Choteau outfitter and rancher Danelle Crary receives the Outstanding 4-H Alumni Award at the Montana 4-H Congress in July in Bozeman.

During the final banquet at Montana 4-H Congress on the Montana State University campus in Bozeman, Danelle Crary of Choteau was recognized and received the Outstanding 4-H Alumni award.

She was accompanied to the event by her son, Connor Crary.

Danelle (Weist) Crary was involved in 4-H from a young age and excelled in her projects. She grew up on her family’s ranch with two sisters and a brother. She joined the Nimble Fingers 4-H Club and excelled in animal projects. As a junior member, she won grand championships in beef and horse showmanship and captured the round robin grand champion. She also won overall beef breeding, as well as best Hereford breeding. She continued these winning ways as a senior member, repeating as grand champion beef and horse showman and round robin during more than one year.

Crary also held offices in her 4-H club and was active in high school basketball, rodeo and pep club and was a member of the National Honor Society. She graduated from Montana State University and became a medical technician. She returned to Choteau and married Dusty Crary with whom she now operates their ranch and outfitting business west of Choteau along the Rocky Mountain Front. All three of their children have been involved in 4-H.

Crary has been involved in 4-H as an adult since 2004 as a club leader and volunteer. Since 2006, Crary has served on no fewer than three committees annually. She has been on the county record book committee for 15 years, showing true dedication to helping youth learn valuable life skills. She served on the textile committee for five years, has been on livestock committee for 12 years (holding numerous offices for multiple years including president and secretary), served on the horse committee for eight years and has served for six years on the county awards committee.

She also served on the 4-H audit and budget committee. She has been a co-leader for an organizational club at different points. She undertook these duties while raising her three children, assisting them with their numerous 4-H projects and helping run the family businesses.

Crary is a truly involved and active committee member. She attends meetings, serves in officer positions, takes on assignments and gets work done in order to help Teton County’s 4-H program “be the best it can be,” MSU Extension Agent Jane Wolery said, adding, “We can detail numerous positions and contributions made by Danelle, but the one word that comes to mind to describe her is glue. She is the glue that keeps so many of our programs together. I like to tell her she is an ‘honorary Extension agent’ because she works so diligently alongside us as we prepare for and run the fair.”

“She has seen us through many changes with staff and faculty,” Wolery said. “She knows which tasks need to be done and almost intuitively knows those our office team needs help to be able to complete. She has helped us get through a county fair without an agriculture agent and has assisted with the transition to four new agriculture agents in the time she has volunteered with Teton County 4-H.”

Wolery said, “Our office truly relies on her calm demeanor, her intense work ethic, her remarkable abilities for getting things done, her sense of fairness and her vision for the whole 4-H program. … Danelle does so much for our 4-H program, but she does so as quietly as possible, providing leadership, encouragement and support.”