2013 Special Guests

Governor Matt Mead
Wyoming Governor


Matt Mead was sworn in as Wyoming's 32nd governor on January 3, 2011. Born in Jackson, Wyoming, Governor Mead was raised on the family ranch in Teton County. He has a BA degree from Trinity University in San Antonio and a law degree from the University of Wyoming. After law school, the Governor served as a county and federal prosecutor, practiced in a private firm in Cheyenne with now Attorney General Greg Phillips, and served as United States Attorney for Wyoming from October 2001 to June 2007. After he stepped down as U. S. Attorney, Matt and his wife Carol, the First Lady, returned fulltime to operating their farming and ranching business in southeast Wyoming.

Since taking office, Governor Mead has continued to travel to communities around the state to hear from residents in the places where they live and work. He maintains an open door policy in his office at the Capitol Building.

Representing the interests of the state, the Governor also serves in regional and national leadership roles. He serves on the Council of Governors, a group of 10 governors chosen by the President to advise top federal officials on matters related to the National Guard and civil support missions. In the National Governors Association, he serves as co‐chair of the Special Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety and is a member of the Natural Resources Committee. He is co‐chair of the State and Federal Sage Grouse Task Force, which brings together federal officials and representatives of 11 western states for a regional conservation effort.

Matt and Carol have been married 20 years, with Cheyenne as their home. They have two children, Mary and Pete, who attend Cheyenne public schools.

Dave Freudenthal
Former Wyoming Governor


Dave graduated in 1973 from Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, with a bachelor's degree in economics. After graduating he joined the Department of Economic Planning and Development as an economist and later became the state planning director for Governor Ed Herschler. Freudenthal entered the University of Wyoming College of Law, receiving his law degree in 1980, and went into private practice. In 1994, he was appointed U.S. Attorney upon the recommendation of then-Governor Mike Sullivan and left the post of U.S. Attorney in May 2001. Dave became the 31st Governor of the State of Wyoming in January 2003 serving two terms, until January 2011.

Scott Talbot
Wyoming Game and Fish


Scott was appointed by Governor Matt Mead as the Director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Scott began his career with the Department in 1985, became a Game Warden in 1989 and in 2003 promoted to Assistant Chief of the Wildlife Division. Scott hunts and fishes with his two sons, Payden and Luke, enjoys training horses, backpacking in the remote mountains of Wyoming and remains actively involved in the family's ranching operation near Laramie.

CJ Box
Best Selling Author


C.J. Box is the New York Times bestselling author of fifteen novels including the Joe Pickett series. He won the Edgar Alan Poe Award for Best Novel (Blue Heaven, 2009) as well as the Anthony Award, Prix Calibre 38 (France), the Macavity Award, the Gumshoe Award, the Barry Award, and the 2010 Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association Award for fiction. His short stories have been featured in America’s Best Mystery Stories of 2006 and limited-edition printings. 2008 novel Blood Trail was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin (Ireland) Literary Award. The novels have been translated into 26 languages. Open Season, Blue Heaven and Nowhere To Run have been optioned for film.

Box is a Wyoming native and has worked as a ranch hand, surveyor, fishing guide, a small town newspaper reporter and editor, and he owned an international tourism marketing firm with his wife Laurie. In 2008, Box was awarded the "BIG WYO" Award from the state tourism industry. An avid outdoorsman, Box has hunted, fished, hiked, ridden, and skied throughout Wyoming and the Mountain West. He served on the Board of Directors for the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. They have three daughters. He lives in Wyoming.

Two novels are scheduled for publication in 2013: Breaking Point (A Joe Pickett novel) in March and The Highway (a stand-alone featuring Cody Hoyt) in July.

Chris Kirby
Quaker Boy Game Calls


The sport of hunting wild turkeys is one of the most exciting and addictive outdoor activities. Chris Kirby started his outdoor experiences at the age of 5, walking the trails with older brother and father watching and listening to the woods wake up and go to bed many times. You could say that hunting is a Kirby genetic trait. Son of the late, legendary Dick Kirby, Chris has made his stake in the outdoor world as one of the best Competitive Turkey callers as well as hunters.

Chris is one of only two individuals to accomplish a career Grand Slam on the turkey calling stage. Winning the World Turkey Calling Championship, 4X US Open championships, 2X Masters Invitational Championships and most recently the Wild Turkey Bourbon Grand Nationals, completed the Grand Slam. Chris' abilities are not limited to the contest stage. He has successfully taken all four sub-species of the Wild Turkey, known also as a Grand Slam.

Serving as President of Quaker Boy, Inc., Chris has a tremendous knowledge of the in depth world of call manufacturing and their application to the turkey hunter. Turkey calls and hunting comes quite naturally to for Chris. Chris is anxious to share and teach his passionate real life hunting experience.

