The livestock industry is composed of numerous exhibitors, producers, livestock, and show rings; each with their own story and impact on the industry as a whole. It is the passion and time spent bettering the show cattle industry that titles our April 2011 inductee of the Hall of Fame. Although Bob May was born, raised, and resides in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, the impact of his dedication to cattle and youth has reached all corners of the United States.
Family makes up the foundation of Bobby May Show Steers and May Cattle Company. As he grew up showing cattle with his siblings, Bob and his wife Jodie have carried on the same tradition with their own children: Shea, Jaclyn, Brock, and Lauren, and his nephew Jon Gevelinger. For over twenty-five years, Bob has also had the help and support of Bruce Suddeth. His wife Janie and their two kids, Reid and Reagan, have become a second family. Bob’s passion for show cattle, however, does not stop with his own family. He enjoys selling calves and working with kids – passing on his knowledge and enthusiasm for cattle at the same token of forming friendships and memories. Bob finds working with generations of families extremely rewarding. Over the years, he has been blessed to be a part of numerous champions, but he does not seem to be one to keep a running record. Bob feels that if you are keeping track you become less competitive.
Bob’s impact on the cattle industry is wider spread then just the show ring. He has also been an Ambassador for Purina Feeds for four years. This has given him the opportunity to put on fitting clinics at the local, state, and national level. Bob loves teaching kids how to feed and take care of their animals and how to fit them for show day. To Bob, it is so much about the kids
Although Bob has placed his footprints on the cattle industry over the years, what established him as a credible and known breeder was raising the legendary bull Sugar Ray. His love and dedication to cattle, however, began at an even younger age. In fact, when Bob was young, his father won the carcass show at the Chicago International Livestock Exposition three years in a row. In addition to cattle, Bob dedicates himself to everything he is a part of. In high school, he was an individual State Wrestling Champion in 1972. He is now a member of the Allen E. Bauman Wrestling Hall of Fame. So while his life has been geared towards the cattle industry, he also loves watching Brock play baseball, witnessing Lauren compete in gymnastics, or just going to movies.
It is with great honor that The Showtimes inducts Bob May into the Hall of Fame. We know through both learning his history and working with him on both personal and professional levels, that he has a lot more to give to the cattle industry. As Bob would say, “I’m not much for looking back, I like to look ahead.” ▪
Bob took this opportunity to mention five individuals that were very strong influences instrumental to his start:
1. My family was very supportive. I have four sisters and a brother; I am the second oldest. My dad in particular – he was a very determined, strong willed man; always upbeat, a positive thinker. I have met a lot of great, honest people in my life, none more so then my dad. He passed away on June 27, 2003, the same day Brock won the Maine Junior Nationals in Springfield, Ohio. I miss my dad – he was a great man.
2. Mr. Bauman, my high school wrestling coach. At the time, wrestling was on my front burner. That man taught me how to be mentally strong; he made me believe in me. He, like my dad, believed quitting was not an option. Funny thing, when I graduated from high school, I actually thought I hated him, because at that age, I did not even realize what he had done for me. He pushed me hard. I have total respect for him.
3. Bruce Ivey – a local businessman, who helps operate a family owned construction company. Knowing that our family was financially challenged, Bruce, knowing my desire to compete with good cattle, helped to get my steer project started. I sort of got on the map, if you will, because of Bruce. I will always be grateful to him. We paid $575.00 for the 1975 Wisconsin State Fair Grand.
4. Paul Clapp – from Iowa – When I left High School, I did not attend college (I would not advise that today). I started custom fitting cattle and working production sales. When I met Paul, all I really owned was my pickup truck. The trailer I started pulling was loaned by Paul; the trim chute on the trailer was loaned by Paul. I did own the $250.00 steer on the trailer, but Paul found him for me on a set of feeder cattle in Canada – that steer later won the Wisconsin State Fair in 1978. Noteworthy, Paul helped me sell the first $5,000.00 steer ever; that steer was a full brother to Sugar Ray. He went on to win the American Royal for the Stutsmans of Iowa City, Iowa.
5. Steve Robbson, who was from a neighboring town. His mother co-signed a note so Steve and I could start up what turned out to be a very strong 200 head cow/calf operation. We operated that together for ten plus years. Steve was very instrumental in me becoming more financially established.
The unique thing about these folks that were such an influence to me is that they are all very honest, hardworking people. I hold them in the highest regard.
I always want to remember where I come from and who helped me get to where I am. I am grateful for the life I get to enjoy, my family, and the countless friends I have met along the way. I saw a T-shirt the other day, it said, “If you’re lucky enough to be born in America – you’re lucky enough...”
…Raising kids, competing, great work associates, and living in the greatest country on the planet.
(Information as of 2011)