Mary Otley of Diamond, Ore., was recognized as the Personality of the Year at the Red Angus National Convention in Reno, Nev., Nov. 1-2. Frank Wedel of Leoti, Kan., presented the award.
“Mary is one of the most intriguing people I have ever met,” said Wedel.
When Mary’s future husband Harry started courting the young schoolteacher, she had no idea what she was getting into. She wasn’t impressed the first time he showed her the ranch on the High Desert of Oregon, but she eventually grew to love it.
Now at age 90, Mary shows no signs of slowing down and is still active on the ranch, cutting all the hay crop with her swather and helping feed that hay during the winter months.
In her earlier years, women were not allowed to do manual labor, but hard times and a shortage of hired labor set the stage for Mary to be the ranch’s chief hay-cutter. Her swather now has a cab and air conditioning and she calls it her “Hilton.”
When their children were young, Mary coached volleyball and won a state championship. She also coached the cross-country team and began running with the girls. That led her to compete in marathons until the age of 51.
Mary has a zest for life that is unsurpassed by many. She loves to dance, enjoy a glass of good scotch and buy bulls. Wedel shared a story of coming in second to Mary at a bull sale ten years ago. She told Wedel, “I probably paid too much for the bull, but when you’re 80 years old, you just buy the bulls you want.”
Son Harry and daughter Sherry accompanied Mary when she accepted the award. “I am speechless,” she said. “This is probably the highlight of my life!”
“There is only one ‘Mary,’” concluded Wedel. “She is a treasure to all who know and love her, and a treasure to the Red Angus breed.”