Alameda County CattleWomen's 2013 Cowbelle of the Year, Allison Batteate, is a 4th generation Alameda County native, born in Fremont, CA to Bernie and Marlene Leal. She grew up in Fremont as a free spirit who enjoyed helping her father on the family ranch. Allison was fascinated learning about ranching operations, such as how to build barbed wire fence and working cattle at roundups. Besides having a “really good time” in high school she was also on the swim team and ski club. After high school she attended Ohlone College where she majored in landscape/horticulture. In 1997 she married the love of her life, Abbie Batteate, and together they made their home at a ranch on Collier Canyon Road in Livermore where they operate a cow/calf operation with a flying A brand. Upon her marriage, Allison became another mother to Tami, Henry, and Brandon and now enjoys grandparenting four granddaughters.
Allison is enthusiastic and passionate about anything and everything she is involved in. She has been a member of Alameda County CattleWomen for 17 years. She has held the offices of president, vice president, director, treasurer, and parliamentarian and has also been the chairman and an active member of several committees. When she is involved on committees we know that we can depend on her to get the job done with a creative flair. Dave Stamey Concerts, CattleWomen Recipe Book, and Ag in the Classroom were some of the activities where her creativity was very visible. She also has a knack for creatively recruiting volunteers.
Besides CattleWomen, Allison has also volunteered with Livermore Junior Rodeo Association, worked as rodeo secretary for the Rowell Ranch Junior Rodeo, and was one of the founders of the California Cowboy Gathering that was held for a few years at the Rowell Ranch Rodeo grounds. She is currently on the advisory groups for Tri Valley Conservancy, East Alameda County Conservation Strategy, and Rowell Ranch Pro Rodeo, where she acts as recording secretary.
Allison has had some interesting jobs, such as a park ranger for the East Bay Regional Park District; making appearances with Smokey Bear as a volunteer with Cal Fire; and as ranger, gardener, and administrative clerk with the East Bay Municipal Utility District. Her current position at the Los Vaqueros Watershed for Contra Costa Water District has her wearing boots everyday just in case she runs into a rattler, which is a common occurrence this year.
Turning her hobbies into a business comes easily for Allison. Her Dutch oven cooking led to the Ranch Girls Cookin’ cookhouse that she operates at G&M Farm during the Halloween season. Her love of small animals has morphed into a vegetation management business, Batteate BabyDolls, where she uses Olde English Babydoll Southdown sheep to control weeds in the vineyards at Livermore wineries. Her yard is host to the many animals she uses for a petting zoo and the menagerie includes one brilliant pot belly pig named Lulu who is probably the only pig in the Livermore Valley that knows how to climb a ladder to slide down a slide.
Other hobbies of Allison's include fly fishing, glamping, and wine making. As a fly fisherman, she is a member of Sisters on the Fly (SOTF#940), which is famous for their glamping expeditions in vintage travel trailers where we are sure plenty of wine is consumed.
Debbie is interested in supporting the Beef Cattle industry as it’s sort of her birthright. Her Father was a local rancher Roland Reed and her Grandfather Hib Reed was a local businessman who ran five corporations. The corporations were significant to the local beef industry; he owned and operated West Coast Meat, West Coast Meat Packing, Reed’s Livestock, Reed’s Livestock Commission Company (also known as Reed’s Auction) and Rancho Steak Company.
Debbie and her brother grew up helping with the many chores on the ranches, especially during roundup time. It was expected of the grand kids to climb up on a horse and help gather and work the cattle. In high school she’d work at the family’s meat packing plant, boxing hamburger patties and steaks.
After high school Debbie met and married her life partner Mark Bradford, they lived in Hayward, Pleasanton and currently Livermore. They have three children, Jason Bradford, Amber Clark, and Katelyn Bradford. Two recent additions to the family are son-in-law T.J. Clark and Granddaughter Dusty. As a family they have developed Bradford Herefords and enjoyed their experiences raising and showing Hereford cattle throughout the state.
Early on in their marriage Debbie stayed home with the children, and that was very beneficial to the Alameda County CattleWomen in that Debbie was able to participate in the AG in Classroom. She has many great memories of going to the classrooms in Oakland and various other places, taking a cow so the students could have a first hand experience. She was a hostess at the National Beef Cook-off. She was chairman of the fair booth committee for five years, director several times, historian, and chairman of the social for five years. She has volunteered for multiple committees and currently serves as Director, Beef Ambassador Chair and Dinner Hostess. As the chair of the Beef Ambassador contest she has proudly stood by as two of her contestants won the California Beef Ambassador Contest and then went on to win the National Beef Ambassador Contest.
