Colorado’s Leaders in Livestock

Livestock Leaders

Beginning in 1960, the Department initiated an annual award to honor an outstanding individual in the livestock industry. The designation was called the Stockman of the Year, and a portrait of the individual was hung in the Animal Sciences Building. This award was last presented in 1976. In 1986 a similar award was initiated and termed the Livestock Leader Award.

We present the Annual Livestock Leaders award during the historical National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado.

Award Recipients

Marlin Eisenbach

2022 Recipient

Marlin Eisenauch

Leann Saunders

2022 Recipient

Leann Saunders

Trey Patterson

2021 Recipient

Trey Patterson

Craig Huffines

2020 Recipient

Craig Huffhines

George Seidel

2019 Recipient

George Seidel

Award Recipients Since 1960

Award Recipients from 2011 - 2020

Craig Huffhines – 2020 Recipient


George Seidel – 2019 Recipient

During the College of Agricultural Sciences’ Ag Week, the Department of Animal Sciences awarded its annual Livestock Leader recognition to George Seidel, a University Distinguished Professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science… Read Full Source Story.

Bill Webster – 2018 Recipient


Bill Hammerich – 2017 Recipient

For the past 15 years, Bill Hammerich, CEO of the Colorado Livestock Association, has been an advocate for livestock producers across the state of Colorado, producers who have long relied on Colorado University research and outreach. As just one more example… Read Full Source Story. 

Vaughn Cook – 2016 Recipient

Vaughn and Jill Cook are co-owners and founders of Royal Vista Equine, Inc. – CO a commercial embryo transfer and equine reproductive center. Royal Vista Equine has expanded across several states with the majority of all employees being CSU graduates… Read Full Source Story.

Steve Gabel – 2015 Recipient

The Department of Animal Sciences is extremely proud to honor Steve Gabel as our newest Livestock Leader, recognizing his longstanding service and commitment to Colorado State University and the cattle industry in Colorado… Read Full Source Story.

Harold Harper – 2014 Recipient

A present day father and son partnership that was formed by two unique visions and is thriving and persevering because of the diversity each man brings to the business. Harper Feedlot primarily focuses on feeder lambs, approximately 180,000 annually… Read Full Source Story.

Dick Monfort – 2012 Recipient

Dick Monfort, scion of one of the West’s most prominent cattle families, will be honored by Colorado State University’s Department of Animal Sciences as 2012 Livestock Leader for his role as a champion of the nationwide beef industry and for high-impact philanthropy that benefits agriculture. Monfort is owner/chairman and chief executive officer of… Read Full Story.

Cleon Kimberling – 2011 Recipient

His business card says Cleon Kimberling specializes in sheep health and bicycling. An unlikely combination. But it’s a perfect description of Kimberling: The 81-year-old veterinarian, who lives east of Fort Collins, is known throughout the West for tackling sheep illness and disease, and he’s dedicated to riding his recumbent-style bicycle for his own health… Read Full Story. 

Award Recipients from 2001 - 2010

Randy Blach – 2010 Recipient

Blach is CEO of CattleFAX, an organization focused on helping member cattle producers make more profitable marketing and management decisions. Blach came to CattleFAX in 1981 and served as director of market analysis for 15 years before accepting his current role in 2001. He has been a keynote speaker at hundreds of cattle and beef industry… Read Full Story.

Dallas Horton – 2009 Recipient

Horton was born in Sheridan, Wyo., and raised on a sheep and cattle ranch in eastern Montana. After graduating from high school in Broadus, Mont., he served in the U.S. Army. Upon return from the service, Horton attended Montana State University majoring in pre-vet. Horton later graduated with his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.

Polly Johnson – 2008 Recipient

Born in 1933, Polly is the daughter of Blanche and Don Collins. She grew up at Collins Ranch near Kit Carson, Colorado riding horseback, checking pastures, and working cattle. Polly graduated from Kit Carson High School in 1952, and continued… Read Full Story. 

Thomas Bradbury – 2007 Recipient

During the Animal Sciences Social at the National Western Stock Show in January, Mr. Thomas H. Bradbury was honored by the Department as the 2007 Livestock Leader of the Year. His portrait joins the others in the front entrance of the Animal Sciences building on the CSU campus.

Robert D. Josserand – 2006 Recipient

Robert D Josserand was born in Pratt, Kansas on June 24, 1931. He graduated from Colorado State University in 1953 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science. He served as President of Pro Cattle Company from September, 1973 to December, 1979, when the company was acquired by AZL Cattle Group consisting at various times of as many as five cattle feed lots in Texas, Nebraska and Arizona, with combined one-time capacity of approximately 200,000 head.

