"An opportunity for me to rejuvenate my Rotary spirit," -an RLI (Rotary Leadership Institute) graduate ....
Following a high-energy opening complete with song by Cheyenne Sunrise Rotary Club Past President Roxanne Ostlund, District Governor Julie Phares told the over 400 Rotarians assembled that, “You can tell it’s going to be a fun conference” (based on Ostlund’s vaudeville-like opening where she wore headdresses and at one point had a stuffed monkey for a companion).
Not many Rotary conferences can boast a state’s governor as opening speaker, but this one did.
Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead began by noting there had been nine inches of snow in the 
last few days in parts of the state where he was raised, near Jackson Hole in Western 
Wyoming. His Grandfather (former Wyoming Governor and U.S. Senator Cliff Hansen), 
a Rotarian, taught him about Rotary as Mead was growing up, including the fact it has 
spent multi-millions on the fight against polio worldwide, "a wonderful example of 
reaching out beyond your own community." He said he always felt so blessed that he 
had the opportunity to give back. “What you (as Rotarians) do for others to create a 
legacy is what matters,” Gov. Mead said, “and in your Rotary contributions you have 
given a gift that lives on.”
Tapping into the conference theme of “All Tracks Lead To Cheyenne,” Bob Bezek 
of Cheyenne, an amateur railroad historian, aptly described the importance of the 
railroads to Cheyenne, the State of Wyoming and the rest of the American West. 
He wove a riveting story of how the "Magic City of the Plains" rose from a barren prairie 
to a city of six thousand "almost overnight" in 1867 following the laying of the railroad 
through the area. One year later, he said, the Wyoming Territory would begin. 
RI Representative Subhash Kulkarni brought a welcome from RI President Ron Burton, 
saying "It's wonderful to be a Rotarian." One of Subhash's distinctions in Rotary is 
perfect attendance for 27 years.
The conference featured several breakout sessions, and one on Membership was led by 
DG Julie. She asked everyone to go back to their club and bring one person to the next 
district conference. “Give them reasons to come...to meet people, learn about Rotary, 
change lives, and more.” 
 Membership recruitment and retention is partly about being flexible, DG Julie 
said. "I did some real things wrong when I first started." She said she'd lay out a plan 
enthusiastically, then people would give pushback and she'd get discouraged. She 
learned to, instead of saying, "I'm the leader and this is the way we're going to do it," 
say; 'John, I hear what you're saying about this project, and I think that with a little 
flexibility we could get there."
 Other takeaways: Ask people for permission to hold them accountable when 
delegating tasks. Define clear expectations. Make sure the person knows exactly what's 
expected of them--how you're going to hold them accountable in their role.
 Another featured speaker, Cheyenne meteorologist Don Day, a member of the Rotary 
Club of Cheyenne, is heard several times a day on radio stations across the state. Two 
years ago, though, he was part of a team that pulled off what has been described as 
one of the most improbable events in the history of mankind--a space jump from the 
stratosphere--broadcast live around the world.
 Day and his wife are hot air balloon enthusiasts and pilots in addition to his being a 
meteorogogist, which led to his being picked as part of the “Red Bull Stratos” Space 
Jump of 2012. He was responsible for giving the green light (or red light in case of 
inclement weather) to the event.
 Day kept the convention audience mesmerized as he played and narrated a video of 
the jump of Felix Baumgartner, who was that day the only person who has ever broken 
the sound barrier without the aid of an aircraft...an amazing feat.
 While most people with cerebal palsy focus on survival, Jerry Traylor has climbed 
to the top of Pikes Peak numerous times, competed in more than thirty marathons, 
and jogged from San Francisco to New York City. He has spoken to over a million 
people about overcoming incredible odds, a message he shared with Rotarians in 
Cheyenne. "Some people don't know they were loved. All I had was physical difficulties," 
Traylor told the audience.
 "Don't worry about what you lack, use what you've got," Traylor urged 
Rotarians. "Ask; 'how can I contribute, right where I am." In college in Colorado, he said, 
he used to go skiing and invariably fell down because he had very short skis and braces 
on his arms and legs. "Winners get up--losers give up," Traylor said.
 He urged the audience to "use those gifts that you have." For a man who has 
overcome what would be to you and me unbelievable obstacles, a great message of 
 "When I decided to jog from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Brooklyn Bridge, guess 
what my friends said?" (some audience members said, 'you can't do that') Traylor 
said, "what my friends said was, 'how can I help?'
 “Through Rotary,” he said, “I have been forever blessed.”
 The conference also featured a “Beach Party” at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens 
Children’s Village and the concluding dinner, which saw DG Julie hand over the reins to 
incoming DG Phil Murphy of Fort Collins, who will host next year’s event.