At last count, more than 80 people connected to the Blach family have attended Colorado State University since the 1940s. That’s quite a legacy and it speaks to the enduring value of the University, especially to those in the agriculture industry.
Karen (Lawrence) (B.S., ’80) and Randy (B.S., ’80) Blach are an integral part of that lineage. For more than 35 years, programs across campus – from the Alumni Association (where they are lifetime members) and Athletics to the College of Agricultural Sciences – have benefited from their stalwart commitment and passionate participation.
The couple met while attending CSU in the mid-1970s. Karen was born and raised in Julesburg, a small town in the northeast corner of Colorado. She visited CSU on a field trip arranged by a high school guidance counselor. “I fell in love with CSU. The minute I saw it I said, ‘This is it.’ I wanted to do something in education and child development and CSU had the Human Development and Family Studies program.”
Randy was born and raised on a ranch in Yuma, Colorado, and is one of nine children. His family’s relationship with CSU started in the 1920s with his grandfather, Ambrose Blach, who teamed up with the University (then Colorado A&M) to raise a hog named Long Sensation, that won grand champion at the International Livestock Show in Chicago in 1925. Randy’s father, Perry Blach, had attended CSU, so he continued the family tradition by following him and his older siblings to the University where he also became a Ram Handler and joined the livestock judging team.
After graduation, Karen went on to earn her master’s degree in education at the University of Northern Colorado and then began teaching elementary school, a role she held for more than 30 years, mostly in the Douglas County School District. Randy began working for CattleFax, a Denver-based company that is an industry leader in agriculture market research, analysis, and forecasting.
Although Randy’s original plan was to spend a couple of years learning about the cattle industry before returning to the family ranch, he loved the work and never left. The couple married in 1985 and had two children Ty (a professional baseball player currently with the Colorado Rockies) and Haylee (M.S., ’21), who played soccer for the Rams.
In 2001, Randy became the CEO of CattleFax and has had a front-row seat to a rapidly changing industry. “The sophistication of agriculture and the way we use so much more data in making good decisions and creating efficiencies has been incredible.”
“Today’s producers not only have to know their animals and crops,” he said, “but they’ve also had to become technology whizzes and be able to navigate global markets. I take my hat off to them and am proud to be in a business that helps make them more successful.”
In 1996, the Blach siblings and their families came together to create the Perry and Teresa Blach Scholarship in honor of their parents. Two years later, Randy was one of the founders of the Beef Club, whose members have since raised more than $1 million to support CSU scholarships and other programs in Athletics.
Over the years, the University has tapped into the couple’s dedication to all things green and gold (or more appropriately, alfalfa and pumpkin) by asking them to serve in numerous capacities. Randy is currently lending his expertise to the Ag Industry Leadership Council in the College of Agricultural Sciences.
Among numerous awards and recognition, this past August, Randy received the 2022 Certified Angus Beef Industry Achievement Award (watch the CAB’s video profile), and together the couple established the Randy and Karen Blach Agricultural scholarship. “We’ve been fortunate in our lives,” he said, “and this scholarship, as well as the one named for my parents, are opportunities for us to give back. There are so many people who can benefit from them.”
That is the Blach family’s tradition: taking pride in their community and giving back where they are able. It is how legacies are started and how future generations make them flourish.
To celebrate Ag Day, Karen and Randy – with the assistance of 25 family members – rang the Old Main Bell at the Smith Alumni Center on Saturday, Sept. 24, prior to CSU’s football game against Sacramento State University.
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When you join the Colorado State University Alumni Association, you become part of something bigger – a global community of green and gold that keeps alumni connected to the University and each other. Life members, Karen and Randy, are making an impact on current students and future Rams through scholarships; providing support for alumni programming, outreach, and engagement across the nation; and preserving time-honored traditions that bind us together as Rams. You can make a difference too, and gain access to benefits such as exclusive invites, bookstore savings, career services, and more.
Become a member today!