The Texarkana Stockyard tells a tale of both the past and the present as it reopens its gates after being closed for 13 years.
The stockyard, initially opened in 1940, recalls fond memories from former employee, Joe Harold Dawson, 71. Dawson now works as the stockyard’s ring manager and auction price setter, but he began working at the stockyard in the ‘60s, loading and unloading cattle from trailers.
“There would be as many as 3,600 head of cattle processed through here each week,” Dawson explained. “Back then [the 1940s], cattle sold for about 10 cents to 15 cents a pound, and the sales records had to be kept for at least five years.”
In 1962, stockyard operations adopted an auction format, a tradition that the newly reopened business continues.
The Texarkana Stockyard closed in 2000 after its owner, Cookie Coleman, decided to refocus his attention on other businesses that he was running on the side.
In June, Joe Littleton and his son, Jason, bought and reopened the stockyard. The computers clicking in the backroom tell of new times, but the stockyard still retains many of its traditions and charm.
“We processed about 400 cattle the first week,” Littleton said. “I just wanted to start a family business, selling cattle and serving the community.”
Littleton also serves as a pastor in New Boston. “It will be a Christian-oriented business,” he told the Texarkana Gazette. “We opened the business with prayer. We bring cattle here locally and ship them all over the U.S.”