Meet the 2018 Ag of the Year; Cattleman of the Year and CattleWoman of the Year

July 19, 2018

2018 Agriculturalist, Cattleman and CattleWoman of the Year Named
San Luis Obispo County leaders are honored at festivities at the California Mid-State Fair


San Luis Obispo County, CA: The San Luis Obispo County agriculture community – farmers, cattle
ranchers and ag related businesses – has selected three outstanding farming and cattle ranching leaders to honor
for a their lifelong dedication to their heritage, livelihood, community and colleagues. They were recognized at the
Annual Cattlemen and Farmers Day Dinner ceremonies at the California Mid-State Fair, July 19, 2018.
The recipients for the 2018 awards are: Marilyn Britton, 2018 Agriculturalist of the Year; Kurt
Bollinger, 2018 Cattleman of the Year; Margaret Avila, 2018 CattleWoman of the Year.
The Cattlemen and Farmers Day is an annual event at the California Mid-State Fair featuring a
collaborative effort of organizations, families, and the entire agricultural community. It is centered around great
local BBQ by some of the best cooks in the region, if not the whole country. Kansas City Bar-B-Que and Texas
Barbecue have nothing on the BBQ that comes off the grills at the Mid-State Fair. Slabs of beef, grilled bread,
beans and salad - with a dinner finished off with spectacular cakes from the Madonna Inn are served up by
volunteers who know most of the attendees by name! Hundreds of people come for lunch and/or dinner to
socialize as they have for years, and to recognize those who are being honored for their tremendous contributions
to their organizations and fellow members.

San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau
Marilyn Britton
2018 Agriculturalist of the Year


The San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau, representing its some 1000 members, is proud to
recognize a steadfast Farm Bureau member, administrator, community leader, exceptional person, and a friend
to generations of farmers, ranchers and agriculturalists, as it honors Marilyn Britton with its 2018
Agriculturalist of the Year Award.


The Agriculturalist of the Year Award is given to a San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau member
who has worked for the betterment of agriculture as a whole; someone who has dedicated themselves to
outstanding service and devotion to the many fields and diverse commodities of agriculture, is highly regarded by
their peers and exemplifies qualities that deserve recognition. It was first awarded in 1988. As an administrator
and manager, Marilyn Britton set a benchmark for service; As a member, she set an example for others.


Marilyn Britton is a native of San Luis Obispo County. She was born in San Luis Obispo, in 1939, to Albert
and Nadine Martin. She graduated from Atascadero High School in 1957. She graduated from Cal Poly with a
Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics. It was at Cal Poly, in the Mustang Marching Band, where she
met Glenn Britton. They were married in June 1959. Glenn is from Willows, California. Glenn and Marilyn
made their home in San Luis Obispo County. Their children and grandchildren include: Patty and Tim
Robasciotti; Gary and Angie Britton, and their children Nate, Justin, Garrett and Grant; Geoff and Michelle
Britton, and their children, Geoff, Gerrod, Cali and Gabi. Marilyn and Glenn are also the proud greatgrandparents
of four wonderful great-grandchildren. Marilyn is also extremely proud that she has 4
grandchildren serving in the United States Air Force, United States Marine Corps, and the United States Coast
Guard.


