WESTERN wanderings

Apr 3, 2009
WESTERN wanderings

It’s always nice to honor people in our industry who have achieved above the ordinary and that have made a difference in the industry. And it’s even better when these honors come along and you know the recipients. Such is the case as I write this column.

A couple of years back, our WLJ Tour went to Texas and toured a portion of that great state. One of the stops we made was at Graham Land and Livestock Co., Gonzales, TX. At this stop, our group was greeted by Dr. Charles Graham, owner of the feedlot and a wonderful host, who kept our group informed and entertained with his good humor and straight talk. Although Dr. Graham is well known as a veterinarian and cattleman, he also cut a wide swath in the Quarter Horse business and this spring was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame. Dr. Graham started his own stallion station and housed some of the breed’s legendary stallions along the likes of Rocket Wrangler, Three Oh’s, and many others. He also played a pivotal part in getting pari-mutuel racing into Texas and was one of the founders of Heritage Place in Oklahoma City, OK. And for those of you who follow rodeo, you’ll remember Tee Woolman’s great Megazord that was named PRCA and AQHA Team Roping Head Horse of the Year in 2004. Dr. Graham bred and raised him. Dr. Graham is one of those unique individuals who has accomplished extraordinary things in his life and his induction into the AQHA Hall of Fame will surely enhance that distinguished group. Congratulations to you, Dr. Graham, from all of us at WLJ and from all of our WLJ Tour group.

Wander, wander … Another great stop on that Texas tour that had all of our tour members chomping at the bit was at Nolan Ryan Ranches. Nolan was a fantastic host who greeted each tour member as they stepped off the bus, signed auto graphs, and made everyone feel welcome. Nolan Ryan is, of course, no stranger to receiving honors such as having been inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and this year, he will be receiving the Chester A. Reynolds Award at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center, Oklahoma City, OK. This award is given to an individual who embodies the traits as set forth by the board that has made an outstanding contribution to the ideals, history and heritage of the West. Yes, that would be Nolan Ryan. Most folks in the livestock business know that he has some ranches, but most would probably not know of his passion for livestock and the Beefmaster business in particular.

Nolan is one of those unique individuals who grew up the same as all of us, but has accomplished extraordinary things in his life. Nolan has received many other awards and honors on and off the baseball field, but I’d wager the Chester A. Reynolds Award is right up there on the list.

Congratulations to you, Nolan, from all of us at WLJ and from all of our WLJ Tour members.

More wandering … Speaking of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, all of us here at WLJ are proud to have one of our own represented in the Hall of Great Westerners. Pete Crow’s grandfather, WLJ Founder Nelson Crow’s hat is on display in this hall. It’s ordinary people like these three men who accomplished extraordinary things that gives us all motivation to work hard and be the best we can be. — JERRY YORK