Oklahoma Cattleman’s Portrait To Be Hung in Saddle and Sirloin Club

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 1, 2023) -- Jarold Callahan of Edmond, Oklahoma, has been named the 2023 inductee of the prestigious Saddle and Sirloin Portrait Gallery.  Callahan will become the 378th member of this historic gallery and his portrait will be unveiled during an induction banquet to be held on November 14, 2023 during the North American Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky.  “I am extremely honored and humbled to receive this prestigious award,” said Callahan when told he would be the 2023 inductee.  The Saddle & Sirloin Club was established in 1903 to recognize significant leaders in the American livestock industry.  Originally housed in Chicago, the portrait gallery moved to Louisville in 1976.  It is considered the largest collection of portraits saluting animal agriculture leaders anywhere in the world.

“Many have benefitted from Jarold Callahan’s willingness to share his time, expertise, and leadership skills.  Throughout his distinguished career of service to the livestock industry, he has accomplished in multiple ways what each on its own merits consideration for this distinguished honor. His collective accomplishments as a teacher, coach, administrator, lobbyist, businessman, cattle breeder and industry leader are unparalleled.” says Dr. Mark Johnson, chairman of Callahan’s nominating committee.  Johnson added “Jarold’s impact on my life as mentor, teacher and friend is the driving force that compelled me to begin the nomination process.  I have come to realize through this process my experiences with Jarold are not unique. Former students, cattlemen from all segments of the beef industry, professionals from academia and government officials alike have shared stories documenting Jarold’s profound impact.“

Childhood and Education

Jarold Callahan was born and raised in the Osage grass region of northeastern Oklahoma near Welch on a diversified family farm and cattle operation. As a young man, his passion for farming and ranching was evident.  During his teen years, Jarold excelled as a student, an athlete and in livestock judging competitions.  His natural aptitude, desire and skill for leadership were evident throughout his high school and college years as he served as President of the Welch FFA Chapter, President of the Aggie Society at NEO A&M and President of the OSU Block & Bridle Club.  After completing his associate’s degree at NEO, Jarold earned a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from Oklahoma State University and graduated as one of the Top 10 Seniors in the College of Agriculture in 1976.  As a member of the 1975 OSU Livestock Judging team, Jarold was the second high individual overall at both Fort Worth and Houston, as well as the third high individual overall at Chicago.

Career in Academia

Jarold coached the Livestock Judging team at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M from 1976 through 1982 and served as Chair of the Agriculture Division.  During this time, Jarold earned a Masters of Agriculture, with an Animal Science emphasis, from the University of Arkansas in 1980.  While at NEO, Jarold was recognized with the Dobson Award for Outstanding Teacher in 1978 and the judging teams he coached finished as the High Team in 53% of the contests that they competed and were Champion or Reserve Champion team 89% of the time.

Jarold returned to Oklahoma State University where he served as an instructor and coached the Livestock Judging team from 1982 through 1991.  The livestock judging teams he coached won the American Royal four times and the 1985 team set the record for All-Time High Team Score.  Jarold coached two National Champion teams and co-coached a third.  He was recognized as the National Intercollegiate Livestock Judging Coach of the Year four times as his OSU teams won 42% of the contests in which they competed.  There was seldom, if ever, a national intercollegiate livestock judging competition in the late-80s that did not include several OSU team members in the Top Ten Overall and OSU as the high team in cattle.

Callahan won the Outstanding Teaching and Advisement Award for the OSU College of Agriculture in 1990. He served as Supervisor of the OSU Purebred Beef Center and Totusek Arena. In his role as Supervisor of the purebred herd, Jarold worked with Billy Yarbrough, owner of B&L Ranch to secure a substantial donation of equipment and Angus cattle to OSU which included the famed DF Empress 6079, a cow that would produce more than $1,000,000 of progeny at OSU.  Empress 6079, selected by Jarold from the B&L dispersal, set the standard for revolutionizing beef cattle type to a more moderate framed, wider built, deeper bodied, easier keeping kind.

Jarold enjoyed an outstanding professional relationship with Oklahoma State University Animal Science Department Chair, Dr. Robert Totusek, a past Saddle & Sirloin inductee, who relied heavily on Jarold to refine and execute his visionary ideas.  Together these two collaborated on and conducted two watershed events hosted on the OSU campus—the 1982 “National Steer Symposium” and the 1988 “Blueprint for the Right Kind”.

During his time in the academic world, Jarold served as mentor and coach to more than 300 livestock judging team students and taught thousands more.  His leadership and unparalleled ability as an evaluator shaped the minds of students and had a profound impact on the meat animal industry, particularly “ideal” beef cattle type over the past 45 years.  The success of his former students serves as a testament to his commitment to education, mentoring and personal development.

Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association

After leaving Oklahoma State to serve as Executive Vice President of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, Jarold led the formation of the OCA Foundation and negotiated a founding donation of land and purebred cattle from Billy Yarbrough of B&L Ranch.  In that role from 1991 through 1996, Jarold increased membership rolls, expanded services, broadened producer outreach and founded the Oklahoma Junior Cattlemen’s Association.

During his time at OCA, Jarold made time to attend the American Royal and assist with the Intercollegiate Livestock Judging Contest year after year.  After several years of assisting with the contest, he accepted the Royal’s offer and served as Superintendent of the American Royal Intercollegiate Livestock Judging Contest from 2001 through 2007.

