OLBA Members
Junior programs
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by Dan Wedman

It is my pleasure to reminisce with you some of the great moments in Limousin history made possible by Oklahoma Limousin breeders and the OLBA.

The OLBA was conceived in the living room of the late Fred DeMier home east of Miami, Oklahoma. While the DeMier home and the ranch it sat on were both elegant and expansive, the organization formed that day in May 1971, was quite small with little more than hope and halfbloods holding it together.

It was strong self-giving men like Fred DeMier and Burwell Bates of Konawa, Oklahoma, who not only started and nurtured the OLBA but who were very instrumental in moving our national organization forward. Both of these men were the first from Oklahoma to serve on the NALF board.

Many firsts for the Limousin breed happened in Oklahoma. Countless other firsts for the breed happened due to the efforts of a strong core of Oklahoma Limousin breeders.

Every decade or so the NALF has held a breed symposium. In just over 30 years of its existence, the Limousin breed has held three. Two of the three have been held in Oklahoma. The first one, Limousin Crossroads in 1979, and two Decembers ago, Focus 2000 was also held in Stillwater.

The first World Limousin Futurity, which evolved to the show we know today as Limousin’s All-American Futurity, was held in Tulsa in 1974. This show has been held annually in different states since 1974 but its birthplace is Oklahoma.
From that 1974 Tulsa event sprang up another very important organization, the national Limousin ladies auxiliary, later to be known as the Limouselles. Born in Oklahoma, its first president was Bonnie Booth. Bonnie is now the wife of Ernie Tullis and they breed Limousin north of Welch, Oklahoma.

The first fullblood female to sell in the breed sold in Fort Worth. She sold in Texas, but the buyer, seller, handler, auctioneer and sale manager were all from Oklahoma. Buyers at $50,000 were Rick and Sharon Dobson, Budrick Farms, Mannsville, Oklahoma and the seller was the late Raymond Hefner, founder of Canadian Valley Ranch, Seminole, Oklahoma.

Mr. Hefner also hosted the breed’s first all fullblood sale in Oklahoma City. He was a Limousin giant for nearly 30 years and was named the OLBA’s first Lifetime Achievement Award winner seven years ago. Canadian Valley Ranch continues the legacy he started through his son and daughter-in-law, Richard and Lisa Hefner.

It is most fitting that this first of its kind — “Heritage in the Homeland” Limousin Auction — be held at the historic Canadian Valley Ranch.

Space does not allow us to mention all of the breed firsts with Oklahoma breeder connections. But it is important to mention some of the key individuals who made a marked difference in the early development and success of the first, most prolific and most enduring state Limousin association in the country. Men like Charlie Moore of Boise City, Oklahoma, who was one of the first to use Limousin bulls on a large commercial scale back in the mid-70s. He not only used Limousin on a large scale, he encouraged cattlemen all through the years to try Limousin genetics.

H.A. McCoy and Wayman Jackson of Miami, Bill Jacque of Norman, Charlie McCollom from Roosevelt, Jack Vanbebber and Charlie Somers both from Lindsay were powerful breeders of Limousin and avid promoters of the carcass breed.

Mr. McCollom, Mr. McCoy, Mr. Jackson, Mr. Vanbebber and Mr. Somers were also some of the early propagators of polled genetics in the whole country. Their influence in the breed is enjoyed by a majority of the breeders today.

The late Hal Courtney of Madill, a true gentleman, who to my recollection was the first car dealer we ever had in the Limousin business. He was a cattleman first and a profound leader. Hal served as OLBA president and president of the NALF as well.

Fred and Janelle Spitz from Oklahoma City had one of the most legendary Limousin programs in the history of the breed. They started out pretty green like most everyone but Fred was a visionary. By the mid-80s cattlemen were clamoring for the Spitz breedings. The Spitz program produced a Triple Crown bull and female in the same year—1986. The female Spitz Special Effort is the first and only Triple Crown female in the breed.

Professional preparation for show and sale of Limousin cattle also began in Oklahoma. Glen Spafford, Bill Bridges, Alan Petzold and Jimmy Linthicum. There are others but these four gentlemen beginning with Glen were the early pioneers in the breed for getting the cattle ready for show and really putting the meaning of show in the Limousin show ring. The extra effort these guys put into getting cattle ready for show and sale made everyone else take notice.

Ken Holloway, Sonny Booth and Bruce Brooks, all three OLBA Lifetime Achievement Award winners, brought professionalism to marketing Limousin seedstock. Without these guys creating and maximizing the market for an untold number of breeders across North America, Limousin would not be one of the largest breeds of beef cattle in America.

And last but not least, the Oklahoma juniors. From the mid-70s to present, Oklahoma kids have shown the best junior cattle in the nation. The McKowns, Linthicums, Spitzs and Holloways got it started and throngs of others since have carried the tradition on. In 1991, Jary and Marsha Douglas, Dean McKee, Coy Heldermon and Kathy Brooks challenged the OJLA and all the parents to bring it to a new level. With their help and that of many others, the OJLA became the best all-around state junior association in the country. No one, not one state in this great nation can claim more accomplishments in the past decade at the National Junior shows than these Oklahoma kids. It is to the credit of the OLBA that these young ones continue to keep the standard of excellence for the entire breed.

For more information go to the North American Limousin Foundation