A man who has worked tirelessly to strengthen and expand the scope of his business was honored as the 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year Friday night at the chamber of commerce spring banquet.
Wes Mangus, owner and operator of Trieven-Sungold Kennels, received the honor presented by Lovell Inc. Economic Development organization. Lovell Inc. Director Elaine Harvey presented the award.
“Lovell Inc. is honored to work for this community, and one of the most rewarding jobs is working with bright, enthusiastic, skilled, forward thinking young people,” Harvey said as she announced the award. “The young family that we are honoring tonight fits that bill and also has a deep-seated work ethic and a large dose of compassion.
“Wes Mangus grew up living the dream. He went hunting and fishing with his brother, dad and Grandpa Mangus. He learned a love for hunting and the outdoors with all its creatures just waiting for him to find. His love for hunting dogs became deep seated when friends Joe and Jo Anderson gave him his first bird dog, a yellow lab named Shasta. He was hooked. He had his own ‘Old Yeller.’ He bought his second hunting dog from Jay and Val Walker, not knowing what it would lead to later on.
Mangus learned that hard work accompanied the life of raising animals, Harvey said, noting that the Mangus family raised and trained horses. Wes took his turn breaking the horses to be ridden in addition to feeding them and cleaning up after them.
After graduation from Lovell High School in 2009, he went to Casper College, majoring in drafting and engineering. He then worked for West Tech Engineering and Fabrication. Although the money was good, his heart was at home, hunting, Harvey said.
“Hunting won,” she said. “Wes came home in 2015 and bought another dog from the Walkers. A year later, with the help of his parents and Aunt Carla (McKinley), he bought 140 dogs and rented kennels from Walkers for a year while he built his own facility east of Lovell. Wes was never one for doing things halfway. He used his engineering skills to build a highly efficient kennel system that is cleaner, warmer, automated and compliments his ability to train beginning hunting skills to his puppies.
“By 2017 Wes had built his own reputation to accompany the world renowned reputation of the Trieven-Sungold line of Labrador-Golden Retriever dogs. He was selling dogs in every state in the country and as far away as London. That was the year that his stock peaked at 200.”
Mangus learned to train his dogs to perform a variety of tasks.
“Wes recognized that by the time the puppies were six to eight weeks old, their personalities led them to additional skill sets,” Harvey said. “Most are very good hunters. Some were determined and persistent, and a few had calmer personalities with more patience and gentle natures. He and his friend Darold Newman worked with the determined and persistent pups to see if they were able to be trained drug and bomb sniffing dogs for police work. That proved successful, and several Trieven-Sungold dogs are in the Phoenix area working. They are in great demand because they are eager to learn and easy to train. They train so well that they are put into service at a younger age, adding almost a year to their ability to serve.
“Last year, Wes worked on building a third category to his dogs: service dogs. He worked with John Teigen, the veteran who wrote the book that the movie “John Tiegen – 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” was based on. They sent two hand selected dogs to Texas for specialized training to become service dogs for veterans. Wes said it was one of the best days in his life to see the vet in Sheridan bond with his new service dog.”
It is a labor of love for Mangus.
“In keeping with his life goal to hunt every day (almost), Wes leased some farm ground, built a ‘pheasant coop’ and guides hunts for pheasants and other animals,” Harvey said. “What a great way to train pups to hunt with seasoned dogs. Wes’s good friend Lenard Faber works with him training dogs almost every day. Wes works with the Game and Fish in connection with the bird farm to continue to improve and promote hunting.
“Finding that preserving his trophies was more expensive than he wanted, Wes is now a fully qualified taxidermist. He is the lieutenant of North Big Horn County Search and Rescue and does engineering for AxenoX.
Mangus and his wife, Kaycie have a 3-year-old daughter, Harper, who is a “socialization trainer for the puppies,” Harvey said.
In accepting the award, Mangus thanked “everyone who stood behind me in this venture. It’s a gamble that paid off.”
By David Peck