Parke & Hatmaker Family
Within the rolling hills of central Kentucky, the love of Agriculture and the beef industry has been bred into multiple generations of the Parke family. Today, a tarnished trophy sits above the entertainment center of the Parke family’s home. A quick thought would believe this trophy was won at one of the major shows, but at closer inspection this 1951 trophy was claimed by Billye Rae Turpin, Doug’s mother at the county fair. Doug was exposed to Agriculture through his family’s farm where they raised tobacco and beef cattle in Richmond, Kentucky, and exhibited steers and heifers at the local county fair.
Doug was active in the Madison County FFA Chapter throughout high school, where his cousin Billy Glen Turpin served as the Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor. In 1975 Doug and his fellow team members were named the Reserve Champion National Land Judging Team, and Parke was the High Individual of the contest. Billy Glen introduced him to Simmental cattle when a relative Joe Turpin of Allied Simmental Enterprises dispersed in 1974 at the Louisville Stockyards.
While working on his Animal Science Degree at Eastern Kentucky University, Doug began working for a local Simmental operation Kieckefer Simmentals of Kentucky, followed by Benedict Incorporated, and lastly Breck Ellison Farms in Tennessee. Breck Ellison Farms was a leader in the Simmental industry, Breck himself serving as Chairman of the ASA Board, and worked to build an exceptional herd of Simmental genetics. When they dispersed in 1992, the dispersal was held at the local stockyards, but televised outside in a tent due to the size of the crowd which was unheard of at the time due to technology.
Following the dispersal of Breck Ellison Farms, Doug and Debbie, his wife of 38 years, moved back home to Kentucky where Doug began his own consulting business at Simmental sales across the country and Canada. His friend and mentor Doug Paul was managing sales and Parke traveled with him and assisted him at many of the sales. This was a time of transition for the Simmental breed as the cattle were transitioning from traditional cattle to solid reds or blacks. Doug and Doug were the dynamic duo Parke on the block talking the cattle, and Paul taking care of the clerking. Not only was Doug Paul fun to travel with, he taught Parke a lot about developing skills in marketing, promotion, and dealing with people. When Doug Paul decided to retire from sale managing, it seemed like a natural fit for Parke to continue on with the business, evolving his business from consulting to managing Simmental sales. Debbie took over manning the office, and the family business was born.
Doug and Debbie have one child, Holli. Growing up surrounded by the livestock industry and Agriculture, Holli quickly grew into the family’s love for Agriculture. She was an active member of 4-H and FFA; competing and serving at the local, regional, state, and national level. Holli served as the Kentucky FFA State Secretary, and spent two years working for the National FFA Organization as a Conference Presenter.
The Parke family traveled each summer to the American Junior Simmental Association (AJSA) regional and national shows supporting junior members. In 1998, the Parke family loaded their own cattle and attended the AJSA National Classic in Columbus, Ohio as exhibitors. That first year, Holli asked to show a traditional red and white Simmental instead of the black Simmentals which were gaining popularity. Many people asked Doug why he traveled all over the country looking at and buying cattle, but his daughter was showing a red and white one. At the 1998 Junior Nationals that red and white female named “Holli’s Best” was selected the Third Overall Female.
“One of the things I admire most about dad is that people gave him a lot of grief over what I showed. Due to his exceptional eye for cattle, many times he found a bargain, but knew the potential for greatness was there. My first Denver Champion was a $1,200 purchase,” Holli states.
Holli’s involvement with the AJSA continued as she got older serving on the AJSA Junior Board of Trustees. During the summer of 2008, Holli interned for the American Hereford Association (AHA) in the Junior Activities Department. Currently, Holli serves on the American Simmental-Simbrah Foundation Board. “I have been so blessed to grow up showing through the AJSA program. Some of my very best friends I have met through this program, and it has brought me some great opportunities. At this point in my life, it is all about giving back to the great organization that gave me so much, and raising my children in it.”
In 2010, Holli married Drew Hatmaker of Tennessee. Drew quickly fit in and took an active role in the family business DP Sales Management. “Growing up, I knew of Doug. Sometimes its surreal to be able to work with someone who is so well known and respected, but I am blessed that Holli and I get to work with our family and learn from him,” Drew says. The have two children Knox (6) and Breck (3). The boys understand the family business, and at a young age were traveling to cattle sales and AJSA events. Both boys logged over 20 states before their first birthdays. Breck Hatmaker, the cow enthusiast was actually born on sale day of the NAILE Select Sale in 2016. Drew and Holli own their own herd of Simmental cattle which base can be traced back to females Holli showed through the AJSA program. They also operate Hatmaker Homestead, producing locally raised vegetables and poultry that are marketed at their local Farmer’s Market.
Today, DP Sales Management is a true family business. Drew and Holli have an active role in the business along with Doug and Debbie. DP Sales Management manages over 30 sales each year, and working with their clients to market their cattle not just on sale day but throughout the entire year. Our philosophy is that no matter how big or small the operation, there are marketing opportunities for everyone no matter what the price range. We take great pride in consignment sales; which allow some of the newest and smallest breeders to showcase their Simmental genetics. In 2014, seeing the rise of online sales they launched DP Online Sales, and host around 30 sales on their platform each year.
While assisting their clients and customers market their Simmental cattle through sales is the upmost importance; supporting and championing the Simmental breed is a part of their everyday life. Due to Doug’s involvement in the breed for over 40 years, his knowledge of pedigrees, phenotype, and breeders is unmatched. He strongly believes that every breeder, no matter how big or small, matters in the very existence of the breed. Visit their home and you will get an education on the progression of the Simmental breed, just from the walls of their office. Totes of old Simmental magazines, “The Shield” can be found along with photos of notable bulls and females over the year along with reproductive parts of CNS Dream On, one of the most notable and breed changing bulls.
The entire family is especially supportive of the next generation of the breeders, serving as judges for AJSA Regional and National Classic contests and supporting scholarship opportunities like the Peter Courtney Memorial Scholarship. In 2019, the family was instrumental along with the Simmental Breeders Sweepstakes in organizing and hosting the AJSA National Classic in Louisville, Kentucky. Both Doug and Holli were members of the Simmental Breeders Sweepstakes Board who hosted the event, and Drew and Holli were coordinators of the show.
“Growing up in the AJSA program, I really felt like my AJSA career had come full circle assisting with the coordination of the 2019 Classic. Attending so many of the junior nationals over the years and interning with the Junior Hereford Association, I always kind of dreamed what I would want it to look like, and to have that opportunity was really special. I told Drew he might as well be the co-coordinator with me since he was going to have to listen to me all the time anyways!” Holli commented.
She continued on to say, “The AJSA National Classic is such a special event for so many families and so important for our breed. So many families are buying Simmentals right now, and it was important for me to show them what the AJSA can do for their children just like it did for me.”
Doug Parke closes, “Our family loves being a part of the Simmental breed. I’m so proud that we all work together on a daily basis in our business, and it’s a privilege to serve our customers, breeders, and the future of the breed.”