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Rocky Lee Kuhn
February 14, 1957 - July 11, 2011
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First posted Mar 25, 2012
Last update Jan 20, 2020

Rocky died from cancer on July 11, 2011

Rocky was a member of ASGRA and MGRA

Rocky Kuhn

February 14, 1957 - July 11, 2011

From Camp Magazine's MGRA, 2009 Rodeo Program

His life blends rodeo, ranching and a graphics business.
By John Long

This (2009) is Rocky Kuhn's 15th year competing in rodeos. He started in 1994 in the Atlantic States Gay Rodeo Association (ASGRA) when he lived in Washington, D.C. and he was Mr. ASGRA in 1995.

"I guess I just - heard about it because D.C. was going to have their first rodeo and I went to it and said this is something I absolutely have to do," Kuhn said. "So I went back to North Dakota and with the help of my brother, I found a horse and a pickup and a horse trailer and hauled it all back to D.C., and from then on I was Hooked."

Kuhn, 52, grew up on a ranch in North Dakota and his family is still there. While in Washington, he worked in government for 14 years.

"When I moved to the city, I eventually got sick of it," Kuhn said. "- I wanted to have a horse and I wanted to be able to walk outside my door and give my horse a sugar cube if I wanted to, rather than having to drive 45 minutes to where he was stabled. So I quit my job in D.C., and I spent two years looking for a ranch and ended up in northwest Missouri."

Kuhn now lives in Ash Grove, Mo., with his partner of five years, Kelly Smith. They met at the Detroit Gay Rodeo. Kuhn has been a member of MGRA since 1996.

"I have three horses, my partner has one, so we have four between us at the moment. We've had more than that, up to six or seven, but right now we're sitting on four," he said with a laugh. Both partners compete in the rodeos, and Kuhn says they usually take just two horses.

Kuhn said that both he and Smith have opened their own businesses in Ash Grove, a town of about 1,200 people.

"They're about, oh three months old, not even," Kuhn said.

Smith opened a hair salon called Hair It Is, and Kuhn opened a graphics business called Heart Rock Graphics. He said that his business creates signs and banners, and does screen printing, engraving, plaques and trophies.

"We're both very busy, and it looks very promising for our businesses," he said.

Being gay in a small town has not been an issue, according to Kuhn. "So far we have had no problem and seem to have been accepted by a large chunk of the community and the other chunk of the community I don't even know. So far it's been very nice."

Kuhn said they live on "only 10 acres." For 12 years, he owned and lived on a cattle ranch in northwest Missouri that had nearly 700 acres and about 250 cows.

"I actually retired when I sold my ranch. I was basically retired for two years, but I found it a little bit boring and I wanted something to do, so that's why I opened up my graphics business," he said.

After moving around the country, he says he is now very content in their home and business. Their life also includes their pets.

"We have two dogs, Jack and Cinder, and we take them with us to the rodeos all the time. - They are very good travelers and good rodeo dogs. They stay in our trailer and ride in the pickup and they're always with us."

Kuhn has participated in most rodeo events during his career, except bull riding and bronc riding. Lately, he hasn't done steer riding either.

"I do the horse events, all the camp events, all the roping events, plus chute dogging," he said.

When asked how many buckles he's won over the years, he said, "I don't even know how to guess." He said it was more than a few dozen and may even closer to 100, although he didn't want to admit to that many.

He and Smith went to the Fort Worth rodeo but only competed in one event because he was recovering after a recent hospitalization. "We went to Oklahoma City, Little Rock and Chicago. We always go together," he said.

Like many other IGRA rodeo participants, he also occasionally competes in traditional or non-gay rodeos. "I do barrel racing and pole bending in local associations, but I don't do full rodeo stuff."

"The camaraderie at the gay rodeos allows you to be yourself and do what you like to do," he said.

Some rodeos, he said, may be more competitive than others - especially the bigger rodeos - but generally they're also a lot of fun.

"You want to have fun and you want to win. For one thing, it's quite expensive, and if you don't win you basically pay for everything out of your pocket and it gets expensive, especially if you're hauling horses across the country and paying for fuel."

