Birdwell honored by Oklahoma State
The "voice" of Oklahoma State University bull sales, James Birdwell of Fletcher, has been honored as a 2005 OSU Animal Science Distinguished Service Award recipient.
"For many years, Jim has traveled to more than 30 states on an annual basis as a livestock auctioneer, but he is perhaps best known to many for his auctioneering work at the university related Oklahoma Beef Incorporated bull sales and OSU Cowboy Classic sales," said Don Wagner, head of OSU's department of animal science.
Raised in Fletcher, Birdwell enrolled at OSU in the fall of 1963 and majored in agricultural education. While at OSU, he was a member of the junior and senior livestock judging teams under the guidance of animal agriculture luminaries Jack McCroskey, Dusty Rich and Don Pinney. Upon graduation, he accepted a vocational agriculture teaching position in Union City.
Birdwell switched careers in 1972, purchasing some of the family land in Fletcher and accepted a position as area coordinator for the American Polled Hereford Association. He covered Oklahoma and Kansas for the association and the Polled Hereford World magazine.
"While selling advertising and working the ring at purebred sales, Jim became interested in becoming an auctioneer," Wagner said. "He learned the sales management and auctioneering business from his friend and fellow OSU alumnus Eddie Sims of National Cattle Services. In 1978, Jim struck out on his own and has never looked back, becoming one of the nation's leading livestock auctioneers, especially for cattle and horses."
The Fletcher-based Birdwell, along with his wife and fellow OSU alumnus Jeanne, operate a 300-head registered Hereford and Angus cattle operation. The family ranching enterprise also features a small band of quarter horse mares and a stallion that provide ranch-oriented horses to producers throughout the country.
Birdwell currently serves as president-elect of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association. He is also a member of the Oklahoma and national associations of Hereford and Angus cattle, as well as the American Quarter Horse Association.