Marilyn Britton has lived her life devoted to family and her extended family in agriculture. As a longtime
employee of the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau, she was the first to be titled Executive Director. Marilyn
has served on numerous committees, guided projects, participated in community events, and devoted countless
hours to the business of advocacy and support of our agricultural community. She is widely considered the “Mom
of San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau.” Her office was always open to people who needed help or information.
As an administrator and manager, Marilyn set a benchmark for service. As a member, she set an example for
others. She began her distinguished career of more than 30 years at the Farm Bureau when she was hired by
Leroy McChesney, a dairyman and a legendary leader of local Farm Bureau programs. She proved to be an
excellent and dedicated employee. Marilyn was later approved and promoted by the Farm Bureau Board of
Directors to become the Farm Bureau manager. Whether she was formally employed at the Farm Bureau or
serving as an active member, Marilyn has never turned away from an opportunity to support the people of
agriculture. The agricultural community as a whole is stronger because of her dedication and commitment.
Marilyn was not only a Farm Bureau member and manager, but also a member of California CattleWomen,
California Cattlemen’s Association, a member of Monday Rotary, Executive Director of the Grain Improvement
Association, Edna Farm Center, Farm Bureau Women, and a Director of Coast National Bank. She worked in
collaboration with others (including fellow Rotarian Jim Brabeck) to create iconic events and programs, including
the Rotary Rural Urban Dinner, which brought together agriculture and business to exchange information and
ideas.
As Executive Director, Marilyn set in place the operation and protocol of an ever growing local Farm
Bureau. She met challenges and changes as our region developed. She worked with members and directors on
important policy recommendations for the Farm Bureau; articulated the rural lifestyle and economic importance
of San Luis Obispo County crops; launched tours for the agricultural community to other parts of the state,
nation, and internationally. Marilyn, in turn, hosted tours from other countries to showcase our local agriculture.
Marilyn took an active role in the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce Agri-Business tours. She enthusiastically
participated in events that respected the community relationships in agriculture, including Cattlemen and
Farmers Day at the Mid-State Fair, and a host of other annual gatherings. Without her and Glenn, along with so
many other wonderful friends, an important part of any local event - “the Farm Bureau BBQ Trailer” would never
have been conceived or maintained.


Marilyn has been honored for her work by numerous entities and organizations over the course of her
career. Marilyn and Glenn were inducted in the California Mid-State Fair Hall of Fame in 2012. They shared a
San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau “Freddy of the Year Award” in 2002. Marilyn was recognized by the San
Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors upon her retirement in 2001 for her accomplishments and service;
recognized with a “Strength in Diversity Award” in 1992; and honored as a CattleWomen’s “Cowbelle Mom” in
2002. The awards joined numerous others that continue to have deep meaning for her.
Marilyn says her hometown of Atascadero was a great place to grow up, “It was a small and unique
town. It was very special because of the people and wonderful buildings of the early years. Many of the shop
owners were part of the E.G. Lewis movement to the area.”
A little known fact is that Marilyn didn’t grow up in agriculture. She credits many people for mentoring her.
It resulted in her learning a vast amount of knowledge about commodities, people, legislation and history.
Marilyn shared, “I lived in town. I credit Jo Ann Switzer for my love of agriculture, working together on many
projects, her knowledge of what makes things tick and working for agriculture’s betterment. She is the finest
example of an outstanding educator/ learn-by-doing, person. We love her.”
Her friendships, Farm Bureau relationships, and willingness to help are well known in this community,
regionally, and globally. While at Farm Bureau, Marilyn launched the previously mentioned tours for local
agriculture with a desire to share the bounty of the county. They were offered to members of the Farm Bureau,
Cattlemen, CattleWomen, Farm Centers and more. Marilyn says they were, “A great way to share information
with each other. As time went on there were more and more requests to learn about the incredible farming in
our midst! The tours blossomed into opportunities to see what was happening in our home area and beyond.
Ultimately, we began receiving requests for national and international Ag tours. It was a great way to meet
fellow farmers and ranchers throughout the world and to share our common connection for the love of the
land.”
Throughout her entire life, Marilyn has worked tirelessly with agriculturalists, earning trust and praise;
exemplifying the qualities of leadership, outstanding service and a continued commitment to the betterment of
agriculture and its people who farm, ranch and work in the industry, “I have always been so grateful for the
support of Ag organizations for working together to showcase our incredibly beautiful San Luis Obispo County
Agriculture.”

