood for her job. “I’ve already been to several CPRA rodeos and built relationships with many rodeo contestants and committees.” It’s nothing for her to drive 8 hours to a rodeo on a whim. “I can’t remember a time in my life I wasn’t a rodeo fan,” she said. When she was in high school, one of her classmates ran barrels in the CSHSRA and she went to her rodeos. “I would go to the (National Western) Stock Show every day and night watching the rodeo.”
She quit working for the government when her son, Troy, was born in 1993, intending to be a stay-at-home mom. That wasn’t the path though and she ended up doing medical transcription, which allowed her to be at home and be a mom. “I don’t do daycare,” she said. Once he started school, she went back to work. She attended his football games and did all the mom things while he was growing up. Once he moved out, she applied to the National Western to be a volunteer. She met Debbie Mills there and the duo started off year one working in the contestant hospitality. In addition to working in coliseum support (contestant hospitality), she is a team lead for Guest Services and does everything from ushering in Gold Buckle to taking tickets.
While volunteering at the hospitality room, she met three other rodeo committees that she has since joined to share her time and experience. Her role varies with each rodeo. At the Elizabeth Stampede, she oversees the mutton bustin’ and helps with the timed event side during the rodeo after mutton bustin’. “I help out wherever I’m needed around the rodeos.”
For Rooftop Rodeo, she volunteers in contestant outreach. “It’s something we started recently. We work with the contestants while they are at the rodeo, making sure they are getting anything they need. Then after the rodeo, we try to keep in touch with them through email or social media. We are trying to find birthdays as well as acknowledge their accomplishments. All nine of the champions from NFR came through the Rooftop Rodeo. We acknowledged them by tagging them in our social media.”
She is an associate member for Douglas County Fair board; she also works with three committees underneath that. She volunteers in the rodeo committee where she helps manage contestant hospitality. She also volunteers for the marketing and royalty committees.
Once she retires, she has ideas for books she would like to write. “I would love to look at the animal side of rodeo and write a series of books on all the great timed event horses over the years.” She is working to nominate Curtis Cassidy’s horse, Willy, into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.
Her goal as secretary of the CPRA is to be a part of making the association better than it’s ever been. “When I was listening to some of the ideas Don and the board had, I got excited,” she said. “We are going to move into the technology world; bringing memberships online, as well as incorporating all the board email addresses into one group to make communication even easier.”
“I want to spend the next 20 years of my life doing something I love doing and if I can help be part of the improvements that the CPRA wants to do, that would be amazing,” concludes Laura. “I want to continue to build on the relationships we have. I want to meet the committees at their rodeos, as best I can, alongside the newly elected committee rep, Traci Butzn. Together, with the rest of the board, we can make a difference.”
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