"Take Chicago, for example. I probably either won the most money or second most money there and yet I still did not cover my expenses. Even if you win a lot, it doesn't mean you come out on top. Sometimes you do, but most of the time you don't, I would say. And so the rest is of the price you're paying is for the fun."

Like other rodeo competitors, he's had his share of injuries. "I broke my collarbone chute-dogging about three years ago, I guess, and I've had a major tendon pull in my groin from steer riding that has lasted for about a year. There are certainly a lot of people who have had worse injuries," he said.

Kuhn said the he and his partner prefer to ride quarter horses in the rodeos.

"Those are rodeo horses. There are also quite a few paints, which are a different breed, but they're pretty much a spotted quarter horse if you ask me," he said with a laugh.

He and Smith have an arena on the ranch where they practice their barrels and poles when it's not too muddy, he said.

At the rodeos, Kuhn said, "I think I like the horse events the best. I really like having a partner that also rodeos so that we can do it together. I think that's pretty important. And I enjoy winning. But I also enjoy getting together with rodeo friends that we rarely see except for rodeos. They are a very good group of people>"

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From the April, 1995 ASGRA, Thirteen Spurs newsletter

Heart Rock Ranch, "Hit the Trail"
By Rocky Kuhn, Mr. ASGRA 1995

As many of you have heard by now, I am leaving the D.C. area to pursue my long-held dream of owning and operating a ranch. After searching for two and a half years, looking at about 50 ranches/farms in seven states, and running innumerable operational options on a computer, I am purchasing 550 acres in two tracts in Northwest Missouri. The arrival date is April 1. (The significance of that date just occurred to me)

A former Ms. ASGRA - JoAnn - suggested that I write a monthly column for "Thirteen Spurs". The Board of Directors concurred so here is the kickoff piece. Through it I hope to give you a view of the trials, tribulations, and rewards of starting a ranch and bringing it to a successful operation. So watch this space for monthly updates.

Heart Rock Ranch is located on the backside of no where, as they say. The mailing address is Martinsville (population 44). Bethany (population 3,095) is about 12 miles away and Kansas City (population 448,028) is a very derivable 100 miles, thank God. The land is rolling, with plenty of trees, several ponds, and a couple of running (at least right now) streams. The headquarters rests a quarter mile off the pavement at the end of a gravel road.

My plan is to have a beef cow-calf operation of between 300 and 400 head eventually. It sounds a little ambitious, and a little daunting, but one has to have the numbers in order to have any money left over at the end of the year. The first task, however, is to seed the crop land to grass since I intend to have a true ranch with no crops, other than hay. Then the fences have to be fixed in order to contain the cows that I will purchase as soon as possible.

But what about the gay rodeo circuit? Let me assure you, I plan to participate as much as ever. Truth to tell, it was having a horse that helped push me to make the move. I detested not being able to walk out of my house every morning and give Dude a carrot or sugar cube or just a pat. I will still participate in Division IV rodeos and represent our association as Mr. ASGRA. As it turns out, the rodeo road trips for three of the divisional rodeos (Chicago, Minneapolis, and Detroit) are actually closer to Hart Rock Ranch than they are to D.C. Of course, I will do my utmost to be here for Atlantic Stampede '95. The Atlanta rodeo is the most iffy due to the distance, the closeness in time, and the amount of work involved in getting the ranch up and operating.

Several other rodeos (Kansas City, Wichita, Oklahoma City, Denver, and Colorado Springs) are easily reached from Missouri, so if all goes according to plan, I will get even more rodeos under my belt buckle than previously. I look forward to seeing you all at the rodeos since our paths may not cross otherwise. But let me plant a little seed. How about a big ASGRA get together immediatly before or after, say, the Kansas City rodeo? Bring your trucks, trailers, and tents. I'll organize a little real ranch experience for everyone.

Heart Rock Ranch currently has no riding arena. But the poles, barrels and flags just can't wait for a home. While it can't be the top priority, and arena will come soon and as the dream goes, there will be roping stock ready at a moment's notice. I would love to host any rodeo folks when you're in the area for a quick workout.

