Tonight (18 Jun) was a big night for Jamie and me. After nearly 8 years of serving active duty in the US Air Force, I made the switch to the Wyoming Army National Guard.
It was a whirlwind of media activities leading up to my transition and it continued after the rodeo performance. The story was on Casper K2 News live at 6pm just prior me putting on the Army uniform and followed up on the front page of the CNFR section in the Casper Trib.
During tonight’s opening ceremony the CNFR paid tribute to the Soldiers and Families of the Wyoming National Guard. Just so happened, I needed to take the Oath of Office on the 18th as well.
It was pretty neat to see patriotism is alive and well in Wyoming. Two humvees were parked along the bucking chutes, the Wyoming National Guard - Color Guard was on hand to present the colors and the Casper Troopers performed the National Anthem. Applause was thundering all around the Casper Events Center as the announcer thanked the Wyoming Soldiers and their Families.
Brigadier General Olin Oedekoven, Commander of the Wyoming Army National Guard was gracious enough to drive in and administer the oath of office to me in front of a standing audience of 4,000.
Jamie and I knew a transition would be taking place in life and began the decision making process over a year ago to see what direction our future should go. A couple of things were certain. One, we wanted to continue to represent and live in the Great State of Wyoming. Two, I wanted to continue to fight bulls. Three, I wanted to continue to serve the country in some fashion.
My time in the Air Force was truly a great experience and helped elevate my bullfighting career through the positive publicity. However, the active duty career path would eventually take me out of Wyoming. In effort to achieve all of my goals, the Wyoming Army National Guard stepped-up.
So tonight, my official title of being the ‘USAFs Only PRCA Bullfighter’ is over and I embarked on a new chapter in life representing the National Guard. I will continue to serve the country and rodeo even more than in years past. My military role will again be dually related. I will work a recruiting mission while rodeoing and also serve as the Officer-in-Charge of Wyoming’s Yellow Ribbon Program. The Yellow Ribbon program is designed to support the deployed Soldier and their Family throughout the deployment process.
For years, the National Guard has been made up of people just like me – Citizens who have a unique role in the civilian world and are not scared to put personal goals on hold for the greater cause.
Again, thanks to everyone who helped make this event possible. I look forward to being a Citizen-Soldier!