Debbie has had several jobs in her life, working at Denevi’s Camera, Capwell's Photography Studio, PARA Transit coordinator and driver for City of Pleasanton’s Senior Program, Director of Activities for Hayward Senior Center, and currently works at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the National Ignition Facility. And we can’t forget the she is a Pampered Chef Rep in her spare time.
But of all the Debbie does, she is most proud of her family and the life she has with them. She is also very proud of her contributions to the Alameda County Cattlewomen.
Debbie we want to thank you for your contributions for the last 33 years.
Merry Carter has been a member of the Alameda County CattleWomen (ACCW) for several years. She joined in the early 1980s and took a break for a few years after she had children. Merry and her husband Darrell have two daughters, Laina and Whitney.
Merry was born in Livermore, California at St. Paul’s hospital to Wayne and Merilyn (Tilli) Calhoun. Merry, her sisters, and cousins were all fortunate to spend much of their childhood on the family farm, which was located on Stanley Boulevard in Livermore. The children were allowed to run free on the many acres, through the barns and fields. Their grandparents, Dick and Ione Holm involved the children in many farming activities. When they moved to the Circle H Ranch on Mines Road, Merry, her cousins Wendy, Lori and Dave, and sister Nancy became their grandfather’s ranch hands and spent most of their days when they were not in school on horseback.
In high school, Merry became involved in FFA and raised sheep. The showing experience at the fair eventually led to her job at the livestock office at the Alameda County Fair. After high school she became active in the Young Farmers and Ranchers organization, and worked at the Alameda County Farm Bureau office. While active in the Young Farmers and Ranchers, Merry participated in the first and a few subsequent Farm Days in the City where farmers from Northern California brought truckloads of farm animals to display at the schools in San Francisco. It was also during these years that she first became involved with the ACCW, known as Cowbelles at that time. Merry, her sisters Nancy and Susie, friends and ACCW members Kim and Wanda Bonde, and Lynn Murray all played on the Cowbelles’ sponsored softball team.
Merry enjoys traveling, gardening, Dutch oven cooking, and entertaining with style. Merry picked up some of her cooking skills from her grandmother Ione and her creative entertaining skills from her aunt Patsy Neely, also an ACCW member. Along with her sisters, mother, aunt, and cousin, Merry is one of the authors of the popular "Holm Family Cookbook." They have traveled many miles appearing on television and radio shows and to many events to promote their cookbook. They also author a foodie blog.
Merry’s “town job” is a group leader and service desk manager at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Merry has always taken pride in her work with the CattleWomen. She has served as director, treasurer, secretary, and president. She has also chaired and co-chaired many committees. The Bunco fundraiser, Dutch oven gathering, and white elephant bingo are just a few of the popular events she has chaired. We would also like to commend her for the excellent job she did as our past president.
Congratulations to Merry “Lambie” Carter, Alameda County’s 2011 CattleWomen of the Year.
Barbara has been an active member of the Alameda County CattleWomen for nearly forty years. As a member of the Alameda County CattleWomen, Barbara has chaired and served on many committees, which include: Red Barn Cookhouse, Livermore Rodeo Family Night, food service for the Livermore Spring Stampede, Alameda County Fair fairbooth, and beef demonstrations.
Barbara was raised in Hayward, California in an area that was all ranching and farming at the time. While growing up she developed a passion for horses and received her first horse as a high school graduation gift. Barbara became active in “The Lariats” riding group and participated with the group in numerous parades during the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Barbara started working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in approximately 1956. She was one of the first women to work in the Health and Safety Department’s Dosimetry Group. She later went on to work for the Computation Directorate. After many years as a dedicated employee, Barbara retired from the Laboratory in October 1993. She continues to work there as a security escort for the Lab’s contract workers. Barbara also worked as the Alameda County Fair’s Agriculture Building Exhibits Coordinator for several years where she was innovative in establishing agricultural education booths.
Barbara’s two children, Sharon Smales and Mark Costella, expressed that she has taught them to have a great work ethic, to be good citizens, the importance of giving, and to love life. Barbara has a grandson, Mark, who raises pigs. She has always enjoyed watching Mark show his pigs. Barbara is the mother-in-law of Larry Smales.
