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Douglas Couple Arrested For Embezzling From Glendo Church They Pastored

in News/Crime

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A Douglas couple has been arrested and charged for allegedly embezzling more than $200,000 from a Glendo church in which they pastored.

Lynda and Martin “Marty” Roark both have been charged with misdemeanor and felony theft and each had preliminary hearings in Platte County Circuit Court on Tuesday, although it was not immediately clear if they submitted any plea.

According to the Platte County Record-Times, the couple was arrested as they arrived from a flight from Belize and then taken to the Colfax Detention Center in Denver. 

According to court documents, the Roarks made unauthorized purchases with the Circle G Cowboy Church accounts between August 2015 and January 2022.

Two church officials made Platte County authorities aware that the Roarks had been misusing the accounts. They and another witness provided verbal statements and financial documents showing the Roarks were using funds for personal use.

After officials began investigating all of the bank accounts, they found nearly $210,000 had been stolen or misused by the Roarks.

According to court documents, the Roarks used some of the money to fund “several” trips to Belize, which one church member confirmed were not for missionary purposes.

On Lynda Roark’s Facebook page, she describes herself as a “Jesus lovin’ Mama/Gigi who happens to be married to my very best friend! I love Belize!”

Additionally, some of the funds were used to purchase Wyoming Game and Fish Department hunting or fishing licenses and “large” cash withdrawals.

Each of the Roarks posted $5,000 bond at the end of April and have been free since.

The couple has also pastored at Crossroads Baptist Church in Douglas, but none of their charges were related to their involvement at that church.

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Third Season Of ‘Ultimate Cowboy Showdown’ Debuts Thursday In Douglas, Wyoming

in News

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

While the competitors in a television program showcasing cowboy skills and knowledge might technically be the focus of the series, this season’s location of Douglas will be the real star of the show.

The third season of the “Ultimate Cowboy Showdown” premiered Thursday night on INSP. The series features 14 male and female cowboys competing for a $50,000 herd of cattle, a belt buckle and a lifetime of bragging rights.

Craig Miller, INSP’s vice president of original programming, told Cowboy State Daily the show’s producers went looking for a shooting location that would fit with Western programming, which is why they chose the Powderhorn Ranch southewest of Douglas.

“INSP is the network for Westerns and Western-adjacent content, so we wanted to put our contestants in a setting where we could create scenes that looked as if they were filmed for a classic cowboy movie: big sky, unpredictable weather, rugged terrain,” he said. “Douglas has all the iconic Western imagery.”

“The Powderhorn Ranch provided a one-stop shop to film the competition,” Miller continued. “It had lots of land, a large indoor arena, barns, plenty of cattle and horses, and living quarters. We like to move the show to a new location every season but Wyoming will be tough to beat.”

The show is hosted by country singer Trace Adkins. Each week, competing cowboys and cowgirls take part in a challenge and are judged on their skills, knowledge, grit and enthusiasm. One by one, competitors will be eliminated until one is crowned the winner.

Despite being filmed in Wyoming, none of the cowboy competitors are from the state. The cowboys this season come from states including Colorado, Montana, Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi.

The show’s second season was filmed in Texas.

INSP was actually founded in 1978 at the PTL (Praise the Lord) Network by Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, but has gone through a series of name changes and rebrandings over the years. It now focuses on Western-themed programming, such as “Ultimate Cowboy Showdown,” “The Cowboy Way” and “Wild West Chronicles.”

The Powderhorn Ranch in Douglas is a fourth-generation ranching family that has a cow-calf operation, a quarter horse breeding program and regularly hosts guests.

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Converse County Residents Mourn Loss Of Beloved K-9 Officer Trigger

in News/dogs

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By Jennifer Kocher, Cowboy State Daily

There wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd Thursday when Converse County Sheriff’s K-9 Officer Trigger received his final call.

Residents from across the county, including dozens of children, stood with law enforcement officers as deputies carried the canine’s flag-draped casket out of the veterinarian’s office where Trigger had died from cancer.  

The beloved K-9 will be greatly missed, Cpl. Mark Dexter, Trigger’s handler, said Tuesday.

And the loss will be as keenly felt by Trigger’s law enforcement family as it will by members of the community who helped bring him to Douglas.

Trigger has been with the department since April 2014, after CCSO presented the idea of starting a K-9 unit. The department didn’t have funding for the program, Dexter said, so it reached out to the community for donations.

The response was overwhelming. 

“Within a couple weeks, we had way more than I ever needed for the canine program donated to us,” he said. “From parents that gave us their last $5 for the month all the way up to big businesses that donated thousands of dollars. It was pretty amazing.”

In total, he thinks somewhere around $50,000 was donated. Enough for Dexter, who was chosen by the department to be the handler for the new program, to bring an 18-month-old Belgian Malinois back to Douglas. 

It was local elementary school children who chose the name Trigger and they received frequent visits from the dog at school assemblies and community events throughout his career.

The community’s generosity didn’t end there. Over the last several years, the donations continued to pour in, from checks from residents and businesses made out to Trigger to free food, heavily discounted vet bills, grooming and more. 

He was definitely the community’s K-9, and with good reason. 

Trigger earned his keep. 

With an ability to detect up to five different drug odors, Trigger was dispatched anywhere from 100 to 150 times per year. 

Dexter has no idea how many pounds of drugs Trigger took off the streets during his career. He estimated Dexter was responsible for the seizure of $500,000 to $1 million worth of drugs each year.

“Not bad for one dog,” Dexter said.

The two spent a lot of time training, Dexter said, and were constant companions, with Trigger living with in the family’s heated garage.

Trigger wasn’t given treats or even allowed to come inside until the last weeks of his life this fall, when his cancer grew increasingly worse. That’s when all of the rules went out the door as Dexter’s wife Tanisha and children fed him plenty of dog snacks which, as it turned out, Trigger quite liked.

Along with his family and the community, the sheriff’s department is taking Trigger’s loss hard. He was like a partner, Dexter said. The pair spent a lot of time together, and Dexter said he shared a lot of secrets with his partner.

For now, Dexter is waiting until the new year before he starts looking around for a new K-9. He wants to take a little time to let everyone grieve and get through the holidays. 

“He was a good dog,” he said. 

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Country Singer Luke Combs And Conservationist Hunt In Douglas, Have Mini-Concert

in News/Good news

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Country singer Luke Combs and conservationist and TV personality Steven Rinella recently had a boys’ weekend in Wyoming, and there are pictures and video to prove it.

Earlier this month, Combs and Rinella went hunting near Douglas and managed to nab an antelope, according to Rinella’s Instagram account.

Rinella is the host of the television show “MeatEater,” a nonfiction hunting series that airs weekly on Netflix, but began life on the Sportsman Channel in 2012. It moved to the streaming service in 2018.

In the show, Rinella (and sometimes a guest who may or may not be famous) travel throughout the United States and all over the world on hunting trips. He discusses the importance of hunting and being a conservationist and shares some interesting ways to prepare and serve wildlife after the hunt.

“Got this nice buck in Wyoming while running around with @lukecombs,” Rinella’s post said. “We laughed our asses off and had some great stalks. He’s a damn fine gentleman.”

Combs responded in the comments, saying he had a “hell of a time” and thanked Rinella for the outing.

As a North Carolina native, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Combs is also an avid hunter. In addition to the hunt, the country singer also serenaded Rinella and others with an acoustic rendition of “This One’s For You.

Comments on Rinella’s photo and video with Combs had people questioning whether or not this was a part of a new “MeatEater” episode, but only time will tell.

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