Express Ranches

For more than a quarter century, Jarold has served as the President of Express Ranches.  Headquartered in Yukon, Oklahoma, Express Ranches serves all aspects of the purebred industry.  Express has been the American Angus Association high point Roll of Victory Breeder of the Year for the past 11 consecutive years.  This integrated operation markets more than 1,500 bulls and 1,200 purebred females per year and has been recognized numerous times by several different organizations as the largest purebred seedstock operation in North America.

No purebred breeding establishment in North America has contributed a larger volume of genomic test results or large contemporary group phenotypic weights and measures to the American Angus Association and American Hereford Association databases over the past decade than Express Ranches under the leadership of Jarold Callahan.

Lifelong Cattleman

Jarold’s involvement in the cattle industry is vast, encompassing commercial cow-calf production, stocker grazing and cattle finishing in addition to his internationally recognized success in the purebred sector of multiple breeds.  Jarold, with his wife, Jennifer and their son Ryan own and operate Callahan Cattle Company.  Including both a significant commercial cattle herd in the famous Osage country near Welch, Oklahoma where his family has ranched for generations and the purebred production of elite genetics bulls and females, as well as competitive junior show-heifer prospects at their home on the north side of Oklahoma City.  Jarold and Jennifer have served as Advisors to the Oklahoma Junior Angus Association and Jarold led the fundraising efforts for the 2015 and 2020 National Junior Angus Shows held at Tulsa.

Callahan Cattle Company and Express Ranches owned controlling interest of the Excel Feedyard at Watonga, Oklahoma from 2014 through 2021, and Jarold supervised operations and risk management for that 30,000 head one-time capacity feedyard and continues to use those facilities for development of Express Ranches bulls.  Jarold and Jennifer have personally owned and fed as many as 20,000 head of cattle per year for much of their married life and they are as invested in all aspects of the beef production chain as any family in the beef industry.

Legacy of Leadership and Impact

Jarold’s career reflects an ongoing commitment to agriculture with an intense focus on beef cattle production, marketing and improvement.  He contributed to the improvement of multiple segments of the beef cattle industry, and has been personally involved, serving various roles, in creating and updating the standards used to measure improvement which have changed exponentially over the course of his career.

Jarold has served as a show judge for virtually every major beef breed and every major livestock show in North America.  For more than 45 years, he has enjoyed sustained popularity as a livestock judge having officiated over 1,000 junior and open shows, including breeding cattle, market steers and market and breeding sheep in 33 states and Canada.

It is noteworthy that each educational institution at which Jarold Callahan has worked or earned a degree has recognized him with awards.  Both Oklahoma State University and the University of Arkansas have recognized Jarold as a Graduate of Distinction.  He has been inducted into the NEO Agriculture Division Hall of Fame.  As well, Jarold and Bob Funk, the owner of Express Ranches, earned the distinction of being recognized by the OSU Department of Animal Science with its Master Breeder award in 2014.

In response to the COVID cancellation of the National Western in 2021, Jarold worked hard to bring together breed associations, breeders and civic leaders to form a new entity and established the Cattlemen’s Congress livestock show in Oklahoma City.  Jarold has served as Chairman of this event since its inception.  The Cattlemen’s Congress has been a remarkable success!  It is a world class event that brings nearly 10,000 head of cattle, more than 2,700 exhibitors, and countless beef producers to Oklahoma City from nearly every state and five countries annually.  More than $10 million in beef genetics have been marketed during each year of the show, shattering sale records that go back decades.

Jarold served as a member of the American Angus Association Board of Directors from 2004 through 2012, serving as President and Chairman of the Board in 2012.  Jarold played a critical role in creating the Association’s policies regarding genetic defects and guided the adoption and implementation of policies that allowed the Angus breed and breeders to capture the genetic value of carrier animals while eliminating the deleterious recessive alleles from the population.  During his tenure on the American Angus Association Board of Directors, Jarold was an influential driver in the formation of the for-profit subsidiary Angus Genetics Inc. which allowed the American Angus Association to become the purebred industry leader in the development and application of genomic-enhanced EPD predictions and bio-economic indexes.

Jarold has always been generous with his time and talent by investing his effort in roles of leadership and advisement to a multitude of organizations.  Serving on the Oklahoma Beef Council Board from 2002 through 2008, Jarold was its Council Chairman in 2008.  In addition, Jarold was appointed by Governor Mary Fallin in 2016 to serve as a member of the Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents and he currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Regents.

The Portrait

An original oil portrait of Callahan, painted by renown artist Richard Halstead, has been commissioned and will be framed and hung when the award is presented at the North American International Livestock Expo in November.

In addition to Jarold’s recognition, he and his family have established a fund at Cattlemen’s Congress to provide financial support to ensure that future livestock industry leaders have access to the educational opportunities offered by the OSU Purebred Beef Center.  If individuals would like to support this cause, or contribute to the cost associated with the portrait and banquet, please make checks payable to: Cattlemen’s Congress, Inc. with the designation Callahan Saddle and Sirloin.  Contributions should be mailed to: Cattlemen’s Congress, Attention: Kass Newell, 21 Land Rush St, Oklahoma City, OK 73107