Cattlemen’s Congress, a unique event focused exclusively on cattle shows, has been awarded the prestigious Venture Forum Economic Impact Award. The Oklahoma-based organization was established in the winter of 2020 to provide a venue for cattlemen and cattlewomen across the United States to showcase and market their elite purebred genetics.
The award-winning event was born out of necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the National Western, a major livestock show in Denver, was canceled. The first-ever Cattlemen’s Congress filled the void left by the canceled show, initially planning to operate for just one year.
“There was a lot of concern by the agriculture industry nationwide and cattlemen across the US that they had to keep that cattle industry moving from many different perspectives, from marketing, from their livelihoods, and also even a little bit to the food chain,” said Tyler Norvell, Secretary of the Board for Cattlemen’s Congress. “So Oklahoma stepped up, and we hosted the first-ever Cattlemen’s Congress to fill in for the National Western”
However, due to its tremendous success and the positive economic impact on Oklahoma City, the event continued. Tyler Norvell and Bray Haven, Executive Vice President, explained that their event is unique in that it focuses solely on cattle shows, without any additional components such as rodeos or carnivals. The strategic location of Oklahoma City at the crossroads of major highways I-40 and I-35 allows for easy access and places the event in the heart of cattle country.
“We’re right here in the heart of cattle country,” said Haven. “Oklahoma’s got a lot of cattlemen, a lot of people in the purebred cattle industry, but just simply right here in the middle of the US helps us a lot too. Makes us unique.”
The Cattlemen’s Congress has drawn participants from 44 states and 5 countries, with exhibitors representing 60% of the US herd. The Venture Forum Economic Impact Award recognizes the exceptional contribution the event has made to Oklahoma City and the state as a whole.
As they look to the future, the organization aims to continue growing and expanding, particularly by involving more international visitors. They also plan to focus on educational conferences that teach cattlemen about industry trends, technology, and meeting consumer demands.
“One thing we’re really starting to focus on now is international visitors,” said Haven. “We’re really expanding in South America and the interest there. The way we see it is that’s really our opportunity to grow because these first three years, we’ve really captured as much of the market as we probably can in the US.”
Both Norvell and Haven expressed their gratitude for the recognition from their peers and emphasized the hard work and dedication of the entire Cattlemen’s Congress team. The event’s success is a testament to the spirit of Oklahoma and the support it has received from various stakeholders, including the governor, state legislature, Oklahoma City Chamber, and Visitors Bureau.
“Winning this award is just a true testament of Oklahoman hospitality and the good people of Oklahoma and the good policy that we have here, the good leadership that we have here in our state,” said Haven.
The 2023 OVF Awards will take place at the Oklahoma History Center on May 18th, 2023, from 11 am to 1:30 pm. Details and tickets are available at www.ovf.org