university of wyoming

I have watched my grandniece, Jadyn Mortensen, grow up since the day she was born. She has surprised me over the years…not because she couldn’t do anything she wanted to, but because she almost instantly became interested in horses. Maybe that wasn’t a surprise to her parents and grandparents, but since she lives in Rawlins, Wyoming and I live in Casper, Wyoming, I didn’t see her growing interest in her day-to-day life. I realized she loved horses when she was in town and out at her grandparents’ ranch. Seeing her with the horses there was a beautiful thing. She was just a girl of nine or ten years, but she was like a horse whisper…even then.

Jadyn is talented in many ways. Besides horses, she loves snowmobiles, motorcycles, 4 wheelers, boats, and I’m sure, a number of other sports. Still, for most of her high school career, Jadyn loved barrel racing. She was amazing. She won many awards, and her riding was so exciting to watch. Jadyn is fearless on a horse, and her horse is fearless when she is riding. They work and move as one unit. Not only is she an amazing barrel racer, but she is also very talented at trick riding…I guess that’s what you would call it. Standing on the back of her horse doesn’t scare her one bit, and that is amazing.

I suppose I could be biased when it comes to the riding ability of my grandniece, but that I’m not the only one who is impressed with her, so I guess that the corroboration makes all the difference. As she was preparing to graduate from high school, Jadyn received a full-ride scholarship to the University of Wyoming to be a part of their barrel racing team. They saw how amazing she is too. I know that Jadyn’s college career is going to be a wonderful experience for her, but I think her parents, Amanda Reed and Sean Mortensen are going to find this coming year to be bittersweet. While they are excited for their girl to spread her wings and fly, they hate the fact that she is flying away from home. It’s not too far away, but too far to see her every day, like they are used to doing. Nevertheless, she is going to have a great year. Jadyn is planning to study mechanical engineering, so she will have lots of studying to do, on top of her rodeo events…and of course, hopefully a few fun events too. Jadyn is a level-headed girl, so I know that her studies will be her top priority. Today is Jadyn’s 18th birthday. Happy birthday Jadyn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grandniece, Jadyn Mortensen is graduating from high school today, and I can’t believe that she could possibly be that grown up…except for the fact that I have watched her growing up these 18 years. I would like to say that there is one standout point of amazingness with Jadyn, but there just isn’t. Jadyn is a girl with many talents. If you put Jadyn on a horse, she will show you how to be the most amazing barrel racer I have ever seen. Ok, I could be biased, but she is really good, nevertheless. She is so good in fact, that the University of Wyoming saw her talent, and signed her to the rodeo team immediately…along with a full ride scholarship. The value of her talent has proven to be great.

Jadyn plans to study Mechanical Engineering. I wasn’t totally sure what that was, so I had to look it up. At first, I thought it was about building machines, and to a degree it is, but there is so much more to it than that. What I found was that “mechanical engineers are problem solvers who apply their skills to design, develop, build, and test all sorts of mechanical devices, tools, engines, and machines in just about every type of industry.” They are like the designers of the future!! A mechanical engineering student works with a team to develop “a wide range of products and systems including, transmissions, engine parts, aircraft engines, control systems, prosthetic devices, disk drives, printers, semiconductor tools, sensors, gas turbines, wind turbines, fuel cells, compressors, robots, machine tools, space shuttle vehicles, turbines, pumps, power plants, factories, and more.” When I look at the list of possible career options for a mechanical engineer…well, it’s endless!! To top it off, mechanical engineering is actually “ranked among the top 10 fields for employment nationally, and according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) engineers have a median annual wage of $91,010 (May 2019), and the engineering field projects to have employment growth of nearly 140,000 new jobs over the next decade.” Ok, I’m impressed. Like I said, Jadyn is a multi-talented girl, and it looks like her options are as big as her many talents.

Jadyn’s interest in machines, is not something she came by accidentally. Jadyn has grown up around boats, 4 wheelers, snowmobiles, and motorcycles too. In fact, she has mixed motorcycles with snow by adding skis to the motorcycle. She and her parents, Amanda Reed and Sean Mortensen love every kind of “toy” and they are talented on all of them. Jadyn and her dad have even filmed YouTube videos of themselves “struttin’ their stuff” on their toys. They are interesting to watch, and Jadyn and her dad love to tease each other while they ride. I think that really the hardest part about Jadyn going off to college is that she has been very close to her parents her whole life, and while UW is not so far away, it is far enough that her parents will definitely feel the empty nest she will be leaving them with. Today, Jadyn is graduating from high school. The world is waiting Jadyn!! I can’t wait to see where life takes you. Congratulations!! We love you!!

