Cattle Marketing Hall of Fame
The Cattle Marketing Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to competitive marketing and true price discovery. These men and women are the backbone of the cattle industry. Their efforts ensure a competitive marketplace, the foundation of the American Cattle Industry. Without price discovery we become price-takers and lose our way of life.
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Patrick K Goggins
Pat Goggins was born in Orland, California, in 1930. His family had roots in Montana, and they returned to Montana when Pat was still a toddler. Primarily a dairy farmer, Pat's father eked out a living during the Depression as a sharecropper. The family's income in 1936 totaled $97.
Too young to serve in World War II, Pat helped his family grow crops to feed the soldiers. Farming helped Pat develop habits of hard work and thriftiness. His first livestock achievements came in August 1947 when his 4-H Hereford steer walked away with Championship honors at the 1947 National Hereford Show.
Pat married Florence (Babe) Becker, the girl of his dreams, in 1951. In 1952, he graduated from Montana State University with a degree in animal husbandry and went to work as herdsman for two Hereford operations: Archie Parkes Hereford Ranch in Vaughn, Montana and the DeReimer-Atchison Hereford Ranch, Colorado Springs, Colorado.
In 1954, Pat went to work for the "Montana Farmer Stockman" and then for the "Western Livestock Journal". But it was the job with the "Western Livestock Reporter", a newspaper in Billings, that provided the catalyst to the changes in his life that would take place in rapid-fire succession. In between driving a massive amount of miles in a "Volkswagen" Bug, Pat started sharing his opinions, comments and advice with the readers by way of a weekly column called "As I See It."
In 1961, Pat bought the "Western Livestock Reporter" from Norman Warsinske. Under his direction, the paper increased its readership from 10 northwestern states to virtually every state in the union. In 1968, Pat started another ag weekly called "Agri News".
Pat taught himself to be an auctioneer, practicing the chant by selling telephone poles as he drove down the highways. In 1968, Pat bought the 28 year old stockyards on Minnesota Avenue in Billings, Montana, and renamed it PAYS which stands for Public Auction Yards. In 1976, PAYS held the world's first livestock video cattle auction. He later founded Northern Livestock Video Auction.
In 1961, Pat bought his first ranch, the Vermilion Ranch located east of Billings where he and Babe have raised three generations of children and Angus cattle. Under his direction, Vermilion became a registered Angus operation of renown.
In the mid 1960's, Pat was instrumental in forming the Northern International Livestock Exposition (NILE) and was honored to be elected its first president in 1967. He was a board member for almost 15 years and still holds the number one membership card.
In 1983 Pat bought a second stockyards, the Billings Livestock Commission Co. With PAYS, those two markets made Billings, Montana the largest auction market town in the Northwest, and in the United States, second only to Amarillo, TX. Pat added a third auction market when he purchased Western Livestock Auction in Great Falls, MT.
Pat's newspapers have received separate national recognition for news coverage, and among his numerous personal recognitions are awards for Marketeer of the Year in 1977, Auctioneer of the Year from the National Auctioneers Association, U.S. Man of the Year in Livestock in 1992 and Montana Family Business of the Year in 1996. In 1998, he was made a member of the National Auctioneers Association Hall of Fame.
Many men and women have made a mark on their local ag industry, and quite a few on their state ag industry, but the field narrows when we're talking about people who have made significant contributions to the ag industry on a nationwide basis. Patrick K. Goggins is one such man.
You’ll find Mike Lewis most days at Pratt Livestock. Thursdays start with an early breakfast discussing the market with customers. He’s right at home at the cattle auction; buyers and sellers make a point to see Mike and hear his thoughts on the market. Mike grew up on a cattle ranch in Kinsley, Kansas. He started working at Kinsley Livestock, his father’s auction, when he was only nine years old. He continued working the auction through his senior year of high school. Mike went to college intending to be a journalist, but after the first year, he knew his heart was in the cattle business. Mike married his high school sweetheart, Ruth, and they moved to Pratt, Kansas to work at Pratt Livestock. Soon after, Mike and Ruth were blessed with three children, daughters, Shawna and Michelle and son, Michael (Jake).
In 1960 Pratt Livestock absorbed the Lyons, KS sale and the Kinsley, KS sale. Pratt Livestock began to grow under Mike’s leadership and in 1962 a new facility was built two and a half miles east of Pratt, at Pratt Livestock’s present location. In 1979 Mike along with partner, Bob Wilkey, leased the auction from the Wilkey family. Eight years later, in 1987, the auction was purchased by Mike and Bob.
Over the years, the customer base steadily grew. In the spring of 1988 Pratt Livestock sold 12,633 head at single sale, starting at 8:00 am and completing at midnight. Nineteen eighty-eight was a banner year for the auction with a year-end total of 300,300 head sold. Pratt Livestock has continually sold 160,000 -280,000 cattle per year, making it one of a hand full of markets the industry follows to set the price of cattle each week.
