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Rennels family named Larimer County Fair & Rodeo 'Family of the Year'

August 11, 2010
By Kellen Seitz

A long time Colorado family with close ties to Colorado State University was named the inaugural 2010 Larimer County Fair "Family of the Year" award winners. Director of Economic Development at CSU and former Larimer County Commissioner Kathay Rennels and her family are the "spittin" image of what encompasses a ranch family in Northern Colorado.

The Rennels family being recognized during the PRCA Rodeo at the Larimer County Fair on Aug. 8. Photo by Fred McClanahan, Jr.

Darrell Rennels’ family moved to Fort Collins around 1960 where Darrell attended Fort Collins High School. Kathay Rennels was raised on a ranch in Douglas County where she was part of the agricultural community and participated in 4-H as a child.  After they married, they moved to the family ranch in Livermore which was purchased in 1966 by Darrell’s parents, where the family started to make a name for themselves.

Most well known for her 11 years as Larimer County Commissioner, Kathay Rennels recently joined Colorado State University as the director of Economic Development, to optimize her network opportunities of statewide expertise into the university.

Promoters and educators

Kathay and Darrell Rennels who are actively involved in ranching, roping and raising livestock, have four children who inherited the ranching gene. The Rennels four children, Kammy, Mike, Kiersten and Dane also have a range of experience in ranching, agriculture, rodeo and 4-H programs.  But that’s not the whole reason why the Rennels were chosen to represent the first Larimer County Fair “Family of the Year” award.

Over the years the Rennels family has been a promoter and educator on all things “country”. Kathay served as a 4-H superintendent for 10 years and currently serves on the Colorado State Fair Board. She also served as the lead Commissioner for The Ranch Fairgrounds & Events Complex, where the LCF and many other high profile events are hosted year round.

Darrell Rennels was raised a rancher in Illinois farming and raising livestock. Then attending college at Colorado State University where he received his masters in agricultural business and participated on the CSU Rodeo Team. Darrell worked in supporting farming development for the Federal Land Bank (now Farm Credit) for many years and now is retired working as a contracted appraiser for Farm Credit. Darrell is still an active part of the rodeo community as a team roper, competing in many local, regional and national roping events year round.

Family of Colorado State alumni

Most of the Rennels children participated in the Livermore Wranglers 4-H club where their projects ranged from livestock, horses, art/crafts, baking and shooting sports. All of them attended Colorado State University, continuing their education in business, agriculture, art, and journalism.

Kammy and her family are currently living in northeastern Colorado on a farm producing hay and livestock and raising another bunch of “ranchin kids.” Mike is now living on a ranch with his wife and three boys where they have the room to enjoy their dogs and horses. Kiersten is married and lives in Windsor, Colo. Dane is currently attending Colorado State University and competing with his father in team roping events.

 “We are completely humbled and thrilled by this award. We feel that we represent many of the 4-H and Rodeo families that have put in the time and effort to make Larimer County Fair and Rodeo what it is today.” says Kathay Rennels, director of CSU Office of Economic Development.

“This is a great opportunity to showcase agricultural family history and where we are headed in the future.” In speaking with Kiersten as a representative for all the Rennels children she said, “Regardless of where you come from the idea of working hard to provide for you and your family should be valued. That is what we all learned growing up in our family. Agricultural communities and families support and help each other as second nature.”

More than 40 years of ranching and farming

The LCF Family of the Year award takes much more than just one family member to earn and the Rennels family is a prime example of this. The more than 40 years of ranching, farming, and agriculture background has lead the Rennels family to this coveted award. The Rennels and many other agricultural families are what support and help Larimer County continue to grow with such great success. 

The Larimer County Fair Family of the Year award was presented on Sunday, Aug. 8 during the opening night of the PRCA Rodeo at the Larimer County Fair.