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Working Ranch - March 2016

Montana’s 13 livestock auctions to 40%. Among his numerous personal recognitions are awards for Marketeer of the Year in 1977, Auctioneer of the Year from the National Auctioneers Association, Livestock Man of the Year in 1992, MetraPark’s Hall of Fame in 1995, Continuing Service Award in 1995 from the Beef Improvement Federation, Montana Family Business of the Year in 1996, National Family Business of the Year in 1997, Outstanding 4-H Alumni in 1998, National Auctioneer’s Association Hall of Fame in 1998, Montana Angus Association’s Excellence Award in 1999, Angus Heritage Foundation in 2000, and NILE’s Trail Blazer Award in 2000, Publisher of the Year in 2003, LMA’s Industry Leader Award in 2006, and LMA’s Industry Icon Award in 2009. In November 2011, perhaps Pat’s single most treasured accomplishment (short of his fine family) was his induction into the prestigious Saddle & Sirloin Portrait Gallery, founded in 1865 to pay homage to the greatest leaders to impact the livestock industry since the mid-1700s. His portrait was the 341st portrait to be hung at the Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center in Louisville. During the process of putting together Pat’s biography “As I Saw It,” his grandson Joe Cook contributed this accurate summation of his grandfather: “As a grandfather, father, husband, counselor, businessman, fan, friend, and person, he has blown the ceiling off of how to live the right way”. phone poles as he drove down the road to sell advertising. At the height of his career and although he never did go to an auctioneer school, Pat was recognized as one of the best livestock auctioneers in the western United States. Needing a microphone of his own to call home, in June of 1968, Pat bought the 28-year-old stockyards on Minnesota Avenue in Billings, Montana, and renamed it PAYS, the Public Auction Yards. Pat conceived of an idea for a ring scale and contacted a scale company to design one for PAYS. It took two semi-trucks to deliver the new scale and 70 men to install the huge apparatus. In 1977, Pat publicly recognized the value of the local ag industry to the community at large when PAYS hosted the first of many annual Farmer- Rancher Appreciation Day events-a tradition picked up about 1997 by the Billings Chamber of Commerce’s Ag Committee. In 2008, Pat’s two ag papers were merged into a single new paper called Western Ag Reporter. Not content to be a newspaper man, an auctioneer, and a stockyard man, in 1961, Pat bought his first ranch, the Vermilion Ranch east of Billings where he and Babe have raised three generations of children and a multitude of good blackhided Angus cattle. Never one to limit his endeavors, from 1984 to 1997, Pat also raised and sold Charolais cattle under the ranch name of Skymont Charolais. Like most successful businessmen, Pat used his talents and time to help his community and his industry. In the mid-1960s, Pat was instrumental in forming NILE-Northern International Livestock Exposition-and was honored to be elected its first president in 1967. In October 1971, Pat added another facet to his ag career by getting his real estate license and joining forces with Pat Wright to form Pat-Pat Land Company. Today, in 2015, Pat’s real estate firm-a new name (Premier Intermountain Properties) and new partners (his son John, his son-in-law Roger Jacobs, and his grandson-in-law Bryan Anderson)- has been instrumental in the sale of much valuable ranch real estate. A man with no spare time, Pat MARCH 2016 | WORKING RANCH | 97 Western Ag Reporter editor Linda Grosskopf spent three years researching and writing this 500 page hard cover book filled with photos and livestock industry history, as well as Pat’s biography. To order, send $50 postpaid to Book Order, Western Ag Reporter, PO Box 30758, Billings, MT 59107. donated countless hours over the years to community service through memberships and officer positions in diverse state and national organizations (ED: too numerous to list here). As father of six children of his own, Pat has always been an enthusiastic supporter of youth in countless ways. He sponsored high school girls’ softball teams and donated athletic and music equipment. He donated athletic scholarships to a number of Montana universities. His newspapers Pat married a lovely second grade teacher by the name of Babe Becker on December 26, 1951. have awarded college scholarships on a regular basis since 2006. In 1983, Pat bought a second stockyards, the Billings Livestock Commission. In 2007, Pat added a third auction market when he bought Western Livestock Auction in Great Falls, Montana, which brought his share of the total number of cattle marketed at


Working Ranch - March 2016
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