To say that sheep have always come first in the life of the 2017 Colorado Wool Grower of the Year is not a stretch. When 72-year-old Connie Theos was born, her father didn't see her for 10 days because he was tending snowbound sheep. Her earliest memories are of perching on a corral fence to help watch over sheep. As a toddler, she was the one who tended to the weak lambs. As a young woman, she gave up on college because she missed sheep ranching. Having to cancel events throughout life, such as weddings and birthdays, because of sheep emergencies, has been a given.
Theos was named Wool Grower of the Year for her lifelong advocacy of the sheep ranching industry. She has done everything from lobby for better predator control and immigrant working regulations to preparing lamb kebobs for visitors to the annual Meeker Classic Sheepdog Championship Trials. She loves these woolly animals and the hard work of sheep ranching -- and, yes, the taste of roasted lamb -- that she plans to be buried on her sheep ranch because she can't imagine spending eternity anywhere but around sheep. She took time out of never ending chores to talk with Colorado Matters from her 4,000 acre spread outside Meeker.