Merlyn Carlson – 2005 Recipient

Ag Secretary Mike Johanns announced May 16 the appointment of Merlyn Carlson as the deputy under secretary for USDA Natural Resources and Environment. Carlson will begin his new duties on June 13, 2005. Merlyn Carlson was appointed director of agriculture for Nebraska in

Bob Shideler – 2004 Recipient

Bob is a native Coloradoan. He enrolled at Colorado A&M in the Fall of 1941. World War II interrupted his schooling and her served 2 years int he Navy, serving in the South Pacific Theater, which included Okinawa, Iowa, Jima and the Philippines operations. He returned to Colorado A&M and graduated in 1948 with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine.

Jack Maddux – 2003 Recipient

Jack Maddux is a third generation cattleman from Wauneta, Nebraska, is manager of the family ranch operation that his family established over a hundred years ago. Maddux graduated from CSU in 1953 and served a tour of duty as an Air Force Pilot.

Chuck Sylvester – 2002 Recipient

Charles Walter Sylvester Jr. was born in Greeley, Colorado in 1937. He is the fourth generation Sylvester raised on the family farm, located right along the South Platte River in LaSalle. He served as General Manager of the National Western Stock Show for 25 years.

Don Ament – 2001 Recipient

Don Ament is a farmer and rancher in Northeast Colorado. After 12 years in the Colorado General Assembly, Don was appointed as Commissioner of Agriculture in 1999. Nationally, Ament chaired the American Legislative Exchange Council’s Task Force on Agriculture, and is considered an expert  in areas of water and property rights.

Award Recipients from 1991 - 2000

John Matsushima – 2000 Recipient

Dr. John Matsushima, a Colorado native and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University, has dedicated his life to serving Colorado’s livestock industry. During his distinguished academic career, he taught animal nutrition courses to more than 10,000 Animal Sciences students.

Topper Thorpe – 1999 Recipient

Topper Thorpe served as executive vice president of Cattle Fax to provide the beef industry with timely market information. His creative ability and personal attention has provided valuable management information to a national audience. Topper has three children who are all graduates of Colorado State University.

Jay Hickert – 1998 Recipient

Jay Hickert is a cattle feeder, rancher and farmer who, with his sons has expanded their operation to include feedlots in Nebraska. Jay has been involved in commercial banking and oil production, and has served in a leadership position with both bands and livestock organizations.

Jeanne & Miles Davies – 1997 Recipients

Jeanne and Miles Davies, leaders in Colorado’s agricultural industry, represent the proud Western tradition of family, livestock and community service. Both continue to give much of themselves to local, state and national organizations and to Colorado State University.

Nick Petry – 1996 Recipient

Stockman, businessman, community leader- all of these terms accurately describe Nick Petry. Under Nick’s leadership, the national Western Stock Show is recognized as the premiere livestock event of its kind. Nick is a lifelong supporter of the livestock industry in the West.

Perry Blach – 1995 Recipient

Perry Blach is a family man, cattleman, and supporter of Colorado State University. Following graduation from Colorado State, he returned to his Yuma ranch to raise Hereford cattle and a family of nine children, all of whom attended Colorado State.

Ed & Marilyn Hansen – 1994 Recipients

Ed and Marilyn Hansen represent the proud Western tradition of family, livestock and caring for one’s fellow and community. They have given time and support to the beef cattle industry and to Colorado State University.

Don & Donna Norgren – 1993 Recipients

Don and Donna Norgen have a long and distinguished history of support for the Colorado livestock industry. They have been active in the Hereford business at the state and national levels and their service to the National Western is extraordinary.

Sally Forbes – 1992 Recipient

Her role in the creation and development of the Red Angus breed of cattle. Her outspoken advocacy of performance breeding. Her contributions to the education of cattle producers in the principles of performance breeding and functionality in cattle.

Robert C. Norris – 1991 Recipient

His role as cowman, horseman, rancher, and entrepreneur. His contribution to Colorado State University with special emphasis on his role in the building of the new Equine Teaching and Research Center. His leadership in various livestock organizations and civic groups, as well as his keen business sense as a chairmen of Texaco Shareholders Equity.

Award Recipients from 1981 - 1990

Ben Houston – 1990 Recipient

His long association with the beef cattle industry and in particular his role in breeding Angus and Brangus cattle. His leadership roles as President of the National Western Stock Show, President of Colorado Cattle Feeders, member of National Beef Promotion Board and member of the board of Colorado State University Foundation.

