KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Matt Copeland, Nara Visa, N.M., was selected as the 2011 Hereford Herdsman of the Year at the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) in Denver. Matt was selected for the award by his peers — other Hereford herdsmen and breeders — and was honored prior to the selection of the supreme champion Hereford on Jan. 15.
Matt is the fourth generation to make Herefords a business on the family’s New Mexico ranch, Copeland and Sons, which has been in operation since 1943. Today, the Copelands run about 130 registered Hereford cows and 400 commercial cows. In addition, they also manage 80 cows used for the production of club calves.
He attended Dodge City Community College, where he competed on the livestock judging team and placed in the Top 10 in hogs and cattle at the North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) national collegiate livestock judging contest. He graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2007 with a degree in animal science, and returned to the home operation, where he serves as herdsman today.
Matt has seen a great deal of success in the Hereford showring. The greatest, he said, came during the 2005 Junior National Hereford Expo, when he was named a finalist for the Junior Hereford Herdsman of the Year; placed in the Top 10 of the national showmanship competition; and captured the reserve grand champion horned female title.
Gary Buchholz, GKB Cattle, Waxahachie, Texas, said Matt is a true cattleman and represents the Hereford breed well.
“Matt makes cattle and the Hereford breed a priority,” Buchholz said. “Ranching is a true family heritage, and it’s exciting to see a young herdsman come back to ranch with the family, and to have the integrity he possesses. Matt has earned the respect of Hereford breeders.”
Matt said he is overwhelmed by being named the Hereford Herdsman of the Year.
“To be put with the elite group of men that came before me is very humbling and honoring,” he said. “Never in a million years did I expect to be blessed with such a prestigious honor by all of the people that I’ve come to know, honor and respect in this breed.”