Remembering Shelley with a story from a single mom she inspired

If you’re like me, you are probably thinking about Shelley more than usual this time of year.

Shortly before she passed away four years ago, Shelley reached out to me about funding a scholarship to the Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt. She wanted to use her gift to bring a single mom to the Hunt, an event that—as you know—she helped establish and was close to her heart.

Over the past four years, generous donors have helped grow that dream of hers from one hunter to one each year! Now I’m asking you to help us grow the future of Shelley’s scholarship.

The first of Shelley’s hunters was Havely Holt, a teacher and mom of three from Douglas. She was selected in 2017 to attend the Hunt on Shelley’s scholarship.

Havely didn’t think she could learn to hunt. She was unsure about expanding her outdoor comfort zone, which was limited to fishing.

Havely pushed through her doubt with inspiration from stories of Shelley (who she never had the chance to meet), her hunting partner and her guides. In the process, she discovered the true spirit of the Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt that October weekend.

Read the full story in her own words.

The positive experience at the Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt changed Havely’s life. Today, hunting and fishing has a deeper meaning beyond filling her freezer to feed her kids. She volunteers as a mentor and serves as a chapter president in Wyoming for the First Hunt Foundation. She is the first woman to serve in this position nationwide. She is part of the field staff for Sisterhood of the Outdoors where she mentors other women in hunting and fishing adventures. AND she has gone on to start her own fishing camp, which empowers even more women in the outdoors. She’s a confident and badass woman hunter who is paying her Shelley’s-scholarship-experience forward to others.

With your help, we will continue to grow Shelley’s Fund and its ability to bring single moms like Havely to the Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt in the future. Shelley thought big, commanded a presence, and didn’t settle for small potatoes. Let’s make her proud.

Havely’s guides for hunting AND storytelling about Shelley, Matt Bowers and Kellen Little, along with her hunt partner Marilyn Kite, documented the moment in the field after Havely’s harvest in 2017. Photo: Matt Wright

Will you be a part of the effort to bring more single moms to the Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt?

It’s simple: 1) Honor Shelley’s memory with a gift today; 2) share this story with those you know who knew her; and 3) ask them to give too.

Shelley’s presence and influence is strong and powerful, and she left an impression on every life she touched. Her reach was far and wide in Wyoming. Let’s keep up her energy and vision for empowering single moms to greater economic self-sufficiency through hunting.


Bekah Smith
Director, Wyoming Women’s Foundation