Speaking of Dude, he and I traveled out last week so his moving trauma is over. He is staying at a boarding place until I arrive permanently. For you horse people, let me caution you not to take your health certificates for granted. Because of the hassles of moving and the myriad details, I waited until the day before we were to leave to have the vet issue a certificate. As it turned out, Dude had some kind of skin problem and was loosing patches of hair. Since they wern't sure what it was, they would not issue a certificate until after they grew a culture. That postponed the trip for two days. It turns out the problem was nothing serious and is now clearing up with simple treatment.

Rocky Kuhn
Heart Rock Ranch, Route 1, Box 198, Martinsville, MO 64467.

Next month, First Impressions

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From the June, 1995 ASGRA newsletter

Heart Rock Ranch, "First Impressions"
By Rocky Kuhn, Mr. ASGRA 1995

Today marks thee weeks that I've been here on the ranch. To sum it up briefly, I LOVE IT. I make my own schedule, never wear a tie, and each day brings something new. But of course, like any new business, starting a new life is not without its travails. Here are a few of my first impressions.

The weather is a huge factor. Seems there is quite a bit of rain here, in northwest Missouri, so it has been impossible to plant any grass, next to impossible to get into the pastures and fields to fix fences, and even horseback riding has been difficult. Although Dude and I were out checking fences about a week ago and he over reached BIG TIME, and cut his foreleg BIG TIME, and has been BIG TIME lame ever since. Finally he is getting better. As a result, he is not in rodeo shape, and because of that, we did not make the Atlanta trip. I'm sure ASGRA was well represented and I was rooting for you all.

Almost every telephone call out here is long distance. Get this, the nearest town with any store (hardware, service station, cage) is only five miles away, but the call is long distance.

The biggest pest so far-ticks. They are multitudinous and everywhere. Dude's maine and forehead are full of them. I pick numerous ticks off Dakota's whole body every night. As for me, I've spent several sleepless nights because I feel one crawling on me and pick it off. This could happen four of five times a night. Then I start imagining them where they ARE NOT. I thought tick season was just in spring, but the gas man informed me that they'll be around all summer. And there is a foreshadowing of other pests. Every nook and cranny in every building has old hornet and wasp nests. I wonder what their season is.

Fast food is a luxury. If I don't plan my meals, I don't eat. There's no ordering pizza or Chinese food for delivery. There's no running to the grocery store on a moment's notice. And there's very little driving 13 miles to a restaurant just because the fridge is bare.

A stray dog found his way to Hart Rock Ranch. I thought it was temporary because Dakota was in heat. I chased him away for several days, but he persisted. He's nothing but skin and bones. But he has a collar so I figured he belonged to someone. I knew if I fed him, he'd be mine. I tried to be tough, but after talking to a friend in D.C. who couldn't believe his ears, I broke down and started feeding him. Now I know he's mine and just yesterday I started calling him Roscoe (I have no idea why).

Speaking of animals, the cat I inherited (Milo) had kittens one week after I was here. She whelped five in the house, but is nursing four in the garage. The only one that was a different color did not survive.

Heart Rock Ranch has no cattle yet. Since the weather hasn't cooperated, the fences aren't secure, and since I don't have all the necessary equipment, no purchases have been made. But the time is coming soon.

As for wildlife, I can confirm so far that Hart Rock Ranch is home to wild turkeys, pheasants, rabbits, and squirrels. Surely there are deer, racoons, and others. I hear the coyotes singing every night, but have yet to see them.

Well rodeo partners, that's it for now. Here's hoping you all do well at future rodeos. I'll look forward to hearing.

Next month, Getting Stated

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From the July, 1995 ASGRA newsletter

Heart Rock Ranch, "Getting Started"
By Rocky Kuhn, Mr. ASGRA 1995

Since the last article so much has happened that I couldn't possibly get it all into one article.

