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The Livestock Marketeers inducted two honorees--C.K. "Sonny" Booth and Chuck Grove--into their "Hall of Fame" during the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colo. They're shown with the friends who "roasted" them (left to right): Jim Shirley, St. Joseph, Mo.; Matt Caldwell, Parker, KS; Dave Mullins, White Post, Va.; Chuck Grove, Forest, Va.; Sonny Booth, Miami, Okla.; Andy Rest, Shepherd, MT; Mark Smith, Ankeny, Iowa; Doug Paul, Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Neil Orth, Kansas City, Mo. (Courtesy photo.)
Livestock Marketeers Hall of Fame inducts six
The Livestock Marketeers--an informal fraternity of livestock fieldmen, auctioneers, sale managers and related livestock business leaders--met for their 44th Annual Banquet in conjunction with the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colo., on Jan. 17.
2009 honorees included auctioneer C.K. "Sonny" Booth, Miami, Okla., and American Angus Association regional manager Chuck Grove, Forest, Va. They were "roasted" by their friends and colleagues at this event, hosted by American Live Stock, Geneva, Ill. Master of ceremonies was J. Neil Orth, executive vice president of the American-International Charolais Association.
Four posthumous honorees were also added to the Hall of Fame display that hangs in the National Western Club, on a special plaque provided by Crow Publications, Denver, Colo. They are Bobby Baker, Don Eiten, Terry Jaschke and Lee McCoy.
The Livestock Marketeers group was started in 1965 by Harry Green, Ross Miller and Claud Willett. Their purpose was to form a fraternal organization of livestock professionals, and to make annual awards in order to stimulate younger members of the industry to succeed in their chosen profession.
"Sonny Booth has been good for the business," said Mark Smith of Grassroots Genetics & Consulting, who opened the roasting of the Oklahoma auctioneer. "He's always positive, never negative, and his incredible sense of fairness is amazing."
A native of Miami, Okla., C.K. "Sonny" Booth attended Oklahoma State University and was a member of the livestock judging team, as well as the Block and Bridle club and Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. The OSU team won the National Western Stock Show competition in 1963, with Sonny claiming High Individual honors.
He's been an auctioneer for nearly 40 years, working with all breeds of cattle and horses. Sonny has served as auctioneer for more than 4,000 livestock sales, and travels 200 days a year selling purebred livestock. For the past several years, he's also been affiliated with Williams & Williams Auction Co., Tulsa, Okla., specializing in premier farm and ranch properties.
Sonny is a member of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association, the National Auctioneers Association, and the North American Limousin Foundation. He is a past president of NALF, and was honored in 1997 by the Oklahoma Limousin Breeders Association with its Lifetime Achievement Award.
"His trademark is his chant, his diction, and he has a really great eye for cattle, too," noted Andy Rest of the American Angus Association.
"Sonny's one of the great ones," agreed Doug Paul of the Stock Exchange. "There's no greater thing than a friend, and Sonny Booth is our friend."
The Booth family includes his wife, Mary, and three daughters: Kym, Kelli and Rachel.
For the past 34 years, Chuck Grove of Forest, Va., has served the American Angus Association as a regional manager, representing the Angus breed in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, and previously, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.
Chuck works closely with the Association and Angus Publications, Inc., publisher of the Angus Journal and Angus Beef Bulletin, to assist purebred and commercial breeders in selling and obtaining quality seedstock, advertising and promoting their programs, and works as a liason promoting programs and services provided by the Association and its entities. Chuck also managed the National Western Angus Bull Sale, the only Association-sponsored sale, for 23 years.
"He is truly the undisputed dean of the fieldmen," said Matt Caldwell of the American Angus Association. "We applaud your professionalism and your friendship."
Chuck's involvement in the Angus business goes back to his youth, as he was raised on his family's registered Angus farm. As an active 4-H and FFA member, Chuck represented Virginia on the 4-H livestock judging team and at the National 4-H Club Congress in Chicago, and served as a director of the Virginia Junior Angus Association. At Virginia Tech, Chuck was an active member of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and Block & Bridle club. He was employed as a student beef cattle herdsman for Virginia Tech's beef farm, and fit numerous champions for the University. Chuck was a member of the winning Virginia Tech livestock judging team.
Shortly after graduating from college in 1974, Chuck married Ruth. Together they raised two children, Jake and Rachel, who were also active in the VJAA.
