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Cowgirl up! Happy IWD 2012 from Western Nebraska

March 8, 2012

I got up at 4 this morning to see if the aurora was blasting the sky with color here like it was elsewhere, but, alas, the moon and street lights were too bright to see anything.

Once my frenetic brain came online, I couldn’t shut it back off.

I started thinking about the fact that today is International Women’s Day.

The 2012 International Women's Day Google doodle

I started thinking about the women I have met here in western Nebraska who are blasting bright light and color and energy into the lives of those around them.

They are leaders, businesswomen, philanthropists, mothers, artists, educators and community organizers, and I am proud to call them friends. They have taken to heart the regionalism “cowgirl up!” (normally said as “cowboy up” – urban dictionary has a nice selection of translations for you non-westerners) and overcome difficulties and come through it all as stronger people.

Here are some of the women I thought of this morning:


Jennifer Schwartz: a physical education teacher who has lobbied hard for walkable, bikable neighborhoods and who was inspired by her daughter’s illness to found a charitable organization – Team Ashtyn – to help other families.


Laura Whelchel – a small-business owner who has opened her heart and home to foster children (who subsequently become part of the family) and who has founded a nonprofit summer camp – Camp Grace – that provides therapy and fun for kiddos with disabilities.


Kathi Manville – a rancher who has organized the Scottsbluff Winter Farmers Market and added an amenity to this area that makes urban denizens TOTALLY JEALOUS.


Stina Armstrong – an artist who co-owns Elixr Tattoo and who is very generous with her skills, donating art for the community and nonprofits (like the gourd auction at my museum and the Eight Arms of Inspriation project).


Lisa Betz – co-owner, publisher and editor of local paper the Gering Citizen who can be found everywhere acting as a booster for her hometown and for theater arts.


And, because I need to head out to tackle the day momentarily, a fast list of more of the friends I have made here in western Nebraska who have inspired me: Suella Hanlon of Hanlon House, WNCC speech instructor Denée Janda, WNCC Foundation director Dayle Wallien, Cozy Cow Dairy owner Caille Gash, Victory Hill Farm owner Sarah Pinet, sibling arts supporters and business owners Jamie and Jessica Carpenter AKA the Sisters Grimm, Becky McMillen at Creative Insight Independent Productions, Jina Red Nest who has been part of the force behind the Circle the Bluffs powwow, and HOLY CATS IT’S 6:30 ALREADY!

To the sisters I have mentioned above, and to all those I did not have time to include: YOU ROCK!

Copyright 2012 by Katie Bradshaw

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Laura permalink
    March 8, 2012 5:33 pm

    Simply, Thank you!

  2. March 8, 2012 11:14 pm

    As the Irish say: “God’ll be blessin’ ya!”

  3. March 9, 2012 11:55 am

    Thank you Katie!!! You rock!

  4. March 9, 2012 12:43 pm

    Katie good luck seeing the Aurora. As an (almost) life long amateur astronomer from Mitchell, the best way to see the Aurora, is to be North of all the city lights (Tri-State Canel), let your eyes ‘dark-adapt’ for 35-45 minutes (don’t look at ANY white light) and look in the NNE. A very good resource is, and right now they have a KILLER image of last nights aurora.
    With another CME coming our way, we could due for another display tonight. Think cosmic !!

    • Katie Bradshaw permalink
      March 9, 2012 8:50 pm

      Thanks, Tom. I have wanted to see the northern lights SO BADLY ever since I was 11 or so, and I was visiting family in northern Minnesota. The adults saw the aurora and DIDN’T WAKE ME UP because they were drinking and didn’t want to deal with kids. I still have not quite forgiven this insult, despite having gotten to see the aurora in 2003. I stood on my front step in Ames, Iowa, looking north right over a street light, and saw what looked to be a cloud flickering like a gas flame. Aurora! Bugman and I headed out of town and watched green and a bit of red flicker in the sky. It made me think of the light ripples one might see on the ceiling of an indoor pool. Very cool. Would definitely like to see it again.

  5. March 9, 2012 7:18 pm

    Katie, you are pretty amazing yourself! This community is blessed to have you a part of it. Thank you for all that you do!

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