The Shorthorn Heritage Award recognizes Shorthorn members who have shown exceptional leadership for Shorthorn activities in a state or regional area. These honorees are persons that have shown exceptional passion in all areas of the breed. Award recipients have promoted the breed by taking leadership roles within their respective geographical areas. They are individuals that can be given credit to helping with the long-term success of the breed at any level. They have attended functions, been a mainstay, and have shown their passion and love for the breed and the people in the breed. A Heritage Award winner is a true Shorthorn enthusiast who has positively impacted the breed to the benefit of all Shorthorn breeders.
Kenneth Rogers Bridges grew up as on a 140-acre cotton farm in Jackson County Georgia. He started showing beef cattle in 1951 as a member of the local high school FFA Chapter. This experience was his introduction to the Shorthorn breed. In 10th grade, Mr. Bridges decided he wanted to be a teacher of agriculture, and gained a higher education to reach this goal.
In 1960, Mr. Bridges became a vocational agriculture teacher and worked with students to develop a strong livestock program with an emphasis on Shorthorn show stock. His 32-year teaching career in vocational agriculture maintained a central theme in promoting Shorthorns as the breed of choice for his students.
In 1966, Mr. Bridges purchased the 140-acre farm he was raised on and began his registered Shorthorn herd. He has concentrated on the promotion of the breed throughout the Southeastern US and consistently strived to improve his own herd. His cattle have primarily been used for show stock throughout the region and as registered Shorthorn herd starter stock.
In 1972, Mr. Bridges was a founding member of the Southeastern Shorthorn Association and served as the President of the organization from 1980-1982.
In 1985, he was the Southeastern Delegate to the National Shorthorn Association.
In 1992, Mr. Bridges was the top Shorthorn recorder for the State of Georgia.
From 2001-2005, Mr. Bridges served as the President of the Jackson County Cattlemen’s Association.
Mr. Kenneth Bridges has tirelessly promoted the Shorthorn breed in the Southeastern United States. His cattle have won many championships both in same breed competitions and also against other British breeds combined.
He is greatly honored to be here today to receive the Heritage Award from the American Shorthorn Association.
Don Hutzel was born in Cincinnati and raised in the area of southwestern Ohio. His father was the oldest of a large family of brothers. Some of his brothers operated a farm in Warren County where they milked a herd of registered Jersey cattle. One of the official “Elsie” cows was bred there. Hutzel’s love and enthusiasm for purebred cattle began there.
Near Hutzel’s homeplace farm was a registered herd of Shorthorn cattle, Landen Farms. He had no experience in showing beef cattle but he was hired to help prepare the show cattle for some local fairs. This is how he got his start with beef cattle.
Hutzel enrolled in agriculture at Ohio State. Since he came from an urban/dairy background, he decided he wanted to make a name for himself in the beef cattle world. Hutzel spent his spare time at the beef cattle barns which is how he got to know Herman Purdy.
When Herman was hired to transfer to Penn State to improve their beef cattle herds, Hutzel was one of the few students that went to Penn State with Herman. They fitted and showed large numbers of cattle in all three of the major British breeds at state, regional and the International Livestock Exposition. Their most famous champion was the overall international champion steer, a Shorthorn named Troubadour.
After graduation and a short time in the Army, Hutzel took his first real job as herdsman at Acadia Farms, a purebred Shorthorn Farm near Cleveland, Ohio. Shortly after taking the herdsman position, he was offered the manager position. After some hard work and support, they had best 10 head at the International in 1960. During this time, Shorthorn cattle were greatly influenced by Scotch bulls. While at Acadia, Hutzel inherited two bulls, Calrossie Troubadour and Kinellar Napoleon. Much of what was done at Acadia was influenced by these two bulls.
After working for an Angus farm for a few years, Hutzel returned to Ohio to launch a career in cattle breeding working for AI companies.
Hutzel has had many successes from career, to family and everything in between. He says that he has seen cattle breeding come from the short-legged fat cattle, then giant lean cattle to where it is today. He believes that beef cattle breeding is on target for what the market desires and we now have great genetic tools to keep improving.
Rocky Branch Shorthorns began in 1978 when Lee, Joy and Hannah Kerby purchased three registered Shorthorns, a bred cow and two heifers. Joy grew up on a farm in Daisy, Tennessee, that was first a dairy and then a commercial beef cattle operation. Herman Yarnell, Joy’s father, used purebred Shorthorn bulls to cross with Hereford based cows. Dr. Fred Mitchell, breeder of the bulls, saved his best steer each year for Joy to show, fostering a lifelong love of Shorthorns and emphasizing the importance of Junior activities. Lee learned about cattle from the other end of the production chain from a father who had careers as a butcher and federal meat inspector. The log cabin home at Rock Branch Shorthorns shows the deep history of the Shorthorn breed. From the 1822 edition of the Coates Herd Book and Durham Ox print to the first active Shorthorn website, created in 1997, it is obvious the importance Shorthorns play for this family. Oil paintings, prints, books, sculpture, porcelain and stained glass portray an array of Shorthorn heritage and that’s before you’ve even seen the cows.
In 1986, with the home farm now located inside the city limits and facing encroachment on all sides, Rocky Branch Shorthorns moved to the Paint Rock Valley in Roane County, Tennessee. This farm is part of an original land grant. The old dogtrot house and double pen log barn date back to 1835.
The Shorthorn herd has grown significantly since the first purchase in 1978, numbering around 60 head, and now consists of primarily home bred cows with sire influence from Glengyron Shorthorns of Australia, Shadybrook Shorthorns and Masonic Homes.
Lee and Joy have had the pleasure of attending nine World Shorthorn Conferences and are planning on visiting Australia in 2019. Serving as Secretary for the 11th Shorthorn World Conference held in the US in 2004 provided an opportunity to return some of the outstanding hospitality received on previous trips, renew friendships, and meet and visit with the US breeders whose cooperation made the conference and tour such a success.
Some other Shorthorn Activities they have been involved in include: Secretary of the 11th Shorthorn World Conference organizing committee: Multiple terms as state delegate to annual ASA meeting, ASA committee chair; Multiple terms as ASA committee member; Multiple terms as director of the Tennessee Shorthorn Association; Long time supporter of Junior Shorthorn activities on national (AJSA), regional (Southeast Junior Shorthorn Assoc.), state (Tennessee Junior Shorthorn Assoc.) and local 4-H and FFA activities
Hannah lives outside Washington, D.C. She manages the website and computer logistics for Rocky Branch Shorthorns and joined Lee and Joy in welcoming the 11th World Shorthorn Tour to Roane County (where better to raise Shorthorns?) along with her late husband Dave. Hannah holds a Master’s Degree in International Agricultural Development from Texas A&M and is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture and Design. As an undergraduate at Duke she was able to obtain a summer internship at the Irish Ministry of Agriculture in Dublin through the Shorthorn connection with Austin Mescal, deputy agriculture minister.
The Shorthorn cattle and Shorthorn artifacts at Rocky Branch Shorthorns are important, but the most significant Shorthorn connections are with the people who love and promote this great breed, both here and around the world, now and for the future! They are honored to be named a Heritage Award Winner.