Osage County Cattlemen to hold 82nd convention

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital

For the 82nd consecutive year, the Osage County Cattlemen’s Association Convention is to be held in Pawhuska this weekend.

Preliminary activities begin downtown Thursday. The seventh annual Uncorked Art Show starts at 5:30 and dinner is to be served at Grill 125, 125 E. Main St., at 7 p.m. Dinner arrangements are $35 in advance and $45 at the door, and can be made through the Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce.

The remainder of the OCCA’s Convention events are centered around facilities at the Osage County Fairgrounds. Member Registration and the Cattlemen’s Trade Show open at 10 a.m. Friday in the OCF Ag Building and will continue throughout the day until 4 p.m.

At noon Friday, the spotlight will shine brightly for the Cattlemen’s Hall of Fame Luncheon. Prize-winning steaks provide regal fare at $15 for members and $20 for non-members.

This year’s OCCA Hall of Fame inductees — ranchers J.B. Smith and John Strom — will be recognized for their contributions to the cattle industry. Special honoree will be John Israel. (Event organizers are asking attendees to bring Israel spurs and bits that will be displayed.)

While no guest speaker is listed on the convention schedule, there will be an ample number of dignitaries available. The Cattlemen normally present “Born & Raised” Awards to 4-H members whose home-grown steers excelled at the Osage County Junior Livestock Show earlier this spring.

Updates on national and state legislative affairs, as well as technological developments and other matters of cattlemen’s interest are discussed in a membership meeting at the conclusion of the luncheon. The OCCA Oil & Gas Committee will also share information on key landowner issues.

Before and after the luncheon, attendees will have opportunities to visit with representatives from animal health companies and exhibitors of cowboy tack, furniture, jewelry, etc.

At 6 p.m., the talents of working cowboys and cowgirls are put on display at the OCCA Ranch Rodeo in the Fairgrounds’ Outdoor Arena. Competitions between representative county ranch teams will include some of the nation’s top real-life cowboys as four-person teams exhibit riding and roping skills while competing in calf branding, doctoring and wild cow milking.

The 8 a.m. complimentary Ranch Tour breakfast at the Ag Building will lay a high-carb foundation for Saturday’s convention activities. The Ranch Tour itself will proceed to showcase spreads of the North Central Osage before returning to the Fairgrounds for a noontime Barbeque Lunch. (Bargain-priced at $10 per plate.)

Invited contestants in the 63rd Annual Ben Johnson Memorial Steer Roping are introduced at the Ag Building around noon, shortly after the roper check-ins get underway. The BJMSR starts at 1 p.m. (admission $10, with children under 10 getting in for free) at the Outdoor Arena. For more information about the Ben Johnson Roping, or to purchase tickets, call (918) 338-9495.

Junior Steer Roping and Kid’s Dummy Roping get going at 2 p.m. just outside the arena. (There is no entry fee, but buckles are presented to the winners of three age groups: 5 & under, 6 -8, and 9 -11.)

After the Ben Johnson Roping, a Cattlemen’s Dance is to be held at the OCF Outdoor Stage adjacent to the arena. (Gates open at 6 p.m.) The Cripple Creek Band will provide the musical entertainment. Bring coolers and lawn chairs. Tickets are $5 per person, with children under 12 getting in for free.

David Chambers is the current OCCA president, while Shane Stierwalt is president-elect of the association. John Hurd Jr. will be the OCCA’s new first vice president and Taylor Reed is the incoming second vice president.

The OCCA Convention is considered the second largest cattlemen’s event in the state, behind the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association Convention. However, the Osage County Cattlemen’s Assocation actually organized more than 15 years before the state organization formed in 1950. (One of the OCCA’s new Hall-of-Fame inductees, J.B. Smith, was the OCA’s first vice president.) Osage County’s Association began hosting annual meetings and ranch tours in 1934.

For more information, visit www.oc-ca.com, or contact OCCA Secretary Jeanne Strom.