By Loretta Gillespie
The Cullman Times
The Cullman County Cattlemen and Women are making plans for their annual meeting which marks the 60th anniversary for the Cattlemen and the 40th anniversary for the Cattlewomen. This year’s meeting will include a special guest, Baxter Black, renowned cowboy poet and newspaper columnist, as keynote speaker for the event.
According to his biography, Baxter Black is also a former large animal veterinarian and entertainer of the agricultural masses. For over 25 years, he traveled the U.S. and Canada, scattering his wit and left-handed observations to folks looking for a bright spot in their day.
He sold over one million books and audios, has a weekly column, and hosts both a weekly radio program and a weekly television program. He credits his success in part to National Public Radio, public television, Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, Random House and USA Today.
“We had him here 10 years ago,” said Cullman County Cattlemen’s Association President Steve Lake. “He is a huge draw. Everyone really turns out for him.”
The Cullman County Cattlemen’s Association was first established in 1953, they have been active locally, proving themselves to be good neighbors and promoting beef throughout Cullman County. They have grilled beef at hundreds of charitable events, given many scholarships to the youth of Cullman County, and have been the largest sponsor of the youth county livestock program.
Since 1994, the Cattlemen and Women have probably been best known for their ribeye steak sandwich sales each Memorial and Labor Day weekends. The first sale was a huge success, totaling 1,800 sandwiches. The past few years they have been even more successful, averaging sales of 5,000 sandwiches per weekend. This figure calculates to over 24 tons of beef since 1994.
“Each year at the annual meeting we kick off our membership drive,” said Lake. “This year we hope to put Cullman County back as number one in membership for the state.”
“Although Cullman produces more beef than any other county in the state our current membership ranks us as fifth. We would like to get our county back to the number one position it has held for many years in the past,” said Lake.
Contrary to what some people think, you don’t have to own cattle to be a member. You simply need to enjoy eating beef. According to Lake, joining the Cattlemen’s or Women’s association is simple. The membership fee is $30 for men and $12 for ladies. The men’s membership fee provides a subscription to the Alabama Cattlemen’s magazine and two delicious steak dinners, including our annual meeting featuring Baxter Black,” Lake explained. “The ladies membership also includes the two delicious steak dinners mentioned above. Having a large membership in our local and state association ensures that we have strong representation in Montgomery on beef issues and helps to promote a lean and healthy food product.”
The annual meeting will be at the McGukin Civic Center Jan. 19, 2013. Registration will begin at 5 p.m. The program is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. You may join the Cattlemen’s association that evening or you may contact Steve Lake at 256-747-4052 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to pre-register and pay your membership dues.
Baxter Black spoke at the Jan. 11, 2003, Cullman Cattlemen and Cattlewomen's membership drive. There was a standing ovation after his program. Usually the meetings adveraged between 200-250 people. That night, there were a total of 644 members — making the Cullman association the largest in the United States that year.
"I sold a lot of books that night," Black laughed.
Black travels extensively, bringing his cowboy humor, poetry and wisdom to cities from coast to coast. His love of animals and people make him a much sought-after speaker.