Mullen, NE – The Sandhills Cattle Association had our 2nd Annual Fall Feeder Calf Preview this year with the Sandhills Affiliate of the Nebraska Cattlemen's and Nebraska Cattlemen's Cow-Calf Council. We held this tour on September 7th and 8th, about two weeks before our 82nd annual convention, so September was a busy month for the Sandhills Cattle Association staff!
We started our two-day tour with registration and breakfast sponsored by Kraye Angus at the KwikStop in Mullen, NE. After enjoying some donuts and coffee and getting everyone registered, our tour leader John Kraye started us on our way for a great day filled with beautiful scenery, cattle, and excellent company. Olsen-Andersen Angus, run by Olen Olsen, his son-in-law Tim Andersen and the rest of their family, was our first stop of the beautiful morning. Tim and Megan, Olen's daughter, moved back here to the Sandhills and joined Olen in 2013, and they have been enjoying ranching as a family and have grown their Black Angus operation together as well. The next stop was just down the road at Tim and Deanna Simonson's. Tim and Deanna have been ranching for nearly 25 years now, with just the two of them working together on their cow-calf operation. Tim likes to breed his Black Angus cows more for size, and it showed by how large and nicely built his calves were already this early in the fall. Tim answered many questions and added a lot of humor and conversation within the group, and everyone enjoyed listening to him speak about his ranch. After that, we headed to Jay and Brenda Lovitt's. Jay works for a nearby buffalo ranch while Brenda runs their ranch operation at home with the help of her parents. This dynamic shows that differentiation is super helpful to ranches' success, and their calves' appearance and quality were also outstanding this year. Leaving the Lovitt's, we took the scenic route in the Sandhills and came upon the historical Dry Valley Church, and we stopped there to explore and have a great roast beef lunch provided by Kraye Angus.
After stretching our legs and enjoying our lunch, we started the drive to the south of Mullen to the Edis Ranch. Wade and Jeri Edis have pastureland right by the Sandhills Golf Company, where Wade is a full-time employee. They run a Black Angus cow-calf operation with the help of their two children Jaci and Lane, and had some sizable calves produced this year. Finally, we headed to our last stop of day one, Hell Bar Limited Partnership, Charlie and Patrick Wright. Charlie and Pat have put their family's ranch back together pasture by pasture over the years and have grown into a sizeable Black Angus Cow-Calf operation. Their mother Delore's had her 90th birthday that day and came out to look at all of their calves with us!
To end our first day, we traveled to Thedford, NE, to the Sandhills Corral for supper and several guest speakers. We had a complimentary dinner served thanks to VITAFERM, Western Nebraska Bank, Elanco, Kraye Angus, and also a cash bar and social hour. We had guest speakers, Dr. Bruce Hoffman from Elanco and David Briggs with Sustainable Beef LLC, present for the evening. We had lots of interaction with fellow ranchers and attendees, and everyone seemed to have a great time together.
The following day bright and early at 7:30 am, we had breakfast at the Sandhills Corral, and then we headed on our way to our second day of the Fall Feeder Calf Preview. We stopped at Halls & Son's south place, owned by Herb and Lora Hall, and had an excellent presentation by herdsman Jim Latoski who has been with the ranch for over seven years now. Next, we visited Heath, and Kris Rasmussen, 2 R Ranch, who are first-generation ranchers with an impressive herd of Black Angus and Black Angus Hereford crosses. We arrived at the Paxton Ranch, owned by John and Jessica Warren, for the last stop of day two. John and Jessica had some great, heavily built Red Angus calves that they modified from their original straight Hereford operation over the years. John and Jessica Warren then graciously held lunch for us at their shop provided by Prairie Feed and Tack Supply of Thedford and Security State Bank. We had grilled burgers, cowboy beans, all the fixins', and a great time visiting before we all went our separate ways.
Overall this tour was a great success thanks to our many sponsors and the Nebraska Cattlemen's and Nebraska Cattlemen's Cow-Calf Council. It was an enjoyable two days with a lot of beautiful ranch country and very impressive calves. We hope next year to attract more attendees and also feedlot representatives, and potential buyers as well. If you or anyone you know would like to participate in next year's Fall Feeder Calf Preview, please get in touch with us at the office at any time! We hope to grow this event even more next year!