Having taken hula lessons for 13 years and being an only child, our 2009 CattleWomen of the Year could aptly be named “Pineapple Princess”. In high school she was a cheerleader and song girl, and when joining ACCW in the early ‘90’s, Theresa Marie Waberski Railsback brought that enthusiasm with her. Her family was involved in agriculture and she joined ACCW for many reasons, but mainly because her favorite Aunt Bea was a past president and Cowbelle of the Year in Sonoma County. She also liked the idea that the CattleWomens’ mission is to promote beef and the agriculture lifestyle.
Theresa has been very active in ACCW and served on several committees and the board of directors as the Sunshine Director, Vice President, and the 2007-2008 President. She was instrumental in partnering with the Livermore Rodeo for the annual Family Night serving over 3,000 beef hot dogs, as well as with the NRCS and Farm Bureau for the successful “Out in the Open” Tri Valley Men in Agriculture calendar project, which proved to be good fundraisers for ACCW. She was chairman of our fair booth at the Alameda County Fair for years and our "Red Barn" food concessions at both Livermore and Rowell Ranch Rodeos. She was involved in the health and safety class and beef demonstrations at Costco. Theresa has organized our scrapbook, beef sampling at local wineries, dinners at the Cattlemen’s BBQ, and the beef carcass dinner.
Theresa attended grade school at St. Alfonso in San Leandro and graduated from Castro Valley High in 1975. She took dancing lessons for 13 years and can still fit into her cheerleading uniform today! Theresa’s parents are Bob Waberski and MaryAnn Gonsalves Waberski. She has a son, Brandon, who is now 22 years old. Theresa has been very active as a 4H and FFA parent and as a member of the Rowell Ranch Advisory Board. She enjoys snow skiing and camping with family and friends, and has a profound love of all animals. In celebration of her 50th birthday she went on the Mammoth Lakes Horse Drive, which was a weeklong horseback and camping trip guided by mule packer/dude wrangler/cowboy entertainer Dave Stamey. Theresa spent many years in the medical administration field before finding her niche in the agriculture department at Wente Vineyards.
Theresa is still an active member of ACCW. For the last several months she has been tirelessly providing in home care for her convalescing father, while continuing to take the time to assemble the ACCW scrapbook. We would like to congratulate and thank her again for being our 2009 CattleWomen of the Year and for all the hard work she has put into making ACCW a successful organization.
Left to right: Troy Railsback, Theresa Railsback, MaryAnn Waberski, and Brandon Batteate
Veda Mello, Alameda County's 2008 CattleWomen of the Year, grew up in Castro Valley and was active in 4H raising and showing sheep. She also showed beef, horses, and had cooking projects as well. She grew up on a sheep ranch before she saw the light and became involved in CattleWomen in the 70’s. Veda Margaret Souza Mello is a true volunteer has been flying under the radar for many, many years. She has served on the board as a director and was Secretary in 1985-1986. Veda also served as dinner meeting hostess and worked on the rummage sale at the Dania Hall.
When Alameda County had a much larger beef population, Veda was very involved in beef promotion and actively participated in the Alameda County CattleWomen sponsored Beef Field Day. Over the years she also helped at the Alameda County Fair's Jr. Livestock Auction, where she operated the buyers table and guided the bank runners. Those days were very long as the sale went well into the evening.
She has been a mainstay in the Alameda County CattleWomen's Red Barn, working continually since 1991 and for the past five years helping prepare and serve over 3,000 hot dogs at the Livermore Rodeo's Family Night. This year she brought her granddaughter, Kelsie along for reinforcement.
Veda’s parents were Manuel and Aldine Souza, and her fondest memories were of shearing sheep at the ranch in Crow Canyon and helping stuff the wool in the huge sacks to be sold to the wool buyers.
Veda graduated eighth grade in 1957 from Independent School and Hayward High in 1961. Veda has two grown children, Mike and Stacy, and three grandchildren Tommy, Kelsie, and Emily. You may remember seeing her smiling face when she worked at Livermore Optometry for 10 years before going to work at the Operating Engineers Local Credit Union where she started as a receptionist and moved on to become the branch area supervisor. She retired from the credit union after 18 years of dedicated employment.
After all of the years of involvement in CattleWomen, Veda continues to be an active volunteer in our unit and we thank her for that.
Photo on Left: 2008 California Cowbelles of the Year. Veda is first row, first chair.