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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Tom Frey
Centennial Livestock Auction

Tom grew up in Eastern Nebraska and started his auction and auctioneer profession in the ring and alleys of the Columbus Sales Pavilion in Columbus, Nebraska. He spent nearly 20 years at Centennial Livestock Auction in Fort Collins, Colorado, prior to purchasing Creston Livestock Auction, Inc., in 1999. After successfully operating the Creston market for 20 years, Tom and Leisa sold the market and moved back to their beloved Colorado roots in 2019. Since, Tom has returned to work at Centennial Livestock Auction.

Tom is a past president of the Iowa Livestock Auction Markets Association, 2010 International Livestock Auctioneer Champion, 2009 Reserve World Champion Auctioneer, 2009 Greater Midwest Champion Livestock Auctioneer and several-time Top Ten World Livestock Auctioneer.

Tom and his wife, Leisa, are blessed with seven children and four grandchildren, Reegan and Coltyr Wayne, Tate Thomas and Noelle Jayne. The Frey family also runs a 100 head, cow/calf operation. In his spare time, Tom enjoys spending time with family, hunting, fishing and keeping up with all the family activities.

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Michael T Samples
Farmers & Ranchers Livestock

Mike Samples was born November 21, 1949 in Ontario, Oregon. His parents Jay and Ruth Samples with sister Brenda moved to Southeast Kansas shortly after Mike was born. Mike’s father bought an eighty-acre farm North of Erie, Kansas and that’s where Mike was raised. Jay worked in the oilfield and farmed until he ventured into building a Drive Inn Café called the B&M, named after his children.

              When Mike entered high school at Erie his life made an abrupt change when he met his Vo-Ag teacher Ken Buntin. Mr. Buntin told him he had to have projects therefore, Mike then started farming, raising hogs and cattle. His involvement in FFA lead him to become Star Farmer of Kansas in 1967 and a State Officer in 1967-1968. Mr. Buntin was very instrumental in shaping Mike’s life and future direction.

              While in high school a friend Tim Peak’s dad had a commission firm at the Parsons Stockyard Mike was fascinated with the commotion of a sale barn and went to the sale every chance he had. This lit a desire in Mike to become part of the Auction World. During that time, he started driving and traveling with famous cattleman E.J. Peck and learned many things about the cattle industry.

              In his younger years he worked for the Fredonia, Kansas market then later ran the Chanute Sale Barn for a short while before becoming the manager of the Parsons Livestock Market for Russell and Mark McKee. Mike ran the market and also had orders to buy cattle at 3 to 4 sales each week.

              August 31, 1987 Mike made a big change leaving Erie, Kansas and moving to Salina to manage Farmers & Ranchers Livestock. He quickly found the once large market had several problems and not many customers. With the help of several great people the market started a turn around. Under Mike’s watchful eye Farmer & Ranchers Livestock has become the largest market in Kansas for several years running, selling more than 200,000 head per year along with hogs and 2 large horse sales per year.

              Mike has lived the last 30 plus years in the Abilene area with his wife Donna. He has 3 children Monae living in Erie, Marshall in Abilene and Micah also in Abilene, he also has 4 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. Micah has joined Mike working at the market as a penner for several years now.

              Mike has not yet considered retirement because of his passion for the market and his love for his producers and buyers. Mike still enjoys the people and the atmosphere of a cattle auction.

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Patrick K Goggins

Billings, Montana

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.

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Karl Mark Winter
Winter Livestock

Late in the year of 1887 Henry Winter left his Iowa home in search of land. He brought his springboard wagon to rest by Pawnee Creek in Finney County, Kansas where he built a sod home on what was soon to be known as the Winter Ranch. He filed his claim January 18, 1888 and immediately sent for his wife Kate and three children to join him at their new home.

April 21, 1889 a fourth child, Karl Mark Winter was born to Henry and Kate. As a youngster Karl saw the great herds of cattle trailed in from the south. Some were driven across the eastern corner of the Winter Ranch to water at the Pawnee Creek. It was a great source of entertainment for young Winter and his brothers to ride alongside the drovers and marvel at the herds. One of those was said to be 10,000 head of cattle on their way up the Chisholm Trail.

Karl farmed and ranched alongside his father until the age of 21, when he took over the ranch. In Karl’s capable hands the ranch increased in size many times over. The brown-eyed neighbor girl who won young Karl Winter’s heart was Gladys Brown, whose parents had come from Cherokee County, Kansas. After marrying in 1914, Gladys and Karl ranched on his home place. They were the parents of three sons: Ralph, Ross and Ray. In 1936, Karl and his family moved to Dodge City because of Gladys’ failing health. That year, Karl purchased the livestock auction facilities in Dodge City from J.C. Renner and leased the adjoining Santa Fe stockyards used in the heyday of the cattle drives. Gladys’ illness brought about her death in 1939. In 1942 Karl married Grace Bayless. Together they made a home for his sons and their daughter, Phyllis.

Winter Livestock Commission Company was the name of Karl’s new enterprise and some 29,886 head were sold in the first year of operation. In the years to come Karl sold half interest to Ted McKinley and together they kept the business growing at a steady pace. Winter Livestock Inc. acquired the La Junta, Colorado sale facility in 1940 in an effort to further serve the farmer, rancher and cattleman. Later Ted McKinley sold his share of the partnership back to Karl. 

After World War II Karl was known in the community as a trusted mentor. He partnered on cattle and other business endeavors that traditional banking means would not support.  The family has been blessed with many stories from community leaders and citizens that it was Karl’s belief in them and his willingness to give them a loan that got them started.

 In 1956 Karl and Ross Winter built Winter Feed Yard in Dodge City Kansas in effort to meet the growing needs of the cattle industry.

Karl passed in 1982 leaving his legacy in the capable hands of his sons Ray and Ross. Today the family is still farming and ranching the same land in Finney County and has remained dedicated to the cattle industry through the commitment of 3rd, 4th and 5th generation family members.

Karl had a reputation of fairness to both the buyers and sellers. “When you’ve dealt with a man’s grandfather, his father and now him, it makes for a lot of trust.” It’s that kind of trust that the Winter Family will continue into the future.

Mike Lewis 

Pratt, Kansas

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.

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Tom Gilliam

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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Bill Griffeth

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.