James P. “Tom” Camerlo, Jr. – 1989 Recipient

A highly successful Colorado Dairy Farmer and Businessman. A successful leader in State, Regional and National Dairy Marketing Cooperatives. Currently [in 1990] serving as President of Western Dairy farmer’s Cooperative, Inc. and the National Milk Producers Federation.

Ben Kettle – 1988 Recipient

His commitment to the beef cattle industry in Colorado and the United States. His success as a breeder of commercial and registered Hereford cattle. His role in the founding of and continual support of the Colorado Beef Improvement Program.

Kenneth W. Monfort – 1987 Recipient

His world renowned leadership in Animal Agriculture – Including cattle feeding, packing and processing industry, meat merchandising and meat distribution. He influenced the pioneering movement of beef packing plants from urban consumer areas to the sources of cattle and was among the first to begin large-scale beef fabrication.

Howard “Stony” Stonaker – 1986 Recipient

His outstanding contributions to animal agriculture through the development of inbred lines, and subsequent crossing of lines of beef cattle. His pioneering efforts in the field of performance testing of beef cattle and the introduction of ultrasonics to animal improvement.

Award Recipients from 1971 - 1980

George D. Young – 1976 Recipient

In recognition of his contributions to the livestock industry and improvements through breeding cattle. His well known success as a livestock breeder throughout Elbert County and the surrounding area. His operation being the oldest in Colorado under continuous family ownership.

Field Bohart – 1973 Recipient

Public and private service to Colorado agriculture and the beef cattle industry in particular, service which has not only improved the quality of livestock produced in the state but has also improved the living conditions for numerous families and individuals engaged in agricultural production.

David C. Rice, Jr. – 1972 Recipient

His professional and personal contributions, not only to the cattle industry but to agriculture as a whole, through the development of strong organizations, which provide effective support for the agricultural industry in the State of Colorado.

William D. Farr – 1971 Recipient

His outstanding contributions to the livestock industry through his participation in national, state and local organizations. His personal accomplishments in farming, ranching and cattle feeding during the past 42 years in the Greeley, Colorado area.

Award Recipients from 1960 - 1970

Nate Patton – 1970 Recipient

In recognition of his interest and support of sound cattle improvement methods and range management practices as exemplified in his own operation. His contributions through civic participation and leadership in livestock and grazing associations on national, state, and local levels.

Paul W. Swisher – 1969 Recipient

In recognition of his outstanding record of service and devotion to the livestock industry of the state. His efforts in organizing and establishing the Colorado Department of Agriculture and seventeen years of meritorious leadership as Commissioner of that Department.

Warrem Monfort – 1968 Recipient

For foresight and courage in pioneering in a large commercial cattle feeding operation. For confidence in the livestock industry as evidenced by his investment in a large modern cattle and lamb slaughtering and fabricating plant. For devoted service to Colorado State University particularly in land acquisition and campus development.

Farrington R. Carpenter – 1967 Recipient

For extraordinary work toward beef improvement, better ranching and a stronger livestock industry. For cooperation in and numerous contributions to agricultural research in Colorado. For public service to his neighbors, community, and government.

Donald M. Hamil – 1966 Recipient

For outstanding contribution and achievement in agriculture, livestock feeding and marketing. For unselfish effort in the livestock industry on behalf of others and the State of Colorado. For pioneering improvements in the rural areas of his community.

Leonard Horn – 1965 Recipient

For his nationally recognized efforts toward improving the productivity and efficient use of both public and private lands. For his extensive leadership in livestock and agricultural organizations at national, state and county labels.

James Henry – 1964 Recipient

For outstanding contributions to the livestock industry and to agriculture through many county, regional and state organizations and institutions. For his personal success in developing a model irrigated farming and livestock operation which produces prize winning dairy cattle and swine, market-topping beef cattle, and record crop yields.

H.G. Berthleson – 1963 Recipient

For his unselfish contributions to the livestock industry of Colorado and the nation through local, state and national organizations. For his personal accomplishments in agriculture from a modest beginning on his father’s homestead in Wyoming to large successful Western Colorado ranch producing quality commercial cattle.

L.A. Biddle – 1962 Recipient

Since establishing his purebred Brown Swiss herd in 1938, he has provided the leadership, enthusiasm, and incentive for many persons to get started in the dairy business, without thought of profit to himself and frequently at considerable sacrifice.

John C. Holtorf – 1961 Recipient

Mr. Holtorf was graduated from Sterling High School in 1925 and attended Colorado State University from 1925 to 1929, where he majored in animal husbandry. He began ranching on the Buffalo Springs Ranch in 1930. Since buying that ranch in 1942, he has expanded the operation until it now [in 1961] comprises 7,000 acres.

Robert B. Broad – 1960 Recipient

No biography available.