Reflecting on the past

2017 was a great for the Simmental breed. However, two of the major breeders that were highly active in the show ring, and had a major impact in our breed dispersed their herds. Dispersal sales have happened in the breed since its inception as a breed in the seed stock industry.

Craig Mc Callum at Circle M and his team did great things for the breed in a short period of time. He invested in the breed purchasing top females and bulls that would compete in the show ring and impact their program. While he invested in the genetics, more importantly Craig invested in the youth and the future of our breed. He did this time and time again and probably will continue to do so. At his dispersal his genetics sold well and went across the country. There is no doubt that his genetics will continue to make an impact in the future of our breed. He will be missed however where one door closes and another opens. Again, thanks to the Circle M crew and Craig.

On November 1st the Hudson Pines Farm herd was dispersed In Tarrytown, New York. Whether you were there for the first time or whether you had attended many of the past sales it was a great event no doubt. The HP Forever A Legacy sale was a historic event with a sale gross which exceeded $2.4 million. Just like many of the past sales, Hudson Pines exhibited great hospitality, good food, a great atmosphere and all the staff possessed the same sincere pride, dedication and commitment that David, Peggy and Miranda all expected to the end. In a final farewell Hudson Pines went on beyond the call of duty and hosted a final farewell party at the Rockefeller Playhouse. This was second to none and the breed will be forever grateful for this long time program and the impact they had on the Simmental industry.

Hudson Pines Simmental program was established in 1975 by the late Peggy Rockefeller so they had been the business for 43 years. Peggy dedicated her life to the preservation of agriculture and the advancement of the Simmental breed. Hudson Pines Farm won many shows and awards over the years in the breed; however their contribution to the Simmental Association and the junior programs was unmatched. Their commitment to excellence and giving back was started decades ago.  I personally want to thank again all the people involved not only in the dispersal sale but all the individuals that had worked at Hudson Pines in the past 40 years. Some of those individuals were not born at the start of  HPF and some of those are not with us today. Ryan Haefner in the end did an exceptional job of following out the wishes of others to the end. I know Miranda, John and many others were extremely proud of his job to the end. I am sure Mr. David Rockefeller and Peggy would have been pleased with Ryan and all the staff for the job each did to the end.

On the way to the Hudson Pines, I began to reflect on some of the past dispersal sales over the years.  I as a younger individual was the Manager at Breck Ellison Farms. I know some of the challenges that Ryan Haefner faced on putting on such an event and all the emotions dealing with something you do every day and the dedication to that operation and the breed. After arriving back home in Lenoir City, Tennessee from the show at the Simmental Breeders Sweepstakes the next day Breck Ellison informed me and other staff due to his increase health and heart issues the cattle operation would be dispersed. That was the first week of August and the sale has held December 8th, 1990 at the newly constructed Knoxville Livestock center. That day there were approximately 1700 people at the sale with people watching the auction from a remote tent with two video monitors, another inside and sale arena full of enthusiastic buyers.  That day the sale grossed in excess of million with 160 buyers from 25 states and Canada. Some may reconigize a few names. Volume buyers were Twin Hills Farms and Royal Crown Ranch, Tn. KBJ Ranch, Ohio, Windridge Farms, Iowa, Latta Simmental Ranch, Ark. Woodring Simmental Ranch, Tx. Shawest Farms Alberta, Canada, High Ridge Farms, North Carolina, Triple Creek Farm, Ga, Edward Pierce, NJ. The high seller that day was KBJ That’s My Lady at $40,000.

Over the years, the Simmental breed has really not been faced with that many dispersal sales however here are a few that I have been involved in as a sale manager or sale consultant. The year and order is not exact by any means.

Pine Ridge Southern Heritage dispersal Valdosta, Georgia. 2010

Having a sale in south Georgia in May has some challenges however the cattle were videoed, not run in the ring, and the great group of genetics did extremely well. Several of those genetics still flourish today. A couple of the high sellers were Welsh Dew It Right and Triple C Empriss. What a pretty place in South Georgia and from the highly respected Larry Rogers. Another great event remembered by many.

Remington Cattle Co. Alberta Canada 2011

The Remington Cattle dispersal was a large offering consisting of Angus and Simmental. It was a great event with loads of quality in all breeds represented. The sale consisted of loads cattle however a couple of the best in the sale made their new home to the United States. Lock N Load sold for $47,500 to Lazy H in Ohio and HPF Honey sold for 20,000 going to Lazy H as well. Red Rush sold for 15,000 going to Beshears Simmentals. All those individuals we still here about quite a bit.