I have made my cattle purchases - at least all I will purchase until this Fall. I began with thirteen calf heifers (the significance of the number didn't dawn on me). Ten were still to calve this Spring; the other three had their calves, so I bought them as pairs. They're all black angus or angus crosses. Finally, the first baby came - a black heifer who I named JoJo. That was a big day for Heart Rock Ranch. In the meantime, I purchased twenty two pairs of older cows. They are all black or black-white faced with the exception of one red angus. I named her Annette (what is her hair color these days?!) but she is so contrary I may need to sell her.

Anyway, at least I thought they were twenty two pairs. The morning after they were delivered, one turned out not to be a pair. I separated them in a small pen to see if they would pair-up. The cow first went over the corral and when I remedied that with tall panels, she went under the panels and jumped the fence into the neighbor's hay field! Eventually, Doug and I got her back and we shipped her (and her supposed baby) off for a refund.

The other twenty one were all pairs but in the midst of the terrible rainy weather and due to having bought them through a sales yard where disease is prevalent, most of the calves got sick. For weeks I was constantly treating calves for scours and pneumonia. We roped some on foot, some on horseback, tackled some, and chased some into the barn to treat them. One time, I went out at night with a flashlight and snuck-up on the unsuspecting patients!

One of the calves was like a dishrag one morning so Dude and I took her to the vet. She stayed five days but eventually died. By the time it was all over, which is just now, I lost seven calves - pretty depressing. There is a story on each one but I won't dwell on the subject. I'm looking forward to better conditions, better luck, and more experience next year.

Dude (my horse for those of you who don't know), is still quite lame. Two vets have looked at him and they're at a loss as to why he isn't healing. I definitely want to attend the St. Paul rodeo but if I don't have a horse, it just won't be the same.

Next time: Runaway yearlings, rampaging bull and the saddest day on Heart Rock Ranch.

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From the September, 1995 ASGRA newsletter

Heart Rock Ranch, "Lessons Learned"
By Rocky Kuhn, Mr. ASGRA 1995

The last article promised you tales of a runaway yearlings, a rampaging bull, and the saddest day on Heart Rock Ranch. Since I didn't want to buy any more cow / calf pairs through the sale barn (high risk of sickness) and since it was too late in the year to get pregnant cows, I set out to purchase yearlings. In fact, I bought 106 head and turned them out to pasture. As it turned out, a lot of heifers has not been previously weaned so they went looking for their mothers. Two went through the fence - open headed north, the other south.

I happened upon the southern one on my way to get to the other yearling. I chased her into a neighbor's pasture and thought she's stay with his cattle. That night he and I went to check on her and she was no where to be seen. He spotted the next morning a couple of miles down the road and suggested I call another neighbor who has a national high school finals roping son. The son was unavailable but the Dad was willing. The heifer was six miles from home; he roped her, we dragged her into the trailer; I got stuck with the trailer and pickup; he road off to get a neighbor's tractor; and we eventually got the heifer home. The northern heifer was spotted in another neighbor's pasture. He and his son brought her in with their cows.

There are two morals to the story: 1) lock your yearlings in a corral for a couple of days until they settle down, and 2) having cattle get out is a very quick way to meet neighbors.

By June 1st, it was time for breeding so I purchased a 22 month old registered angus bull. He was a little ornery in the corral and bumped his nose hard enough to draw blood. When we got home and unloaded him in the pasture with the cows, he came out of the trailer like a bullet and immediately turned around to see who he could get. I was the closest so he came on and I scurried back into the pickup. Not caring about the cows, he ran out of the pasture and down the road. I headed after him with the pickup and trailer and go tin front of him to turn him around. He stopped but wouldn't turn so I got out to chase him and he again charged me: the first time I ran back to the pickup, the second time I got inside!

My brother and I got Doug's horses but the bull would not move for anything. He would charge the horse but that was it. We then got the tractor; he would move for that, but not in the right direction. We roped him but he tore the rope. We put cows in with him, but he wouldn't stay with them. The next day I called the roping neighbors again and the two sons came that evening to chase him home. Hah! After sizing-up the bull and the situation, they went home for reinforcements. Three ropers came back with three good horses. With three ropes on him, the bull finally hit the ground and we were able to drag him into the trailer. The bull spent the night on the trailer and I took him back to the owner. He felt so bad that he gave me tother bulls for the price of one (although one will be returned when breeding season is over). Moral of the story: don't get and unruly bull.

