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By Raiza Giorgi

Nicole Tomasini was surprised to hear her name announced as this year’s Cowbelle of the Year for the Santa Barbara County Cattlewomen.

“I had no clue that I was chosen, but I am so honored to be named Cowbelle of the Year as several of my other family members have been this as well. I love this lifestyle which not many get to do, and hope my daughter continues it as well,” Tomasini said.

The Santa Barbara County Cattlewomen are a chapter of the California Cattlewomen, which promotes beef and educates the public about it, from its nutritional benefits to the uses of its byproducts.

Tomasini was introduced to ranch life at an early age watching her father, uncle and grandparents work cattle on their ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley and family friends’ ranches in the county.

“I loved horses since I was young and I have loved being able to go out and gather cattle with my parents and family, and help out other ranches as a family,” she said.

Tomasini participates in every aspect of cattle ranching from sorting, gathering, vaccinating and branding. Although she has no cattle of her own, she is always willing to lend a hand. She works as a hairstylist at Secret Gardens Salon in Solvang and as an X-ray technician and surgical assistant at SYV Oral Surgery in Solvang.

She has been in the Cattlewomen’s group for several years and sits on the board as secretary.

“I help out where I can by fundraising and setting up for various functions from the Santa Barbara County Fair to our annual Cattlemen’s dinner,” Tomasini said.

The cattlewomen raise money throughout the year to be given to agricultural organizations that have a beef component, such as Future Farmers of America and 4-H. They also give scholarships for students to further their education in agriculture.

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