Triple C dispersal sale 2009

The Triple C sale was a major event.  Peter Courtney started with his first purchase and building his cattle program at the High Ridge dispersal. Many years in the business Triple C dominated and made a huge impact in the Simmental business. Most importantly Peter started some of the fund raising programs in the AJSA which are still in effect today. If you ever were around Peter Courtney his enthusiasm was contagious and believed in the future of the breed and the juniors that was going to be carrying the touch and be the leaders of tomorrow. His sale that day grossed $1.3 million. The standouts and top sellers still are working today. Remember Liberty, Crazy Queen, No Doubt and others. Some of the volume buyers Damar Farms, Lazy H, Circle M, Moore Land and Cattle, and Remington.

Ray Farms Dispersal, Illinois

The Ray sale was a multi day sale with app 2200 head expected to sell in the 3 day process. Well, that sale had a long list of challenges and one was the weather. A week before the sale it decided to start raining and it did for a long extended time. Corn stalls and bedding was trucked in from the surrounding areas, cows were calving, calves were sick and the sale had a long list of challenges. The sale help was acquired across the country and I mean some of the best cowboys and sale help around at that time.  In the end prices went extremely well and it was great success. I will have to say I was glad to in attendance providing assistance to my friend Doug Paul. I was glad I got to witness. Some people still don’t believe the stories. Some of the stats from the sale were staggering that would sale prices and daily activities of the overall sale dispersal sale process and cattle management. If I remember right the top was $75,000 on a Draft Pick x Meyer cow.

Burns Brand James Burns and sons, Almond, WI. 2007

Many good genetics came out of that dispersal sale. The crowd was over flowing and several breeders purchased animals by the truck load. They ran them thru the ring about as fast as any sale; you had to pay attention that day. Just ask Wesner about that trip.

G and L dispersal, Idaho 1996

The G and L dispersal was held at the Midland bull test center in Midland Montana. This herd of cattle was phenomenal and was well received by many breeders across the country. Rob Laird purchased the calf champion at Denver that year, WLE Power Stroke, he went to Idaho and bred heifers. The sale was Sept 23rd that same year. He was purchased by Cheryl Wagoner in Colorado and went to Denver again in 1997 and was division champion and was in the Phillips Cattle Co string. The other matriarch to leave that sale was G and L Savannah purchased by Triple C Farms. Both of the individuals still influence many herds today. Study your extended pedigrees.

High Ridge Farms Bruce Cuddy, North Carolina. 1994

The High Ridge sale for the times was just kind of stupid and crazy. Bruce Cuddy had assembled a great herd of black cows from all across the country and with most of them originating from west of the Mississippi. The sale consisted of donors, herd sires, cows, breds, opens and everything. This was the first time people in the east had the opportunity to purchase black genetics without traveling west. That day we didn’t have enough cattle for the large crowd in attendance. The volume buyer showed up that day and purchased most of the top lots Peter Courtney later known as Triple C Farms.

P/T Livestock Pete Thompson, Wyoming 1994

This was another special dispersal that was widely attended and was held at the Midland Bull Test in Midland, Montana. The herd was from Big Piney, Wyoming. The herd mainly consisted of red cattle however blacks as well. Many good dependable genetics derived from that breeding program. PTL Red Obession was one of the favorites and she went on to be a Denver champion and produced a Denver champion, WLE CSA Snafu.

Holley Cattle Co dispersal sale, Ohio 1995

I would have to go in storage and find some of my old catalogs however the sale in Ohio went well. Cows sold such as Hearts A Fire, Whitney, Holley’s Polled Ebony and the dam of Moonglow and Elivia. Again, if my memory is correct Greg Burden and I worked as sale consultants and we both had bag phones. We both were pretty cool back then especially Greg on his run with Bad Monday.

NBI Ancel Armstrong, Kansas.

Ancel was an early mover and shaker in the Simmental Breed and was very well respected by all breeders across the seed stock industry. He never had a large group of cows and didn’t sell that many in the end however his semen bank was off the charts with a huge inventory. Bruce Miller got tired of selling semen that day, just ask him. Ancel Armstrong was instrumental in the early years of the development in the breed. On the way to Denver we stopped by and looked at Signal at his place.

Shafer Shoestring Ranch, Minnesota September 2001

Yes, I know what you are thinking. I had the privilege to work Wade Shafer’s dispersal sale in 2001. Not really knowing what to expect and never been to his operation in the end I purchased some of the top lots for different customers in the South and they really did well for those customers. The Shoestring herd had the influence of Black Irish Kansas and 600U and was built on calving ease. Remember Shoestring 600U J107. Remember this sale happened a week after 9-11.

Bozone Ranch David Bozone, Rolla, Kansas. 1997

David Bozone was a great cattleman and was highly respected. His cow herd reflected all that and more at his dispersal sale. Many sharp breeders were in attendance and picked out the good ones. Many of his genetics had some Fleckvieh influence. The top lot BOZ Sweet Temptation was the top sellers going to Triple C Farms. She later became a Denver champion and many of her progeny did as well.  She was a huge influence on that program till they dispersed in 2009.