I first met my niece, Amanda Reed in 2002, when she was a 16-year-old girl with “stars in her eyes” as they say. Her dad, Mike Reed married my sister, Caryl that year, and they became a blended family. Life was mostly in her future then, because she was still in high school, but that was 20 years ago, and a lot has changed. Amanda went to work at the Rawlins National Bank at a young age and has worked her way up to the pretty prestigious position of BSA Agent, which is a part of the law enforcement area of the bank. She is involved in deterring fraud, money laundering, and such. I don’t claim to know all she does, but I know that it is an important part of the banking system.

Also, since high school, she and her partner, Sean Mortensen have a little family of their own, with their daughter Jadyn coming on the scene almost 18 years ago. They have done and exceptional job of raising their beautiful girl, who will be going to the University of Wyoming in the fall on a rodeo scholarship.

That said, Amanda and Sean are about to become empty nesters, and I just wonder how they will feel about that, because I have really never seen parents who have included their child in every aspect of their lives like these two have. Jadyn is a very well-adjusted kid, because of how her parents raised her, and she is someone they can both be very proud of. Now, with Jadyn off to college, life is about to take another turn for Amanda and Sean.

They have always been involved in whatever Jadyn is doing, and she was involved in their activities. From Summer sports to Winter sports and everything in between, this active family stayed very busy, and I’m sure that even with Jadyn away at college, that will not change. When they aren’t traveling to some of her rodeo events, I’m sure they will still be hanging out with their large group of friends at the lake or in the mountains, depending on their plans for the day and the season it is. Amanda and Sean have a very active social life, and they are always on the go. The only difference now will be that they will have one less person in their entourage, and while they are happy for their daughter, I’m sure Amanda and Sean are a little bit sad for themselves too. Being an empty nester is an adjustment, no matter how you slice it. Today is Amanda’s birthday. Happy birthday Amanda!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Lindsay Moore is married to Shannon Moore, who is the University of Wyoming’s assistant coach. He is also the tight ends coach, and helps with special teams. Basically, that makes Lindsay, the coach’s wife…something she has been all of their married life. Being the wife of a college football coach means that you are very likely to move around a bit. As better positions come up, coaches move into them. Shannon started out as the coach of the Wyoming Cavs, then went to South Dakota State University, then Miami International University, then to East Carolina University, and not to the University of Wyoming, which is also one of Lindsay’s Alma Maters. The last move was special for both of them, because it brought them closer to home and their families.

Still, Lindsay’s job didn’t change…at least not her job as the coach’s wife. When a man is a football coach, he becomes a father figure to his team, in many ways. That puts Lindsay then, as a mother figure, and it doesn’t matter how close in age the coach and his wife are to the ages of their players. Lots of these guys are far away from home, many for the first time in their lives, and it’s nice to have someone who makes them feel welcome and nurtured, like their parents once did. They are grown up men, but a little bit of parenting kindness never hurt anything. And the players always enjoy the social events thrown for them.

Lindsay has always been a very social person, so throwing team parties if something she take is stride, and since she never met anyone she didn’t like, he is a friend to all. Then there is Lindsay and Shannon’s daughter, Mackenzie, who is like the littlest team cheerleader…and of course, it is the job of the coach’s wife to make sure everyone…even the littlest cheerleader has their game face on. And in that respect, Lindsay has taught her little Mackenzie well. Being a coach’s wife is not an easy job, and I’m sure it is one I couldn’t do, because I am nowhere near as social as Lindsay is, but for her, other than her jobs as consultant, exercise instructor, and most importantly, mom…Lindsay is the best coach’s wife I can imagine. It’s right up her alley. And it’s gonna be a great year!! Today is Lindsay’s birthday. Happy birthday Lindsay!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My nephew, Shannon Moore has had an interesting year. Shannon had been the special teams coach for Eastern Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, but at the end of last year, he accepted a position at the University Of Wyoming as their new assistant coach. He is also their tight ends coach and helps with special teams too. The really cool thing about that is that it puts them back in Wyoming, which is where my niece and his wife, Lindsay Moore was born and when her family all live. My sister and brother-in-law, and Lindsay’s parents, Allyn and Chris Hadlock have really missed being able to be closer to Lindsay and Shannon, especially since their daughter, Mackenzie was born on September 13, 2017. They are a close-knit family, and it was hard not being able to get to know Mackenzie better. Nevertheless, it was the best thing for Shannon and his little family at the time. Shannon’s coaching jobs have taken the family to several places, and each move was to a better position, so that was wonderful.

