Greenlee County Cattle Growers Meeting
by Suzanne Menges
The 102nd annual meeting of the Greenlee County Cattle Growers Association was held on Saturday, August 20th, at the historic Double Circle Lodge at Upper Eagle Creek. This year the Association was pleased to host featured speaker Mr. Mark Killian, Director of the Arizona State Department of Agriculture. Mr. Killian addressed the crowd of ranchers and supporters from throughout Greenlee County, sharing new developments in the Department and answering questions from the group. In addition, the Cattle Growers welcomed members of the Arizona Pilots Association who have been instrumental in restoring the historic lodge.
The summer meeting of the Association is held at the end of August, after the hottest part of the summer is over, but before fall roundups begin. The cool climate of Upper Eagle Creek is perfect for a comfortable day to relax. For several decades, the summer meeting of the Association was a highlight for many ranchers and their families. Traveling from distant ranches, the group would assemble to celebrate the summer rains or, as often as not, the need for more. Regardless, the summer meeting was a special time to discuss issues affecting the cattle industry and enjoy catching up with neighbors. Members would join in a potluck lunch, a steak fry in the evening, and a Western dance in the Lodge later that night. Members camped out overnight and began the long journey back to their ranch the next morning. This tradition ended in the mid-90’s as the Lodge changed hands several times and eventually fell into disrepair.
The structure was discovered by the Arizona Pilot’s Association a few years ago, and a partnership was formed between the pilots and the ranchers to refurbish the building. Now, with a new porch, new roof, repaired windows and other improvements, it is once again the scene of the gathering of the cattlemen and cattlewomen of Greenlee County.
The meeting was led by President Ben Menges. Speakers included representatives from the County Board of Supervisors, the Arizona State Cattle Growers Association, U of A Cooperative Extension, the Forest Service, the County Assessor’s office, and the livestock inspection program. The Association thanks the sponsor of this year’s summer meeting, CKP Insurance.