Because of her decades of outstanding dedication to agriculture and devotion to its people, the
San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau is honored to recognize Marilyn Britton as its 2018
Agriculturalist of the Year.
                                                                                 ###
San Luis Obispo County CattleWomen
Margaret Avila
2018 CattleWoman of the Year


Margaret Avila, a longtime and active CattleWoman, is being honored for her decades long dedication
and leadership in the understanding, promotion and protection of the Beef Industry, by the San Luis Obispo
County CattleWomen as its 2018 CattleWoman of the Year . “I’ve been very fortunate to live the life I
have. The CattleWomen’s and Cattlemen were a large part of Sam’s and my life. We contributed many years of
our life to the organization because we understood the importance they had on continuing the ranching
lifestyle.”
Margaret Avila is a California native, born in Paso Robles in 1932. Margaret’s mother, Marie Bordes,
accompanied by her Aunt and Uncle, came to this country from France, in 1901. They settled in Colusa, California
with Marie’s two brothers John and René. Marie Bordes married Joseph Labarere, who came at an early age to
the United States, in 1884. Joseph Labarere became a sheep herder, traveling from Reno, Nevada to Los Angeles
and made his way north to Bradley, California. He raised sheep and later became a cattle rancher.
Margaret tells of life growing up on the ranch with her mother, step-father and brothers, “My two late
brothers, John who lived to be 93, and Henry, who was in the Navy and died in January of 1946, and I were all
raised on the Labarere Ranch, originally known as the Alvarado Ranch. The Alvarado Ranch was purchased in
1899. As children, my brothers and I, learned to ride horseback, milk the cows and many other childhood
memories. In the summertime, we would walk down to the Salinas River, a place where we learned to swim.”
Margaret was educated at San Ardo grammar school, King City High School and Healds Business College in
San Francisco. After graduation, she began secretarial work at the Salinas Valley Fair - that’s where she met her
future husband, Sam Avila. They were married for 55 years. Sam passed away in 2005.
After they were married, Margaret and Sam started ranching at Salispuedas Ranch, which Margaret says
translates to “Get Out If You Can!” The Salispeudas Ranch and the Avilas have a substantial history. It was
owned by Sam Avila, Sr., whose father, Cipriano “Cip” Avila was a packer and guide. Cip’s father, Vincente Avila,
had explored the Lucia and Coast country and lands, settling at Salispuedas in 1864.
Margaret and Sam had their first three children there; Linda Padgett, the late Valarie Bassetti, and Joanne
Willis. Later on, they added to the family with four more children: Gary Avila, Vivienne DeVaul, Jeff Avila and
Sam Avila. By then they had moved to the San Ardo Ranch and, later to the Labarere Ranch, which is now
commonly known as the Avila Ranch. It is where Margaret lives today. The family now includes 18 grandchildren
and 15 great-grandchildren. The whole family was actively involved with both the Salinas Valley Fair and the Mid-
State Fair.

Margaret became a member of the Monterey County CattleWomen in 1965, where she served as President for
2 years; 2nd and 1st Vice President for a total of four years, and Director for many additional years. She has many
great memories of those years, “One of my fondest memories of that unit was advocating at the Cow Palace,
where Jae Eade and I, along with other Cowbelle members, spoke with 4th and 5th grade students and their
teachers from San Francisco about cattle ranching.”
Margaret joined the San Luis Obispo CattleWomen in 1987. She has been a director since 2014, and served
on numerous committees including: McLintock’s 4th grade field trips, Paso Robles 4th grade Field trips, SLO 4th
grade field trips, server at the Cattlemen and Farmers Day at the Mid-State Fair, Fashion Show at Madonna Inn
and Casino Night.
Margaret worked not only at the local level for CattleWomen, but also at the State level becoming the
California State CattleWomen’s President for 2 years, and 2nd and 1st Vice President for four years.
Margaret Avila embodies all that is admirable about the local cattle industry and its people. Margaret
says that, “My life with the CattleWomen has been a long and exciting time. I have visited each unit throughout
the state and met many wonderful people along the way, creating lifelong friendships.”
The ranches of California's Central Coast produce superior cattle. San Luis Obispo CattleWomen support
the local, state and national promotion through beef promotion and education.
Acknowledging her many accomplishments, friendship, dedication, and commitment to the cattle industry,
her fellow CattleWomen and Cattlemen and the entire community - it is clear why the San Luis Obispo
County CattleWomen have chosen Margaret Avila to be the 2018 CattleWoman of the Year.
                                                                    ###
San Luis Obispo County Cattlemen’s Association
Kurt Bollinger
2018 Cattleman of the Year

