Since 1993, the Red Meat Club of Denver has honored individuals or families for their contributions of time, talent and leadership to the National Western Stock Show. This year the organization has selected Carnahan Ranches Inc. of Kiowa as the recipient of the Club's 2015 Friend of the National Western.
“It's a real nice thing they are doing for us. It's a real treat,” said Charlie Carnahan. “It's (the National Western) a pretty important tradition for our family, since my great-grandfather helped found the stock show in 1906.”
The Carnahans have exhibited in the stock show every year since Charlie's great-grandfather Jacob Dietrich exhibited his 2-year-old bulls at the inaugural stock show in 1906. The only year the family has not exhibited was when the event was canceled in 1943 because of World War II. For the family's 109th appearance at the Stock Show, the family will show a pen of 12 heifers.
Bret Fox, the unofficial chairman of the Red Meat Club, was delighted with the selection.
“The Red Meat Club was founded in 1980 as a way for folks who circle 16 days on their calendars in January to get together in a social setting,” Fox said. “We're a club that doesn't have any dues or official officers.”
Each fall, the past recipients of the Friend of the National Western award gather and select from exhibitors, volunteers, or other patrons who are instrumental in presenting the stock show. Past winners have included organizers who managed the nearly 500 volunteers who make the show possible, and even loyal vendors who have frequented the show for generations.
“The award honors and recognizes people who are the pillars of the National Western who do not typically get the recognition they deserve,” Fox said.
In the announcement, the club acknowledged the family's remarkable history, “The Carnahan Ranches traces its Elbert County, Colorado roots to 1862 and has a distinguished record as a commercial producer. They are being recognized by the Red Meat Club for their remarkable history as a National Western exhibitor.”
Five generations the family have lived and ranched on their land south of Kiowa. The family's original two-room log cabin still stands on the property near the banks of Kiowa Creek.
Fifteen members of the Carnahan family plan to be in attendance when the award is presented at the Red Meat Club's Annual Dinner on Jan. 15.