Now for the saddest day on Heart Rock Ranch. One morning I was checking the cows with the tractor since I was out digging post holes. Dakota was with me and a cow went after her. She ran to me for protection and ran right under the rear tractor wheel. Miraculously, she was still able to run in circles. I rushed her to the vet and he said to let her stabilize for a few days to see what happens. She had a huge lump on her side but didn't seem to have any broken bones. To make this long story short, she had her first surgery to sew-up her abdominal cavity since the insides were hanging out subcutaneously. As a result, she couldn't breathe well, would not lie down and would fall asleep on her feet. Her second surgery sewed up a diaphragmatic hernia and peeled her liver away from her heart where it wa attaching. Six weeks later, she seems to be on the mend to a perfect recovery and is returning to here energetic self. No moral here.

I really miss Dude - I needed him desperately for all three of these episodes. He went to see his third vet; this time x-rays were taken of his leg. The diagnosis: a clean cannon bone, no spurs or foreign matter; basically he's over it and will heal now that he abscessed out the front of the rear injury. The prognosis: healing will take up to a year. He'll never be 100% on that leg; no riding for a ling time. The solution: I bought another horse who knows nothing about rodeo events. I will work on him during the two weeks prior to the St. Paul rodeo and plan to take him. By the time you read this the rodeo will be history and proof will be in the pudding.

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From the October, 1995 ASGRA newsletter

Heart Rock Ranch, "The Positive "
By Rocky Kuhn, Mr. ASGRA 1995

I asked Doug what I should use for this article. He said I'm concentrating too much on the bad luck, tough break, negative things I've encountered. "Write about something positive," he said.

Hmmm... well, gee, I thought it was pretty positive that I didn't write an article about the worst day I had so far. I keep a notebook and write down major things for each day. That day was May 24 and my notes say: "Treated calves #5102, #5103, and 5104 (twice); took 5102 to vet; cow #52 couldn't get up; Dakota surgery; stuck in ditch; yearling on road; blown radiator hose; Mickey accident in creek." I'll never forget that day. But I'm not going to write about it.

Actually, the mishap with Dude has turned pretty positive. Cowboy has now been to four rodeos and I'm pretty excited about how he has progressed. He has had especially good runs on poles although we havn't been real consistent. It would be a tough choice to pick between him and Dude for poles. I actually like Cowboy better for roping. He always gives me a good shot and since he's short, I'm that much closer to the ropee. We've qualified for finals twice in team roping, once with Doug and once with Jason. I never qualified on Dude, but then with JoJo as partner, woops, I'm supposed to keep it positive. And Cowboy works real well for chasing cattle. So if and when Dude is ready for riding, I will have two good horses.

The outstanding positives about this new lifestyle are the lack of traffic, the complete privacy even when I'm out of the house or out of the yard, not having to wear a suit and tie, not having a boss, and all the space, my space. The evenings are beginning to cool down and one of the things missing in DC, is the star-filled night skies. I'm starting not to notice them as much and I have to remember to pause and enjoy. It's like when I first went to DC I marveled at the Washington Monument, the Capitol, the monuments. But later they weren't even noticed.

Another huge positive out here is the sense of accomplishment achieved by me and me alone. In my old job, there were many people involved and if I got hit by a truck, my duties would have been performed by someone else. Furthermore, the output was not near as visual and touchable as it is here.

Some examples: This week I put up a new fence on 80 acres that was only partially fenced. So I have three-fourths of a mile of new fence with new gates that looks real good. The anticipation of turning the cattle in on fresh grass is genuine. Over the last couple of weeks I planted 100 acres of former crop land to grass. The rains have been ideal and the grass is coming up very nicely. Every day I look out across the fields and watch the brown turn to green. As I made hay this summer it was just plain fun to watch the grass being cut and put into a windrow and then bundled up into a bale. And it's really exciting to watch the baby calves grow up. Sometimes I hardly recognize them, they grow so fast.

