As year three of Cattlemen's Congress approaches, Executive Vice President of Cattlemen's Congress, Bray Haven, talks with Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays about the cattle show created in 2021 that allowed showman to exhibit their cattle in a challenging year. Haven visits with Hays about how the show began as he looks back on how remarkable the journey has been.
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"It really was special how Cattlemen's Congress came about," Haven said.
Individuals such as Bob Funk, Jarold Callahan, Tyler Norvel and more, Haven said, helped build the foundation for the show. With livestock shows being canceled in most places, many people came forward to make Cattlemen's Congress possible, he added.
Unlike many other states, Haven said Oklahoma had opened back up quite a bit at the time of the show, so with great leadership, many were committed to moving forward, Haven said.
"We have great leadership here in the state of Oklahoma, the governor of the state, the legislature, and all of those involved and we are committed to getting things back to business and back to normal quicker than others," Haven said. "We are blessed here in Oklahoma to have that leadership, and those people who dreamed up Cattlemen's Congress, and it seems like it was almost overnight."
Cattle shows across the country are an opportunity for people to market genetics, Haven said, so it's not all about the competition or the sales. Without Cattlemen's Congress, he added, many people would have been voided the chance to market their genetics in 2021.
Almost overnight, with other major cattle shows and state fairs shutting down because of the pandemic, Oklahoma City suddenly became a destination for a national cattle show.
"We got the right people involved and we started inviting breed associations down here at Oklahoma City to meet and look at the facility and start talking about if it was even possible," Haven said. "It was a resounding yes."
Oklahoma being a crossroads of I-35 and I-40, Haven said many have wondered why Oklahoma has never had a major cattle show for people out of state. Once the breed associations and individuals who show their cattle across the country realized Cattlemen's Congress was going to be a good opportunity, Haven added, everyone bought in immediately.
"That is what made this so exciting," Haven said. "I don't know that the goal was long-term, to have Cattlemen's Congress, but it certainly turned into that after year one was a resounding success."
As soon as we shut the gates in 2021, Haven said the group of people that oversaw Cattlemen's Congress decided immediately that the show had to happen again. Promptly, he said, the planning began for 2022.
A large number of people reached out after the 2021 show wanting to be part of the next year, Haven said.