Corey Cogdell
Olympic Shooter
Team USA


Corey Cogdell is many things, but most notably, she is driven. She holds many of the highest accolades in her sport of International Trapshooting, including becoming the first American woman to ever win an Olympic Medal in the sport, and at 24 she is only getting started. Born in Alaska, Corey began shooting and hunting with her father when she was a young girl. She discovered her love of shotgun shooting and honed her trapshooting skills through a local 4-H Club shooting program. From there, she went on to train for Olympic-style trapshooting and after two short years, became the only member of the 2008 United States Olympic women's trapshooting team. On Aug. 11, 2008 in Beijing, China, Corey, called on a lifetime of shooting experience to win Team USA's first shooting medal of the Olympics, the bronze in Women's Trap. In addition to her athletic talents, Corey has also become a powerful motivational speaker by sharing her story and passion for the shooting sports. Corey is also a TV personality on shows such as "Cabela’s Ultimate Adventures", "Outdoor Guide" and "Safari Hunters Journal." She works closely with some of the outdoor industry's leading companies including Cabela's, Krieghoff International firearms and Walkers Game Ear.

Mitch Unrein
Denver Broncos
Defensive Tackle


#96 Defensive Tackle for the Denver Broncos Mitch Unrein was born and raised in Eaton Colorado. He was named all state in high school football and wrestling, as well as being a State Champion wrestler at 215lbs. his senior year. The all around athlete took his talents to the University of Wyoming where he walked on to the football program with Coach Joe Glenn and earned a spot on the team. After a red shirt freshman year of growth and development, Unrein had a successful college career. Unrein was named honorable mention, all conference 3 consecutive years for Wyoming, as well as being named the MVP of the New Mexico Bowl. After college, Unrein became a Houston Texan but was released on the final cut. In week 7 of the 2010 season Unrein was signed to the practice squad for the Denver Broncos. The next season he earned a spot on the 53 man roster and is about to begin his 4th year in the NFL. Unrein became the first defensive lineman in Denver Broncos history to catch a touchdown pass from Peyton Manning in a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year. Unrein plays a pivotal role in one of the most successful defenses in the NFL, and this is no sign of slowing down.

Austin Wahlert


Austin Wahlert is a singer songwriter originally from Northern Colorado, where he grew up on a family ranch. Wahlert grew up in the world of rodeo participating as a collegiate and professional bull rider who found music along the way. Attending Odessa College in West Texas on a bull riding scholarship, Austin found success in the small bars and honky-tonk's of Texas playing his music. Although he is still touring the midwest and other parts of the country Wahlert has tuned his focus to the national stage working as a songwriter in Nashville, Tenn. In a short time Austin has garnered respect, with a who's who of Music row songwriters and industry executives helping guide his promising career. His first album is available on iTunes, Amazon, or where ever music is sold, you can also download a free app in either the iPhone or Android app stores (search Austin Wahlert). On the app you can watch Wahlert's current music Video preview the album or Check for Tour Dates. Whether you are looking for an upbeat Saturday night good time song, a heartfelt breakup song, or searching the depth of your soul type of life song, it can all be found on his self titled debut album Austin Wahlert. With a new album due out later this year, this rising star has just begun and has a lot to say about life as he's living it. Expect to hear from this prolific songwriter for a long time to come, you can't go wrong with Austin Wahlert.

Rich Ackerman
Former NFL Football Player


Rich Ackerman (BIGACK) is a former American football defensive tackle in the National Football League. He played for the San Diego Chargers and the Los Angeles Raiders. He had a career total 18 starts, 14 with the San Diego Chargers. Rich moved to Wyoming in 1989 where he earned a B.S. Animal Science Degree and a M.S. Reproductive Biology.

He spends all of his free time riding the mountains on horseback, fishing, and bow hunting.

An accomplished singer and guitar player, you can find him throughout Southeast Wyoming playing blues, country, and rock n' roll.

Aaron Mackenzie
CHL Hockey Pro
Denver Cutthroats


Aaron Mackenzie is a professional ice hockey player on the Denver Cutthroats Hockey team in the Central Hockey League (CHL) located in Denver, Colorado. He was born on March 7, 1981, in Terrace Bay, Ontario. He competed in collegiate hockey for four years at Denver University where he met his wife, Brandi Mackenzie. Mackenzie is a defensemen and has been a professional hockey player for 10 years now - he first signed with the St. Louis Blues in 2003. The Denver Cutthroats are proud to have Aaron Mackenzie as the franchise's first Captain. Aaron and Brandi Mackenzie now reside in Boulder, Colorado.