Mike has never considered his work a job. He loves what he does and has always valued the people and the friendship’s they have made. Cattle producers and cattle buyers, he feels, are some of the finest people in the world. A handshake still means something in the cattle industry. Through the years, he has had the pleasure of working with top notch employees as well as first, second, and third generation customers.
Pratt Livestock has always been a family affair. Mike credits wife, Ruth, who has worked tirelessly by his side, and son, Jake, whose long hours and devotion get things right. Mike’s late brother, Van Lewis of Dodge City, was often the highest volume order buyer at Pratt Livestock and was well known in the industry as a premier order buyer.
The producers that sell at Pratt Livestock have been Mike's focus for almost 60 years. Mike Lewis represents a true Cattlemen; he knows cattle, knows the market, is honest in his dealings, and loves what he does.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
As a young boy growing up in Cyril, Oklahoma, Tom knew he was going to be involved in agriculture, but he would go well beyond involvement so the industry he loved, would remain viable for future generations. Tom’s involvement in agriculture, began by showing livestock in high school through the FFA. Much of what Tom learned was self-taught and acquired through hard work and hands on experience.
Tom attended Oklahoma State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1958. Upon graduation, he moved to Illinois with his wife Reta for a two-year career in the swine industry. In October of 1959, he moved to Oklahoma City with a job selling hogs for a commission company at the Oklahoma National Stockyards. But cattle remained his first love, so five years later, with some solid experience under his belt, he began selling cattle, also at the Oklahoma National Stockyards.
In the early years of his career, Tom said the Lord blessed him by opening many doors and one of those doors opened in the 1970’s, when he met Bill Griffeth and joined a partnership. Together they started a Cattle Order Buying company. Their business flourished and in 1987, they expanded with the acquisition of Stockman Oklahoma Commission Company, followed by the purchase of the Apache Auction Market in Apache, Oklahoma.
Tom and his partner Bill were fortunate to have worked with Accountant and Office Manager, George Privett who successfully ran the front office operations for more than 40 years. Along with George’s loyalty to the business, Tom also says loyal customers were a vital part of their success.
In 1991, Governor David Walters appointed Tom to serve on the Oklahoma State Board of Agriculture. He successfully held the position as board member for ten years. In 1994, Tom received the Graduate of Distinction Award in Animal Science at Oklahoma State University. Today, Stockman Oklahoma Commission Company and the Apache Auction Market are leased to Bob Rodenberger and to Bill Griffeth’s son, Greg Griffeth as they are carrying on the livestock market torch into the next generation.
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Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
William A. (Bill) Griffeth was born in Cushing, Okla. in 1940. Bill was raised on his family dairy farm, the Griffeth Dairy, where he developed his initial passion for the agricultural industry. As a young person, he channeled this passion for agriculture into being a 4-H and FFA member, where he realized that the long hours of milking cows, and taking care of other family livestock—including beef cattle, hogs, and chickens—would pay off, specifically on the Cushing FFA livestock judging team.
Griffeth enrolled at Oklahoma State University in 1958, where he majored in Animal Science. While at OSU, Griffeth was a member of the 1961 champion livestock judging team, which won the International Livestock Judging Contest in Chicago.
In 1962, upon graduating from OSU, Griffeth reached a pivotal point in life—earning his first job. Griffeth was hired by Wilson Packing Company as a hog buyer, where he coupled his knowledge of sound livestock, learned at home, with this new endeavor, where he learned the industry side of livestock marketing, to reach the conclusion that livestock marketing was the career path for him. He then took another key step: moving to the Oklahoma National Stockyards, where he met his wife of 56 years, Karen. He also met another very important person, Tom Gilliam, who has grown to play a major role in Griffeth’s business endeavors.
In 1970, Gilliam and Griffeth started an order buying business. Gilliam and Griffeth cultivated this business, until 1987, when they expanded to purchasing Stockman Livestock Marketing and Order Buying and Stockman Livestock Commission Company. The two made another leap of faith in 1988, and, with the help of Karen and Gilliam’s wife Reta, purchased the market at Apache, Okla.
Today, Griffeth and Gilliam can reflect on several successful business ventures, which have withstood the test of time. Griffeth’s son, Greg, even followed in his father’s footsteps as a cattle marketer, first as an auctioneer at the Oklahoma National Stockyards, and then growing into a major role in Stockman-Oklahoma Livestock Marketing. Greg also, alongside Bob Rodenberger, manages the Apache market, which is still a thriving and competitive market.
Griffeth has built a life which has brought many new endeavors, memories, and learning experiences. Through it all, he has been supported by Karen and their three children, Kim, Greg, and Shelley, as well as his six grandchildren. Each is enormously proud of their husband, father, or grandfather and the legacy he has left for them. They truly believe that he embodies the purest forms of leadership and hard-work.
If Griffeth could do it over again, he wouldn’t change a thing. It has been a wonderful life working in the auction market business, while serving rural American. Griffeth is beyond honored to be receiving this award amongst these other outstanding individuals.