2019 Black Hills Stock Show Stockman of the Year: Peterson’s L7 Bar Limousin
January 28, 2019
Peterson's L7 Bar Limousin, of Pukwana, S.D., will be honored as the 2019 Stockman of the Year at the Black Hills Stock Show (BHSS).
Rod Peterson recalls attending the Western Junior Livestock Show held at the Central States Fair Grounds for the first time in 1966.
"I was impressed, even at that young age, about the community in Rapid City and the stock show people I met who were so passionate about promoting the beef industry and working with agricultural youth," said Peterson. "That made a significant impression on me at that age, and it's why we continue to attend BHSS year after year with our Limousin bulls."
The Petersons have been raising Limousin cattle for nearly 50 years. After graduating from school, Rod and his wife, Wendy, returned home to the ranch to run cattle with Rod's dad, Harold. At that time, the herd consisted of commercial Angus and Hereford cattle, but Rod was looking for a way to improve performance on his calves.
"Along comes Limousin — the carcass breed — in 1968," said Peterson. "We wanted to increase our dressing percentage and curability in our feedlot cattle, so we began AI'ing to Limousin sires in 1970. It didn't take long for us to see a marked improvement in our weaning weights, but the big thing that got us excited was our dressing percentage went up and the number of Yield Grade 4s and 5s greatly reduced."
Peterson said neighbors started noticing the Limousin-cross calves in the pasture and were interested in buying bulls. Peterson sold his first three bulls to a neighbor in 1973, and that customer was still buying Peterson L7 Bar bulls in 2018.
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"We feel blessed to have been in this business for as long as we have, and we hope our family operation will continue with the fourth and fifth generations," said Rod. "We celebrated our 40th annual production sale last year, and our priority has always been taking care of our customers."
Today, Rod and Wendy are starting the transition to the next generation. Son Cade, his wife Erica, and their two children, Memphis and Rory, are taking on more of the day-to-day operations.
Rod and Wendy's son, Chisum, his wife Cindy, and their two children, Delaney and Kendall, live nearby in Chamberlain, where they run Peterson Land & Auction. And son, Quin, his wife Kelly, and their children, Chrome, Cash and Colt, live in Jenks, Okla. where Quin is self-employed in the agricultural business and Kelly runs a daycare.
"Chisum's work in the auctioneer business has given us a unique slant on business decisions we make on the ranch," said Peterson. "He's also served as the breed rep at BHSS for years. Quin's location in Oklahoma has also been helpful in better serving our Southern customers.
Truly a family affair, the entire Peterson family has been a fixture in the beef industry for decades, and Rod credits his family for the operation's longevity in the business.
"There's only two ways to get good help — marry it or raise it, and I was lucky to have done both," said Peterson. "Wendy has been my right-hand since day one. When we started AI'ing cows, she was the one on the saddle horse from daylight until dark helping me sort and pen cows. Once we started showing cattle, she was help in the barn brushing and blowing. She keeps the books and just does whatever needs done. None of this would have happened without her."
As the boys grew older, Chisum, Quin and Cade stepped up to help at home, as well. All three graduated from Oklahoma State University before pursuing various careers in the agricultural industry. Today, a highlight for Rod and Wendy is watching their sons and their families show L7 Bar cattle at 4-H and breed association events across the country.
A goal-oriented and focused family with a great passion for the Limousin breed, Peterson's L7 Bar Limousin has enjoyed great success in and out of the show ring. In 2015, Delaney Peterson won reserve champion female at the National Junior Limousin Show with L7 Breezy 413B, a daughter of Wulf's Xcellsior.
Petersons are three-time Supreme Champion bull winners at BHSS, taking the title in 1997, 2001 and 2017.
"BHSS has always been a great place to connect with customers and other breeders," said Cade. "That's why it's so important to us to keep participating and bringing bulls each year."
The Peterson family has also enjoyed numerous breed championships with bulls and females at the South Dakota State Fair. This year, grandson Memphis has earned success at winter jackpot shows with his heifer, MEMP Firefly, a Lim-Flex daughter of L7 Yuma 122Y, winning reserve champion feeder heifer at the 2018 Western Junior Show October, third overall heifer at the 2018 Tripp County Feeder Calf Show, and breed champion at the 2018 Jordan Mack Memorial Show, respectively.
"The cattle business is a great way to raise kids and teach them a good work ethic," said Cade Peterson. "It would be nice to see our kids stay in agriculture, but wherever they go in life, we want them to be happy and to know how to work hard to achieve their goals."
This year as Peterson's L7 Bar heads to the BHSS, they've consigned two bulls in the Limousin sale, sired by Wulf's Xcellsior and WZKR Atlas.
"It was a real shock to be recognized for this award," said Rod Peterson. "We've never tried to be the biggest operation; we've just always been a family business, and it never entered into my mind that we would be considered for this. To say the least, this was a real surprise."