GOSHEN COUNTY – The destiny of a person can sometime be seen through how they take on the tasks put into their life.
For Goshen County Commissioner Carl Rupp, the task was leadership. Starting at an early age, Carl had the favor of leadership as part of his life. He would say it was because of his larger size, but it may have been a higher power that knew he was a good and caring man.
Carl grew up in Huntley on a farm. He remembers coming home from school and going outside to play. At the age of 8 or 9 years old he would pretend to play a piano on the coffee table.
“My mom thought that my sister and I should take lessons here in town for 10 years,” Carl said. “We got to be pretty good. After each lesson, we would practice after school. Change our clothes, then practice. She had an egg timer and would turn it on for 40 minutes. We played until it dinged and we didn’t cheat.”
This was growing up and it felt as though he was always class president. In high school was student council president and captain of the football team.
Carl earned a football scholarship to the University of Wyoming. In his first year, he found the University experience to be more than he expected. It was a big change from 16 people in his high school class to 1,500 to 2,000 freshman at the university.
“After three weeks, I was injured playing football. I was hit in the kidney and ended up in the hospital. I was passing blood and after three days it stopped,” Carl told of his injury that set his brief stay at the University. “I still had not registered because I was too busy playing football. They told me ‘we don’t want you to play any more this year but maybe next fall you can play.’ They didn’t want me to get injured again.”
Carl was overwhelmed he was not in school, not able to play football and the weather changed, snowing over a foot and his roommate was from Detroit. So, he quit and, loading up his things, drove through the snow to get home.
He said the experience taught him a lesson in humility
“It was a good lesson. A really good lesson for me,” Carl said.
Coming back to Huntley and Torrington he was able to start late at the then-Goshen County Community College. This is where Carl met his wife to be, Marge. The were married the next year.
His grades improved and he was elected to the student senate and chairman. Carl was instrumental in the renaming of the college as Eastern Wyoming College.
“We were in charge of picking the mascot and the name of the school,” he said. “That was in 1966 -1967.”
Graduating, then moving back to Laramie to earn a degree in business. Carl had been part of ROTC, planning to go to the army after graduating college. This was his plan before he got married.
This was era of the Vietnam war. The military had changed, coming out with the lottery draft. Putting all the birth dates in a bucket and picking the dates one at a time. Carl felt he had a chance of not being picked – which he was not – and he had given up on volunteering.
Looking for a profession, his parents had told him not to become a farmer but he had grown up on a farm. Getting a job in a discount store in Laramie.
Moving back to Huntley, Carl started farming. In the first he didn’t make any money. They had planted potatoes and they had frozen in the ground. Out of 10 acres of potatoes Carl made maybe $100. It was then he started having second thoughts about being a farmer.
“You know how you change back and forth. So, I went to work at the Chevrolet dealership,” Carl said. “I worked there for a winter and decided that wasn’t my calling and went back to farming.”
Carl got involved in sugar beet organization, the church and all kind of boards until he had over done it. In 1981, the Rupp’s had their third child another little girl and continued farming. At that time, he started to serve on the EWC Board as a trustee, then served on the hospital board as an advisor for 12 years.
“I had one week a month packed with meetings,” he said. “This is the reason I think I shied away from being county commissioner, it took too long and the meeting were always in the day time.”
Life went on and Carl wrote songs for 12 years, invented microwave stands and arm wrestling machines. It was all good, the girls grew up and left the farm. They helped Carl farm, being 6 years apart he always had one of the girls to help him farm. When they moved away it became hard for him to grow the bigger crops. Planting different crops Carl found Alfalfa a crop he could farm by himself.
Selling the farm Carl and Marge found a house to buy in Torrington. That spring he was getting the tractors ready to sell when he went to get down and fell breaking his hip.
“Instead of turning around to go down the ladder I could just step down the ladder, well that didn’t work out,” he said. “I fell to the concrete floor in my shop. I checked my arms first. Yep this one works and this one then my legs no this one doesn’t work. Fortunately, I had my cell phone with me and called 911. The sheriff came first then the ambulance, I knew I was going to be alright.”
Going to Scottsbluff to have his hip repaired he still had equipment to sell and show the people who bought the farm how to irrigate. He was able to get everything finished with a walker and the help of a good friend. “I was retired,” he proclaimed. Playing cards with Marge enjoying life.
Then something happened with the county commissioners, Ross Newman resigned. Jim Hudelson and Robert Ward the remaining commissioners could not agree on the replacement.
Marge told Carl that he should try for the commissioners opening. With commissioners Hudleson and Ward unable to decide on a replacement District Court Judge Keith Kautz appointed Carl to the county commission replacing commissioner Newman.
Serving for two years as the replacement then another four years as an elected official and as the chairman of the commission.
Carl is not seeking re-election and is going to be replaced by Cody Cox. Beginning his full retirement.
One of the memorable cases that Carl is fond of is the Lone Tree Canyon problem a beautiful canyon on the way to Chugwater. The new guy moves in and the old guy has been there. The new guy doesn’t like what the old guy has been doing and the old doesn’t think the new guy should be there at all.
And it grew.
When the new guy came, the old guy, he wanted to protect his ground. When people came out the old guy would let them enjoy the area. The old guy treated it as his own before and in the winter the old guy would locket because his children had to go to school. “I volunteered for that one, they said they needed a viewer. Who would like to do that?” Carl recalled. “How much work could this be? So, I said yes, it turned into a two-year project. I had 1500 emails and signatures of people that didn’t want it to be a public road. It went on for a long long time.”
The family of the new guy and old guy came up with a solution. How to divide up some of their land because some of it was land locked. Jerry Hort came in and trimmed trees and put in a new road. Carl said, “Gary Coral who was the road supervisor at the time had two people on the crew who were married to the daughters of the old guy and didn’t want ruffle any feathers.”
After December 31st Carl will be retired sitting at the dining room table playing cards with his wife Marge or whoever will play. He will also make trip out to Lone Tree Canyon once in a while.