The San Luis Obispo County Cattlemen’s Association is proud to recognize Kurt Bollinger as its
2018 Cattleman of the Year. In doing so, the Cattlemen’s Association honors a longtime and very active
member of its Board of Directors, who is always giving back to his community and constantly striving to improve
his outstanding herd of cows.
Kurt Bollinger was born and raised in Paso Robles. He has made his home on the Ted and Nancie Dellaganna
homestead for the past 41 years. He entered the cattle business in 1985, when his mother-in-law passed away and
left one-third of the herd to Kurt and his wife, Georgia Dellaganna Bollinger. He bought his first Replacement
Heifer, which was a Limousine; the heifer’s first calf was a bull and this was the seed stock that started his cattle
herd. He grows oat, barley and alfalfa hay, as well as Giant Pumpkins and specialty ornamental pumpkins on his
ranch.
Kurt and, his wife Georgia Dellaganna Bollinger, have supported the Replacement Heifer Program at the
California Mid-State Fair for many years - by selling some of their top replacement heifers to exhibitors and, then,
always being ring-side to buy them back - thus improving their breeding program every year.
Kurt has been a very active Board Member of the San Luis Obispo County Cattlemen’s Association. He has
served on numerous water committees and attends water meetings on a monthly basis.
He could also be called Mr. Barbeque San Luis Obispo County-U.S.A., since he does countless BBQ’s
throughout the year for many charitable causes and organizations. Kurt organizes all the cooking of the meat at
the California Mid-State Fair’s Cattlemens and Farmers Day. While he doesn’t draw attention to the number of
hours he spends getting the BBQ’s set-up – it is a tremendous undertaking since hundreds of people attend
Cattlemen and Farmers Day each year – and it couldn’t be done without him. Kurt donates and delivers the oak
wood for the fires, hauling in the BBQ pits and he takes care of anything else that needs to be done in order for the
event to be successful. He also handles all three days of BBQing for the Western Art Show, and he is still smiling
on day three!
Kurt is very proud of his 45-plus years of employment with Miller Drilling Company. He appreciates the great
relationships that he has formed with customers and friends throughout the County. He began his career as a
Pump Man and moved up the ladder to become Manager and President of the company.
Always giving back to his community, Kurt has been recognized at Templeton High School as Athletic
Booster of the Year; received a Templeton FFA Honorary Chapter Farmer Degree and has been honored on two
separate occasions for Outstanding Service to the Templeton FFA.

Kurt and Georgia have two children, Marc who is always at the pits helping BBQ alongside his wife, Rachael;
and daughter, Lauri, and her husband, Andrew King, and their three children (Payton, Dalton and Logan, who
just completed his first year in 4-H.) Kurt’s Mother, Carolyn Dildine lives in Paso Robles.

Kurt is a member of San Luis Obispo County Cattlemen’s Association, the California Cattlemen’s Association
and the National Cattlemen’s Association, as well as the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau, the California
Farm Bureau Federation, and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Acknowledging and honoring his many accomplishments, dedication and commitment, the San Luis
Obispo County Cattlemen’s Association is proud to name Kurt Bollinger as its 2018 Cattleman of
the Year.
                                                                  ###
Official pictures by photographer Tom Meinhold.

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