Since becoming “Daddy” to Mackenzie, Shannon is a new man. His daughter is the apple of his eye, and the fulfillment of his dreams!! They have such a wonderful bond. Mackenzie loves her daddy so much. Shannon is a great dad, so patient and loving! He loves to dote on her and play with her! He doesn’t care if she wants to play girly games, he is all in, and Mackenzie is her daddy’s littlest…in size only…cheerleader. She goes with her mommy to every game they can, and she knows to drill, “Put on your game face!!” Mackenzie is all about her daddy! She calls him and screams with delight when he answers. She waits for him to come home from work and when he comes in the door, she repeatedly screams, “Daddy!” Shannon is on cloud nine every time he hears his girl calling to him.

Lindsay and Shannon are very athletic, being back in Wyoming gives them the opportunity to do some hiking and exploring of the area. Of course, other than his family, football is Shannon’s passion, and he is always ready for the next season to begin…whether its his team, or the pros, Shannon loves the game. In fact, had it not been for football, Lindsay and Shannon might not have met. It was at a Wyoming Cavalry indoor football game that they first laid eyes on each other, and the rest…as they say, is history. They were perfect for each other and everyone could see it…right from the start. Now, they have come full circle, landing back in Wyoming again…where it all started, and we are all very happy about that. Today is Shannon’s birthday, Happy birthday Shannon!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Young Dave ChaseAs a boy, my niece Toni’s husband, Dave and his brother, Dan were a mischievous pair. They liked to build forts with some big…12 x 6 x 6 inch, cardboard bricks they had, and then they would spend hours in there. It was sort of a boys only club, and an irritation to their sister, Jane, I’m sure. Jane tried repeatedly to get in on the fun, but every time she tried, they knocked all the blocks over on her. Poor Jane didn’t have a chance against those two boys. She was clearly out numbered, and would have to learn to get even or at least to laugh at being picked on, because she would be picked on by her brothers all of their childhood. They still speak, so I guess things worked out one way or the other, and my guess is that eventually the boys got over the whole girls have cooties thing, as well as the blocks thing and that settled it.

When Dave was 6, his dad was a soldier serving in Viet Nam. I’m sure it was a hard time on the entire family, and Dave decided to be a bit rebellious. I’m not sure what he said to his mom, but she decided that the best punishment was to wash his mouth out with soap. I have had that done to me, and believe me…it’s icky. Well, little, big boy, Dave at all of 6 years of age decide that he was not going to put up with this horrendous treatment…after all, with his dad gone, he was the man of the house…or at least one of them. His response was to Karate chop his mom!! It didn’t hurt of course, but his mom was too amused to punish him for the offending words or the chop. I’m sure Dave realized later in life, just how lucky he was that she found that funny, because the opposite could also have been the case, and then it might have been a mouth washing and a spanking. I guess he would have found out who was really in charge then!! And that he wasn’t quite the tough guy he thought he was.

Dave was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He came to the University of Wyoming to get his Toni and Daveengineering degree, and he continues to be a serious Wyoming Cowboys fan to this day. After college was over, he started working at the Bureau of Land Management, where he has worked for 30 years, and that’s where he met my Aunt Sandy. Now you might think that he then met Toni through Aunt Sandy, but you would be wrong. Dave and Toni were introduced by a mutual friend. They decided to go out, and he mentioned to some of the gals at work that he was going out with a friend’s friend named Toni. Aunt Sandy said my niece is named Toni, and showed Dave a picture of our “huge” family. Dave said, “That’s her!” The rest, as they say was history. Today is Dave’s birthday. Happy birthday Dave!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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