Buffalo Creek Red Angus honored with John V. Robbins Distinguished Service Award
Jack and Gini Chase of Buffalo Creek Red Angus, Leiter, WY, were honored at the National Red Angus Convention in Mahnomen, MN, Sept. 16-19, as the recipient of this year’s John V. Robbins Distinguished Service Award. Greg Comstock, executive secretary of the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA), presented the award to Chases.
The Distinguished Service Award is presented to a family or individual who has emulated John Robbin’s selfless contributions toward the greater good of the Red Angus breed and its Association. Both Jack and Gini have served on the RAAA board of directors. Jack served as president of RAAA from 1984 to 1986, and Gini is a past member of the Strategic Planning Committee. “The Buffalo Creek herd has been a cornerstone of the breed,” said Comstock, “producing numerous high-use A.I. sires as well as some of the breed’s legendary cow families.”
In the summer of 2007, the Chases faced a daunting challenge when Red Angus was confronted with its first genetic defect, osteopetrosis (OS). The greatest research obstacle was a lack of affected calves from which samples could be tested, or a DNA test to identify the genetic mutation. The Chases committed to their own in-breeding experiment involving animals related to known carriers, and willingly incurred the expenses and risk of these matings in an effort to learn more about this defect.
“Of course, the Chases hoped these close matings would produce a healthy calf crop, thus proving the animals in their herd were free of the OS mutation,” said Comstock. Unfortunately, this was not the case and, upon the birth of the first affected calf, the Chases notified RAAA and the ensuing research effort swung into motion.
When calves from a particular sire group were diagnosed OS positive, Chases, along with the bull’s other owners, waived their right to appeal, wanting instead to inform their fellow breeders as soon as possible.
In accepting the award, Gini Chase mentioned the irony of the situation, and how her family had struggled with the prospect of dispersing the Buffalo Creek herd prior to 2007. “Certainly,” she said, “it would have proved of great financial benefit for us, but the opportunity to perform all those close matings and produce the affected calves in one location would have been lost.”
“Jack and Gini were relentless in helping the breed manage this defect, to the point of incurring substantial personal expense and potential peril to their own operation,” said Comstock. “It was these selfless and untiring efforts that make them very worthy recipients of the John V. Robbins Distinguished Service Award for 2009.”