Nichols Farms Cow herd dispersal, Iowa 10/27/1992

This one of a lifetime sale was a mature cow herd dispersal sale by the Nichols Family. Dave and crew put a lot of time and effort into planning that cow herd sale. The outcome was a huge success. The young Barry Wesner selected several of the elite lots that day and all have been a huge influence on his program and others as well. Those cows went to many great breeders across the country and got involved into embryo transplant programs and flourished even more. The impact cows from that sale were Joliette 107W which produced the JBH Sheza Dandy which no doubt is one of breeds best ever. Another great was Nichols Joliette C75, the dam of the WLE Power Stroke. A few years ago Dave Nichols was inducted into the Saddle and Sirloin at the NAILE. He invited Drew, Holli, and I out to the farm to pick a female to be auctioned off for the Foundation.

Latta Simmental Ranch, Lincoln, Arkansas

The Latta herd was a superb program that was backed by many show champions and elite donor cows. Rex Allen was head of the show team. The dispersal sale was a big event that was a big time success. There program was admired by many.

Woods Knoll Farms, Alabama

Woods Knoll dispersal sale was held at the Cullman stockyards. The sale consisted of fullboods with Fleckvieh influence. They were a high respected fullblood operation and had many successful sales prior to their dispersal. Some of the top lots that day were purchased by Champion Farms in Ohio.

Faulkner Farms, Alabama 1997

Jim and Rose Faulkner dispersed their small herd in Alabama. In the early years they had a sale which was called the Southern Gentlemen group. Those cattle were red and white and consisted of fullboods and purebreds. That year I purchased a 1200 open heifer off the side of a cow and that was one that ended up as Holli’s show heifers. Later as a Sr yearling she was 3rd overall in Columbus Ohio in 1998. That is probably the last year a tradition colored heifer to be in top ten.

Kintyre Farms, Gloster, Mississippi.

Colville Jackson was a promoter extraordinaire. He was a true southerner and was good at many things to raising flowers, dogs and cattle. Colville was one of the original founders of the Simmental Breeders Sweepstakes and his cattle dominated the show in the early years with the assistance of the legendary show person Knic Overpeck. The sale was a big success. The couple funny notes is to hear a chain saw running and repairing boards on the alley coming into the sale. The other thing was Colville always talking so finally Merrill Anderson auctioneer just un plugged his microphone. It took Colville several lots till he noticed.

Stagg Cattle Co, Mt Pleasant, Texas

Dr Gerald Stagg dispersed his herd which consisted of Simmentals, Sim Angus, Fleckvieh influenced, Red, Black and some outstanding Simbrah. Some of his  Simbrah genetics are the base to genetics that are still instrumental today.

National Double R Bar Richard Betterton.

That catalog is in the archives however back in those days Richard herd consisted of fullbloods in central Illinois. I think John Caviness and AL Vary were in attendance.

Happy Valley Ranch, Athens, Texas

Sambo Sewalt as manager was a good cowman and was highly respected as they come. The beautiful ranch in east Texas always had great sales and it was no different when Bill Breedlove decided to disperse the herd. Do you remember the Fenella cow family and all her descendants? One of the best herds of fullbood cattle in the day.

Mille Cent Ranch Bob Messer, Tx.

The Mille Cent herd was dispersed in Stafford, Missouri. Bob Messer’s breeding was always somewhat old school Fleckvieh genetics. Stanley Stout was the auctioneer that day in which he and Doug Paul got passing notes back and forth on matter on a potential buyer. Lucky Doug Paul come thru in the end. Stanley was a great auctioneer however always added some humor to any event.

Taylor Black Simmental dispersal sale, Kansas

Jim Taylor was one of the early leaders in black Simmental and the promotion of Black Irish Kansas which he bred and raised. Black Irish Kansas was sired by Irish Black Knight owned by NBI Ancel Armstrong. Black Irish Kansas was born in 1990.

Kieckhefer Simmental, Paris, Ky

As a young herdsman and show barn helper, I as employed by Kieckhefer Simmental. I worked four summers while going to college. After completion of college at Eastern Ky University I accepted a full time position.  I worked three summers and six years after that. Working with Simmental cattle and the people is what I envisioned for my future however at the time most young people and ag kids worked to put their way thru college. Like most I personally didn’t have a long term plan. The Kieckhefer herd at the time was well known for its breeding program and long list of show champions. The dispersal consisted of some of the first homozygous polled fullboods. The two day dispersal sale was held May 29 and 30th, 1981.

I hope some find this helpful and or interesting and I am sure I missed some other notable sales. Please reflect on the past to see the changes in the breed that several have witnessed over the years. We have come along way and hopefully the younger generation and new breeders today will understand and realize the great strides we came as a breed. We have a great breed of cattle. Remember this is 50th Anniversary of the Simmental breed. We will still be faced with challenges, changes both good and bad and no doubt the Simmental breed will continue to flourish and prosper. We hope you are a part of it.

1/21/2018 Doug Parke

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