On Friday, May 12, Dean Gorsuch was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award for Eastern Wyoming College. Gorsuch, who first attended EWC in 1998, was unanimously selected by the EWC Foundation for his character, award winning rodeo career, and embodiment of the spirit of EWC. Gorsuch’s story and rise from humble beginnings to being crowned a two-time world champion provides a glimpse of what is possible when a person pursues their passion with relentless force.
After completing a certificate in Welding and Joining Technology from EWC, Gorsuch spent five years as a pipeline welder where he honed his skills and perfected his craft. Gorsuch credits his quality education at EWC with helping him secure a coveted welding position. However, as Gorsuch continued to have success on the NFR circuit he left his welding career behind and pursued his childhood dream of becoming a world champion steer wrestler. Gorsuch attributes a major part of his success to his lovely wife Bekah. “Bekah is the best partner you could ask for. Without her none of it would have been possible, she kept it all going; it was her dream too.” Gorsuch has been married to Bekah for 17 years and they have three strapping young boys Taydon 12, Trell 8, and Teagan 4. Gorsuch credits his wife and family with always keeping him grounded and counts them as his most important achievement.
When Gorsuch reflects back on his time at EWC, there are three instructors that made a lasting impression in his life (Leland Vetter, Stan Nicolls, and Jake Clark). When mentioning Leland Vetter’s name, Gorsuch flashes his famous smile “Leland not only wanted you to be a good welder but to be accountable in life for your actions. He taught us about hard work and what it means to have true work ethic.” Work ethic is something Gorsuch knows firsthand; in fall 2016, he was added to the ranks of welding faculty at EWC. Upon being offered the position he promptly called Leland Vetter who retired from EWC in 2014 after 34 years and in classic Vetter style, the long-time welding instructor offered the following advice “get to know the students and get to know the families, it makes all the difference.”
Gorsuch has been busy putting Vetter’s advice into action and it’s evident when asking him about his current job. “I just love this place. At other schools it’s easy for students to get lost; here at EWC, we get to know you, care about you, and put our hearts into ensuring your success.” Additional success for Gorsuch happened on May 12th 2017, when he earned his Associates of Applied Science degree from EWC. Gorsuch knows all too well the importance of education and shares his insight with current students routinely “life is never going to be easier than it is right now; it’s important to earn your degree, while you have your whole life in front of you.”
When asking Gorsuch about other instructors who made a difference in his life, he is quick to mention Stan Nicolls. “Stan is a teacher who cares about each of his students; he gets to know them, and holds them to a high standard of quality.” Additionally, one of the things that Gorsuch appreciates most about EWC, is the quality of welding faculty that he works with. Joel Allworth has been his mentor this year and is always ready with input and guidance along with Lynn Bedient who is an accomplished instructor with vast industry experience.
In asking Gorsuch about success, his stories center around not the accomplishments, but the people who have impacted his life. One such person is EWC’s Rodeo Coach, Jake Clark. Gorsuch states “Jake really made EWC feel like a family. He’s a competitor, and he helped me get my start.” Over the years Clark and Gorsuch have maintained a friendship and it illustrates the bonds that EWC rodeo brings forth. Clark is famous for his two mantras “win something every day” and “Lancer for Life.”
Gorsuch concluded his Distinguished Alumni interview by reflecting about what it means to be an instructor at EWC. “It’s a dream come true to have the opportunity to teach here and be a part of this team. It’s one of the most important accomplishments in my life.” For Gorsuch his faith, love of family, the NFR, and EWC are what add value to his life.