Sean Zimmerman
CHL Hockey Pro
Denver Cutthroats


Sean Zimmerman is a professional ice hockey player on the Denver Cutthroats Hockey team in the Central Hockey League (CHL) located in Denver, Colorado. He was born on May 24, 1987, in Denver, Colorado. This was Zimmerman's eighth season as a professional hockey player. In 2007 Zimmerman represented the United States at the World Junior Championships. Zimmerman tallied 13 points this season for the Denver Cutthroats. During the off-season, he and his wife, Stacie, will reside in his hometown of Denver, Colorado.

Howard Johnson
Board of Directors
Ducks Unlimited


Howard serves on the National Board of Directors of Ducks Unlimited representing Region 2 covering the Great Plains states. He has been an active volunteer for Ducks Unlimited for 34 years with the Riverton, WY Chapter, was Wyoming state chair for four years and state council chairman in July 2012.

Johnson is also the Chairman of the Board of Inberg-Miller Engineers, a civil engineering and surveying firm, which is headquartered in Riverton where he lives with his family.

Aaron Warbritton
Cabela's Spring Thunder
Host and Producer


Aaron Warbritton is the host and producer of Cabela's Spring Thunder. He is an accomplished turkey hunter whose love for the sport began at a young age. Aaron's interest in turkeys began in northern Missouri where he grew up, but he now hunts many states each spring in pursuit of toms. Warbritton has competed in many national calling contests and feels fortunate that he has been able to turn his passion into profession.

The turkey show, Cabela's Spring Thunder, has really taken off this year. It's a near real-time show, aimed at helping hunters become better at harvesting turkeys. Warbritton is excited about the growth of the show and hopes to do his part in furthering the sport through educating seasoned and new turkey hunters.

Brian Scott
K2 Radio Host


Brian Scott is a Wyoming guy. He moved with his family in 1970 to a ranch outside of Medicine Bow then off to Saratoga and landing in Casper in the mid 70's. Elementary school, junior high and high school as well as some time at Casper College, molded the man you know today. After getting started in radio at KTRS in the early 80's Brian had a chance to go to work for CBS records in Chicago. Stints with Polygram And Geffen followed before family and the call of Casper brought him home. Brian took over the K2 Radio morning show almost 20 years ago and remains one of the top rated morning shows in the state. Brian has also had some fun getting close to the music with his midday show on MyCountry 95.5. In the year 2000 Brian was awarded the prestigious Marconi Award for Personality of the Year. Brian has been married almost 25 years, has 3 boys and 3 granddaughters that are the apples of his eye.

Ray Crow
VP of Marketing
Mule Deer Foundation


Ray Crow, former co-host of TV's popular "One Shot Challenge," is Vice President of Marketing for the Mule Deer Foundation with international headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is an avid multi-species hunter, successful with both gun and bow. He is a member of the Easton Pro Staff and founding member of the Austin & Halleck Muzzleloader Pro Staff. Ray is a familiar face to the nation's media, regularly speaking or participating at conferences of the Outdoor Writers Association of America and the Professional Outdoor Media Association, as well as SHOT Show Media Day at the Range.

Ray's success in the outdoor industry and his network of contacts have served him well in his critical role at the Mule Deer Foundation, where he oversees marketing, merchandise and other responsibilities, as well as key elements of running the hugely successful Western Hunting & Conservation Expo. As one celebrity put it at a Minnesota VIP Turkey Hunt, "He's no Rob Keck, but he sure knows how to shoot gobblers in his sleep!

Mark Kayser
Outdoor Television Host


Mark Kayser has been photographing and writing about the outdoors with a career spanning more than two decades.  Today that career also includes hosting popular hunting shows such as North American Hunter on NBC Sports and The Ultimate Buck Zone on the Outdoor Channel.

Mark is also the whitetail columnist for North American Hunter, the backyard whitetail bowhunting columnist for Bowhunt America magazine and a regular contributor to outdoor publications such as American Hunter, Turkey Country, Cabela's Outdoor Journal, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation's Bugle magazine, Bowhunter, Bowhunting World, Predator Xtreme and numerous other hunting titles.

Each year Mark spends nearly six months in the field hunting big game, predators and small game.  Elk and deer attract most of his hunting time and he pursues big bulls and bucks whenever opportunity knocks.

When he's not in pursuit of hunting adventures Mark retreats to his small ranch nestled at the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming to spend time with his family.

Kevin Balzer
President and Founder
PetraCo, Inc.


Kevin Balzer is the President and founder of PetraCo, Inc. PetraCo, Inc is a single-family custom home builder located in Garber, Oklahoma since 1996. Our homes are one-piece custom built at our location and then moved to the customer's site in one piece.

Interests include hunting and fishing, travel and BBQ smoking competitions.

Organizations include Ducks Unlimited, Enid Home Builders Association and past president, National Association of Home Builders, Member Grand National Quail Club, Dallas Safari Club.