"I am very honored and humbled," said Chuck, who recognized his own mentor, Dale Runnion, during his acceptance of the Hall of Fame honor. "I appreciate this award very much."
Bobby Baker was born in 1928 to Raymond and Hazel Baker. He graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1950, where he was a member of the Ag Club and Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, and roomed with former United States Senator Howard Baker, Jr.
Bobby served in the Panama Canal zone as a member of the United States Army.
His livestock advertising sales career began with the Livestock Weekly in Memphis, TN, in the early 1950s.
He joined the staff of The Drovers Journal in January 1971, where he was a top livestock advertising salesman--"a salesman deluxe," as noted by Neil Orth--until he left in 1987.
Bobby died in November 2002, leaving two daughers, Nita and Lee, and a son, Robert.
"Born a cattleman at heart" and following in the footsteps of his father, Lyle Eiten (1993), Don Eiten's induction to the Hall of Fame makes them only the second father-son honorees of the Livestock Marketeers, along with Ray (1966) and Robert (1986) Schnell.
Don grew up in Ladd, Ill., where his father had Angus cows, and learned the business of caring for and raising cattle from an early age. He showed steers in 4-H and was on the judging team in college. His first job after graduating from Western Illinois University was assisting in managing cattle sales with Rishel Livestock Service.
Ultimately, Don was able to follow in the footsteps of his father, Lyle Eiten, and became an advertising salesman/ringman for the ABC Farm Progress Company/Prairie Farmer Magazine. At that time, he returned to Illinois and settled in Peru, just a few miles from his childhood home, but traveling all over the greater Midwest for the Prairie Farmer. He truly loved meeting and working with people of the livestock industry. Don also started Eiten Sale Service, a small auction company, conducting sales of real estate, estate property and livestock.
Unfortunately, Don's time here was far too short. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003. When he became too ill to work, he commented that he wished he could just go to one more sale. He passed away in April 2004, leaving behind his parents, Lyle and Ellen; brothers Gary and Nicholas; wife Karen; two daughters, Megan and Kimberly; and his son, Andy. The marker for Don's grave bears symbols related to his two great passions--the St. Louis Cardinals emblem, and a black Angus cow.
A perfectionist who set high standards in the beef industry, Terry Jaschke was raised in Guthrie County, Iowa. A 1972 graduate of South Dakota State University, Terry received a degree in agriculture and a minor in journalism, and embarked on his career as a fieldman with Drovers Journal. In 1975, he accepted a position as the Iowa State Fair livestock manager, where he established the Avenue of Breeds. He returned to Drovers Journal in 1977. Throughout the 1980s, Terry continued his work in the field of ag journalism, serving as a field representative for The Limousin Journal and The Salers Stockman; in 1985, Terry began his "dream job" as a fieldman for the Wallaces Farmer/Missouri Ruralist.
An active 10-year member of Guthrie County 4-H, Terry received numerous awards and served as an Adair County 4-H leader for 8 years. In 2006, he was inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame.
Terry's life tragically ended when he suffered a brain aneursym while working a cattle sale in Springfield, Mo., in April 1993. His wife, Cathy, currently lives in Ankeny, Iowa. His oldest son, BJ, and his wife, Amy, reside in Polk City, Iowa, with their two children, Lauren and Lincoln. His youngest son, Mitch, lives in Des Moines, Iowa, and has twin sons, Kaleb and Cole.
Lee McCoy, born in 1947, grew up in Duncan, Okla. His father, H.A. McCoy, was one of the investors instrumental in importing Limousin cattle into the United States and had a prominent Limousin herd in Miami, Okla.
After graduating from Kansas State University and the Texas Christian University Ranch Management Program, he entered the U.S. Navy as a torpedo man in 1966.
Lee began his career as a livestock marketeer in 1972 with the Kansas Livestock Association, working as a fieldman for the Kansas Stockman magazine. When he left in 1976, he worked for various other papers, including Better Beef Business, Kansas Farmer, and his last stop, Missouri Beef Cattleman, in 1987.
In 1989, Lee entered the ag broadcasting field as assistant farm director for the Texas News Network. He continued to build an impressive broadcasting resume with various radio stations. He was voted Ag Communicator of the Year for Alabama, and Farm Broadcaster of the Year for the southern region of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters. In 2008, Lee returned to his passion for livetock sales for a short period as a sales representative for EDJE Technologies.
Lee lost his battle with cancer in May 2008.