Finally, on a positive note, I think I have enough money left to buy groceries for one more month!

Next month the conclusion of Rocky's submissions from 1995. A poem.

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From the December, 1995 ASGRA newsletter

Heart Rock Ranch, "A Closing Poem"
© October 1995, By Rocky Kuhn, Mr. ASGRA 1995

First timers, weathered cowhands, forever city-slickers.
Cowboy boots, canvas sneakers, or five-inch kickers.
Therein lies the greatest attribute - - anyone can compete.
You've got to admit, the mix cannot be beat.

Male or female, no difference it makes.
The desire to perform is all it takes.

Male breakaway ropers like Larry or Andy.
Male wild drag riders, they sure come in handy.
Male barrel racers like George, son of Willy.
Male females like Roxie Hart or Pepper, Chili.

Female steer wrestlers like Desiree for one.
Female bronc busters - - Tammy won't get flung.
Female bull riders like Candy with the Bell.
Female males like Van Orman - - well?

Six, nine and twelve hundred mile hauls.
A pickup nap at a rest area calls.
Twelve-, 24- and 36-hour trips.
Getting there is not just for kicks.

May I share your rig for bareback bronc riding?
Does anyone need me for steer tail tying?
Will you be my partner, do you have the money?
O.K., I'll do you, but only in the rodeo, honey.

The requirements: boots, long sleeves, hats and wranglers.
The accoutrements: belts, buckles, hat bands and spurs.
The don't-forgets: badges, numbers, safety pins and straps.
The extras: rubber bands, tennis shoes, gloves and chaps.

The animals with might will test our mettle.
So hang on for life or it's ass over tea kettle.

We challenge bucking broncs, spinning bulls and wild steers.
Baby calves and small goats also have their careers.
In Calgary, mind you, even cows were in cahoots.
They're all tied to ropes or run through the chutes.

Dresses, bras, boas, horse and skirts.
Wigs, ribbons, underwear and often no shirts.
The camp events are truly unique.
They appear to be easy, but they're not for the weak.

For the injuries are as serious as any you find,
Broken bones, or at least, a bruised fanny behind.
Yet first-timers proudly sport buckles they won.
And cash is quickly earned by newcomers unsung.

Quarter, palominos, paints and buckskins
Don bridles, saddles, and wraps for their shins.
They have their requirements, too, of course.
It's not a real rodeo without the horse.

Around the barrels, through the poles and flags into pails
Charge the equines with feathers, glitter, braided manes and tails.
The steeds, too, have extras, just like their mounts.
But they do the work, while the rider simply counts.

Or is it the people who the rodeo make?
By the time it's over, their muscles all ache.
Competitors and officials get most of the fame.
But don't forget the volunteers, too many to name.

Roger and Mark, George and Dave, Dennis and Andy.
Wayne and Treva, Dave and Chuck, Carla and Candy.
Susan and Tammy, Kim and Sunny, Jonny and Dee.
JoJo and Tom, Jeff and Ron, David Pizzuti.

Friends are made from far and wide.
Rivals switch from side to side.
Partners are found from here and there.
There's always a new face, should you dare.

The before, after and between rodeo soirees
Hatch titillating stories for the next forays.
Who knows what evil lurks in the night.
Most of the tricks are kept out of sight.

Drag queens never tire of putting on the ritz.
Dance troupes excel at clogging in outfits.
Miller Light generously pours the brew.
While cowpokes circle the floor in the not-so-soft shoe.

And for what, this all?
Are we not scared of a fall?
For the scrapes, broken bones, concussions and sprains?
Probably not, if you have any brains!

For the completed rides, fast times, and those left in the rear?
Well, yes, that's part of it. Absolutely, my dear!
For the placings, ribbons, buckles and money?
But of course. Who could deny it? Get real, honey!