2013 Youth Participants

Austin Butler
Hulett NWTF Competition Winner


Austin Butler is a 13-year old seventh grader at Hulett Junior High. He enjoys hunting, trapping, fishing and anything outdoors. Austin lives in the country with his parents, JR and Bobbi Butler and his younger twin brothers, Dawson and Dalton.

Austin plays football and basketball, wrestles and runs track. He is a member of the Devils Tower FFA Chapter and enjoys welding and constructing projects. His welding skills helped him earn a spot in this year’s Old West Invitational Turkey Shoot, as a co-winner of the contest sponsored by the local NWTF Chapter. Austin welded a life-size turkey sculpture from scrap iron collected from his grandparents’ ranch.

Austin enjoys taxidermy and has been chosen as Best Novice Taxidermist on two separate occasions. He has been a volunteer at the Old West Turkey Shoot since its inception in 2010. Austin plays drums, enjoys creative writing, raising chickens, riding horses and motorcycles.

Austin would like to thank the Hulett Strutters for sponsoring the contest, Frank Amos, Josh Gullet, Mike and Pam Schmid, and his grandparents, Don & Terri Johnson for all the help with his welding project.

Mary & Pete Mead

Mary & Pete Mead - ages 15 & 13. Mary is a freshman at East High School and Pete is a 7th Grader at Carey Jr High in Cheyenne. Both Mary and Pete enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, skiing, swimming, and all kinds of outdoor activities. They are excited to participate in the Old West Invitational Turkey Shoot with their Dad.

Brandy Goodman
2012 Wyoming Hunting and Fish Expo Youth Stewardship Award Winner

Seventeen-year-old Brandy loves being outdoors, watching wildlife and hunting. She is truly an avid sportswoman. She received the Wyoming Hunting and Fish Expo Youth Hunting Stewardship Award” in 2012. Brandy is a student Rock River School, in Rock River, WY and will graduate in 2014.

Grant Lindblom
Wyoming Game and Fish Expo Youth Stewardship Award

Grant is a natural outdoorsman with great leadership skills. He attended the WGFD’s youth conservation camp for two years and last summer he was invited back as a Junior Leader to assist his peers in learning outdoor activities. He stood out as a tremendous young man and taught everyone a bit about the outdoors. Grant is also a 4-H Ambassador, where his leadership skills are again front and center as he represents Wyoming.

Masen King
Fathers in the Field

Masen is 15 yrs. old and is in the 9th grade. Masen loves Hunting and BMX with a capital H and B Masen grew up without a father in the home and through the mentoring ministry of Fathers in the Field has adopted hunting and fishing as a life passion.

Shelby Lockman
Wildlife Management Services of the Rockies

Shelby Lockman is 13 years old, lives in Green River, Wyoming. She enjoys hunting, fishing, camping, bike riding and any other outdoor activity. Shelby also participates in youth baseball, downhill skiing and this year she started snowboarding. She and her brothers have been involved in BMX racing in the past. Shelby would rather be doing something outdoors than anything else.

Austin Hartley

Austin is a 15-year-old Wyoming native that has spent most of his life outside the state as his military family is stationed around the country. He currently attends 9th grade in Cheyenne. No matter where he goes, he finds opportunities to enjoy the variety of outdoor environments our Country has to offer through his involvement with the Boy Scouts. He also enjoys sports, the more extreme the better. While Austin misses the warmth of the south and the Florida beaches, he is happy to be back in Wyoming.

Cole Kayser

Cole lives with his family on a small ranch near the Bighorn Mountains. Much of his outdoor interests come from spending time with his father, Mark Kayser, an avid hunter and outdoor communicator who has been photographing, and writing about the outdoors with a career spanning more than two decades. Today that career also includes hosting popular hunting shows such as North American Hunter on NBC Sports and The Ultimate Buck Zone on the Outdoor Channel.

Cole often accompanies his father on hunts and helps in preparing gear throughout the year for hunting season. Cole has appeared on several TV shows while hunting with his father. He's also penned several articles for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation's "Bugle" magazine.

Jessica Power

Extensive volunteerism throughout her community: Arbor day tree wrapping and tree give-away; Lincoln Day Fundraiser for the Republican Party; Middle School Teen Mentoring; DARE workshops, board meetings, legislative participation and contact, state and national meetings and assistance in writing a House Bill to increase funding for the Wyoming DARE Organization, guest speaker for many state DARE Graduations, etc.; Anti-Bullying Parent Workshop guest speaker; CHS Cheer Clinics, Boys and Girls Club Halloween Carnival and decorating; Senior Citizen's Center Christmas decorating; Dance fundraising and volunteer activities; Cheer fundraising and volunteer activities; Rachel's Challenge; CHS Link Crew; etc.