Hard Work Pays Off
I was born in Gunnison, CO, lived in New Mexico for a year or so then moved here when I turned two and have grown up here in Walden. I would spend a few weeks every summer in Gunnison, but I'm always right back to Walden.
When I was younger my role for the ranch was whatever chores my dad gave me. In the spring, during calving I would go tagging with him. Whenever a baby (calf) needed to be pulled I always wanted to go and watch and help. We would move pairs whether it was nice out or not. In the summer I would ride and move cows or working with my steers. You could find my brother Ben and I out playing in the creek or at the barn. Sometimes we would go swimming in the irrigation ditches or climbing the haystacks. My favorite time of the year is spring. In early spring is calving and we get to see all the cute little babies run and buck. In late spring early summer is branding and we are usually invited to several other brandings where I either rope wrestle or vaccinate. At our branding we use tilt tables so I push the calves into the chute. I grew up knowing exactly where my food came from and knew pretty much which cuts of meat came from where on the animal. I also knew I would never go hungry because I knew pretty much everything I needed to know about raising an animal for slaughter and how to work for my food in other ways. I also learned very young that all things have a purpose. Some of those for food, some for assisting us, and some just for making my life harder(mosquitos).
The impact of the ranch has been huge on my life. I could never live in a cramped area where you can't go running barefoot through the fields or somewhere where there aren't hundreds of geese to chase with my dog in the spring. My morals and values revolve around the ranch. I've learned how to work and be disciplined from being here in the ranch. I've learned life lessons from a young age and learned to respect people even if they make you mad. My parents, siblings, and all the people of the ranch have taught me these things. I also learned things like to always help your neighbors and to make good social relations with the people of the county because you never know when you might need a friend or a helping hand.
Outside of school I'm a very busy person. School is probably the least of my busy things. I've played volleyball, basketball, and run track. I lettered on the Lady Cats varsity basketball team all three years of high school. In track, I was one of two freshman to go out our Freshman year and I went to state in the 800m run. I was invited that next fall to go compete in the 800m in Australia with Downunder Sports. My Sophomore year, I again went to state with the rest of the 4x800 meter relay team: Cheyenne Telck, Kayla Jenkins, and Darci Wintermote and our alternates Bailey Van, and Shelbi McAlister. That July is when I went to Australia to run.
I'm also very involved in the North Park FFA and the Jackson County 4H. I'm a North Park FFA officer and plan to run again as president next year. I compete in Vet Science CDE (Career Development Event) for FFA and started as a Freshman. At the state level I received a gold medal as an individual my first year. My biggest FFA achievement was doing well in the Vet Science CDE at state. I have been involved in 4-H since I was about 5 or 6 starting with Clover Buds. I started out showing dogs, horses and steers. I also was in knitting and shooting sports for a few years. My most rewarding experience in 4-H was with my dog Specks. He is a natural show dog and loves showmanship for two years in a row we have been the Grand Champions in Showmanship With near perfect scores each year. There was two different judges for the years and both years Specks and I scored a 199 out of 200. This summer we plan on competing at the Colorado State Fair in showmanship.
From growing up in Walden on a ranch I've had many successes. Starting my own cow herd, learning to work, achieving great things through sports and academics. But the greatest success of mine would probably be the lessons I have learned through failures. Like when I was learning to rope my Dad taught me the basics of roping and let me try and figure it out. I was getting a hang of what he was teaching me but I was just rushing through all of it and trying to get to the next thing. As we were riding back to the barn my rope had gotten tangled from my rushed job of re-looping (I don't think that's the correct term for it) it. I got frustrated and didn't tell anyone my frustration. I started to cry atop my horse and Dad came back and asked me what was wrong. I showed him my tangled mess of a rope and he told me to use my words stop getting frustrated and stop taking it out on my horse. Well this just made me more frustrated so he made me stop get off and he showed me how to fix my tangled rope. What he said next has stuck with me for a long time. He said "Marti, you just think you can just sit on your horse and look pretty and swing your rope and you're never going to miss and everything will be perfect. But that's not how it works. You have to work for things. It's like this in life you got to work hard." That's the greatest lesson and greatest success I have had. I now work hard to improve myself. That day my Dad humbled me and showed me what it really takes.
The BEEF industry has paved my future because raising beef makes my money. I just turned 17 in January so I bought my first car. That car was paid for in cash the day I bought it because I worked my butt off with all my steers to make that money. Beef is my lively hood and my family's lively hood. My parents wouldn't choose any other life just because this is what makes them happy. Dad would rather work himself to death with the cows than sit behind a desk and computer. Raising steers and selling them is paying for my college and has prepared me with the struggles of hard work. Like some of our school sweatshirts say "we bleed blue and gold" that's how I feel. I put my blood, sweat and tears into working hard for sports, academics and FFA here at North Park and I wouldn't give it up for anywhere else. We are a typically tight net group of people and we share close bonds with our friends and teammates. I would do a lot for my teammates especially those who trust me. Even if we don't like each other. If any of my teammates comes to me in need of a shoulder to cry on or just an ear to listen I am always there for them. They just have to put their trust in me and come talk to me.
North Park is my home and it's the only place I really know so it's culture is a huge impact. We respect everyone here. We listen to the older people of the community. We support everyone and will help our neighbors. If you need some help around the ranch like for branding just ask and you shall receive especially if you have some good food for lunch.
Marti Elze is truly one of a kind and it has been a pleasure to share her story here! Not only is she hard working and dedicated, as her story portrays, Marti is a nice person. She is always happy and eager to help. I've enjoyed getting to know Marti as a student in our school and as being her 4H Leader for many years. Watch this one, she has a great future ahead of her and a good head on her shoulders to make it happen. Thank you for sharing Marti, you make me proud!