But also for the camaraderie, fresh air, and exercise of a good run.
All in all, it's just plain fun!

Last, but far from least, is the fund raising for charity.
The need has hit all of us with such swift clarity.
We give to the sick and dying because we care.
Sometimes, it's just too much to bear.

For our rodeo and other friends to AIDS succumb.
To the charities who serve, our funds are most welcome.
The riderless horse is a symbol of those whom we've lost.
Let us persevere to keep those who are dear, at any cost.

Rocky Kuhn, 1995

Newsletter Editor's comment:
This ends the entries from Rocky's foray in creating a ranch.
In a conversation with our current Trustee at the Denver rodeo (2007), Rocky informed us they have sold the ranch.

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From the 2011 funeral program

Funeral Mass for Rocky Kuhn, 54, of Ash Grove, Mo., will be 10 a.m., Friday at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Dickinson with Father Keith Streifel and Father Gene Lindemann con-celebrating. Burial will follow in St. Elizabeth's Cemetery in Lefor.

Visitation for Rocky will be from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., today at Stevenson Funeral Home with a rosary and vigil service being held at 7 p.m. Visitation will continue on Friday for one hour prior to the service at Stevenson Funeral Home, Dickinson.

Rocky passed away peacefully after a long battle with cancer Monday evening, July 11, at his home in Ash Grove, Mo.

Rocky Kuhn was born on Feb. 14, 1957, to Arnold J. and Helen (Fritz) Kuhn in Dickinson. He was the seventh of nine children and grew up in rural Lefor and on a farm south of Dickinson. He attended Dickinson Catholic schools and graduated from Trinity High School in 1975.

Rocky continued his education at Yale University and graduated in 1979 with a degree in political science and Spanish. He then attended American University, Washington, D.C. obtaining his law degree in 1984. He passed the North Dakota bar exam in 1985.

Rocky directed Gov. Art Link's reelection campaign in 1980. He moved to Arlington, Va. where he was employed by Sen. Byron Dorgan from 1981 to 1983 as an agricultural legislative assistant. He was employed by Sen. Quentin Burdick from 1983 to 1995, working the last 10 years as a clerk on the Senate Agricultural Appropriations Committee.

He traveled to many countries in this position including China, Indonesia and India where he had the honor to meet Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

He made many trips to Honduras, Central America and South America. He also traveled extensively throughout the United States. While living in D.C., he had many visitors and graciously showed them the sights of the capital and made many delicious meals and desserts.

Rocky decided to fulfill a dream and purchased a ranch which was close to Bethany, Mo. in 1995 which he named Heart Rock Ranch. He spent 12 years ranching and raising cattle. He had a variety of animals including cats, chickens, turkeys and peacocks. He loved his many horses and dogs. He planted a garden and regaled family members with quarts of delicious pickles and salsa, fresh peas, tomatoes and kohlrabi.

In 2007, Rocky sold his ranch and moved to Ash Grove, Mo. where he began a graphic design company named Heart Rock graphics.

Rocky enjoyed many activities such as playing cards, participating in rodeos, cooking, baking, designing artwork from horseshoes, making flags of cattle brands, playing organ at church, dancing, listening to music and caring for his horses and dogs. He was a wonderful host and welcomed his family and friends with open arms and hospitality. He will be missed by all who loved him.

Rocky is survived by his eight siblings: Diana (Paul) Dietz of Underwood, Minn., Arnie (Sue) Kuhn, Fargo, Donna Lefor, Bismarck, Deborah (Keith) Thompson, Dickinson, Jeffrey (Barb) Kuhn, Dickinson, Mary Pat (Ray) Bruels, Dickinson, Robin (Janet) Kuhn, Dickinson and Helene Zelaya, Moorhead, Minn.; 27 nephews and nieces and 28 great-nephews and nieces.

He is survived by many relatives and friends including Kelly Smith, Ash Grove, Mo.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Arnold J. Kuhn and Helen (Fritz) Kuhn, and one niece, Frances Mary Bruels.

Remembrances and condolences may be shared with the family at

Stevenson Funeral Home, Dickinson

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