In January of 1963 Dad (Arnold Rueber) was looking for some replacement females for our commercial herd. Many females that Dad had looked at were just too small to suit him. In the 50's and 60's "baby beeves" as they were called were very popular. Dad liked to sell steers in the Chicago Stock Yards that would weigh over 1200 pounds and grade high choice or low prime. From the Stock Yards many of our steers went to the Cross Brothers in Philadelphia to be harvested. So, it was a challenge for Dad to find the cows that he wanted. One day he was at a farm sale that had 28 bred heifers and a couple of young cows being offered. These females were all Registered Angus and bred to a Registered Angus bull. Dad bought 12 of the bigger bred heifers. That day Dad intended to run them as commercial cows, but he did get the registration papers. When we got the registration papers, we looked them over and it all seemed Greek to us.
Dad started to look around for bulls to use on these females and found it very difficult to find the right bull. Dad decided, that if it was that hard to find Angus bulls with size to match these females, that we should really go out and find the right bulls to use on them and start selling bulls. He knew that we weren't the only ones that were looking for this type of bull. So we started studying pedigrees and looking for the right bulls. The pedigrees on these females were not very popular in the early 60's. Six females had Earl Marshall 8 times in the first 6 generations. The others weren't as intensely Earl Marshall bred, but were females also of size. But by the late 60's, when the type change came, we had some extremely popular pedigrees. Dad found some bulls that did a good job for us, never quite found what he was looking for until he went to Canada.
In 1969 Dad went to Canada and bought several bulls. One bull was Barbarian Jumbo 13Y. Jumbo was three years old when Dad purchased him and he had been used 2 seasons by the Armstrong's in Canada. He really did a nice job for us. S&W bought some females from the Armstrong's. One of these cows had a bull calf at side sired by Barbarian Jumbo 13Y that went on to be the 4th high selling bull at the National Western Stock Show Angus Bull Sale in 1971. Bar Heart Wintons Image shown by Omega Cattle Corp. was the 1975 International Grand Champion Bull and his dam was a daughter of Barbarian Jumbo 13Y.
At this time our herd had grown to over 100 cows and was really taking off. On that trip Dad had also purchased a bull called, "Old Town Lancelot." This bull was a solid breeding bull. Lancelot sired a daughter that was the top selling cow calf lot in the 1975 O'Neill sale. She had a Marshall Pride 514 daughter at side. In the spring of 1971 Dad went back to Canada and bought 6 more Canadian bulls. Grassy View Marshall was purchased on this trip. He was a descendent of Earl Marshall and sired several bulls that were in the top five selling bulls at the Iowa State Sales. He left us a lot of really nice daughters to build our herd around. Also, on this trip Dad bought Ed Rene Black Enchanter. This bull also had a big influence on our herd. With these bulls in place we were able to build our cow numbers up to about 200 cows. But we soon found that was just more cattle than we were able to take care of properly. So, we soon sold down to about 160 cows. Today we run just under 100 cows.
In 1977 we were at the Iowa State Sale and we were stalled right across from Gary Davis's two bulls. These bulls were sired by Sir Big William 1722 (known as "Lightfoot"). We bought the bull called, "GD Lightfoot 16." We called him, "Lightning." Lightning was the Iowa Bull of the Year in 1978. He won many shows and did very well at many major shows across the country. He sired females that won many shows and a class winner in the February Junior Yearling class at the National Angus Show. He also sired the 2nd place March Junior Yearling, as well as the 3rd place April Junior Yearling. (In 1980 the Iowa State Fair Angus Show was the National Show and was considered equal to North American and National Western for points. The National Show rotated to various other shows each year at that time.) Lightning also sired the top selling Angus female at the 1980 Iowa Beef Expo selling to Carol Ann Jensen from Plainfield, Iowa. A son of his was the Junior Calf Champion and another son was Junior Champion at that Beef Expo.
In the early 80's our children were small and Dad had a few health issues. The cattle type in the shows was going a direction that we didn't feel comfortable selling to our commercial customers. It all came together to make us think twice about showing and the decision was made to quit showing. We placed more emphasis on performance cattle. We had already found a scale to use the first year that we raised Registered Angus cattle. We have had official AHIR records ever since the late 60's. Performance had always been important to us, so it was an easy transition.
Our children did show and gained many valuable experiences from showing, but they showed the animals that we had that were more bred to be performance cattle. They had some good days, but they had to show what we had. Laurie won a class at the 1997 Regional Junior Heifer show in Lincoln, Nebraska. Michael stood second with a steer in the 1991 National Junior Heifer Show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At that show Jennifer Maurer had the Grand Champion Carcass Steer. This steer was sired by a son of our "Lightning" bull.
We have tried to stay on the cutting edge of technology. We were one of the first to use ultrasound to help improve carcass traits. We were one of the first to use GeneStar to improve tenderness, then added marbling (when available), and then feed efficiency. We were one of the first to use Igenity Profiles to enhance our Epd's. Today we use the AngusGS to enhance Epd's and share with our customers.
We have seen many changes in the cattle business since 1963. But we have always worked to produce bulls that would be profitable for our customers to use. Our goal is to produce bulls that don't have any glaring holes. We strive to breed cattle with good feet! If the feet aren't good, the bulls won't breed well. All the great genes that we try to breed in won't mean much if the bulls don't go out and do a good job breeding. We look for docile cattle. Most of us are getting older and quiet cattle are just safer to be around and do better in the feedlot and on the rail. Most of our bulls are 6 to 7 frame. These bulls are big enough to go out and breed a nice number of cows as yearlings. They sire steers that can go to 1400 or 1500 pounds without being over fat. If you want to push them hard you can finish the steers smaller. The heifer mates will finish about 100 pounds smaller than the steers. We want to be known for functional no holes cattle.
Written by Doug Rueber