On Monday night, seven-time All-Around World Champion roughstock rodeo athlete Ty Murray spoke about his lifelong love and commitment to livestock, especially horses, at the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor (KCAHC) Homecoming event in Kansas City. Held at Hale Arena, home of the prestigious American Royal, Murray addressed over 750 animal health industry professionals who support the Corridor, a 300 mile diameter area spanning from Manhattan, Kan. to Columbia, Mo., that is home to more than 220 animal health companies.

A western-themed event include greeters from the Saddle & Sirloin club on horseback, and dignitaries were brought to the stage in a wagon courtesy of Tim and Terry – the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine’s mule team.

Murray talked about riding bareback and saddle broncs as well as bulls in his career that started when he was a young boy and how his love and fascination with horses and livestock drove him to become a legend in the sport of rodeo. Now retired, Murray spends time on his 2,100 acre Texas ranch where he has created a “retirement home” for many of the national bucking horses that have retired from the sport. Murray spoke about his work that helped shepherd the National Day of the Horse unanimously through the U.S. Senate, encouraging Americans “to be mindful of the contribution of horses to economy, history and character of the United States.”  

Also featured at the event was American Royal Chairman David Fowler who discussed Kansas City’s agricultural roots beginning with the stockyards history from 1871. The influx of livestock into the stockyards created a need for vaccine and supplies to maintain them, thus Kansas City became a natural home for emerging animal health industries in later decades. Added to that, the veterinary and ag schools at Kansas State University and the University of Missouri made “the Corridor” a natural place for animal health companies to locate.

The 2011 KCAHC Iron Paw award was given this year to Joerg Ohle, Region Head for Bayer HealthCare Consumer Care. Ohle was responsible for seed money from Bayer Animal Health in 2006 to help launch the Corridor. The Kansas City area accounts for 32 percent of the $19 billion global animal health industry.

The Corridor, anchored by Manhattan, Kan. and Columbia, Mo., is home to more than 220 animal health companies, which represents the largest concentration in the world.