Mary Jo Rideout Named 2014 CattleWoman of the Year
July 16, 2014, Chandler, Arizona - The Arizona State Cowbelles (ASC) are proud to announce our CattleWoman of the Year for 2014, Mary Jo Rideout. Born in Los Angeles, California, she moved to Continental, Arizona with her family when she was about 2 years old. She started working on the family operation as soon as she could sit on a horse, feed livestock, check waters, etc. She started her first small herd by feeding doggie calves when she was a teenager. She earned enough money from the sale of these cattle to buy her first car. She and her brothers and sister showed cattle in 4-H, the in Arizona National Livestock Show and in Southern Arizona International Livestock Association (SAILA) shows throughout Arizona. When the family moved to Red Rock, Arizona, she became an integral part of that business and she still is today.
She and her husband first worked on a ranch in Wyoming; she was the ranch cook. Cooking for a big crew and learning to survive Wyoming winters kept her plenty busy. They came south again to work in feed yards in Arizona and Texas. Then came an opportunity to be part of his family’s ranching business so they relocated to that ranch in Montana. Mary Jo was Post Mistress in the small town and it was in Montana where their two sons were born.
Mary Jo divorced and moved her boys back to Arizona. She supported them in all their 4-H projects and watched them have prize winning steers in livestock shows throughout Arizona. Family is and has always been important to her.
Mary Jo has supported and worked in many capacities in the beef industry. She was the first woman to be voted to the Board of Directors for the Arizona Cattle Feeders’ Association and still serves on this board today. She has represented Arizona Cattle Growers’, Feeders’, and Cowbelles on various National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) committees and forums. She served on the Arizona Cattle Education and Research Industry Foundation Board for 3 years and currently represents the Arizona Cattle Feeders’ on the Arizona Beef Council.
Cowbelles has always been part of her life. Her mother was a very active Cowbelle. At one time, she wouldn’t let them eat Campbell soup because it contained imported beef. Her mother is a past Arizona State Cowbelle President as well as American National Cowbelle President. Mary Jo and her sister, Barbara Jackson, have been Cowbelles since they were old enough to join. She has served as American National CattleWomen (ANCW) Budget Committee Chair for three years. She has been the ASC treasurer for the past 12 years and still is today.
Even though she isn’t often recognized because she works in the background, Mary Jo has been involved in many of the activities of the industry. As one of her co-workers stated, “When she is given a task, you don’t have to worry. She just goes about getting it done.” ASC recognizes Mary Jo’s hard work and dedication for the industry and is proud to honor her as the 2014 CattleWoman of the Year.
Mary Jo (right) with her family (L-R):
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