All Breeds Committee and Sale History

Forerunner to today’s All Breeds Committee, the Range Bull and Commercial Heifer Committee was formed in late 1967.  The president of the Show at that time was Louis Pearce, Jr.  Mr. Pearce wanted a Stock Show event to serve commercial cow-calf producers and involve more of them in the workings of the Show.  He is rightly considered the father of the Committee and the renowned sales it has conducted for a half-century.

Mr. Pearce prevailed upon J.D. Sartwelle, a former HLSR Vice President and Show Secretary, to form the Committee and manage a range bull and commercial female sale worthy of the Show.  Sartwelle, president of Port City Stockyards Company and son of the Show’s founder J.W. Sartwelle, formed the Committee in time to present its first sales during the 1968 Show.  The Committee was operated under the Livestock Department, managed at that time by Don Jobes, Jr.

Sartwelle enlisted Rayford Smith to put together the 1968 sale.  Smith, a long-time livestock commission agent and friend of President Pearce, called upon his contacts and presented a successful initial sale.  They have been held continuously ever since, celebrating its 57th year of sales in 2024.

J.D. Sartwelle served as Chairman of the Range Bull and Commercial Heifer Committee from its inception through the 1975 Show.  For the first 25 years, show volunteers who were also employees of Port City Stockyards Company, the sale manager, served as Committee Chairmen:  J.D. Sartwelle, Jr. (two three-year terms), Rayford Smith, G.D. “Dave” Scott, III (two three-year terms), and W.C. Sartwelle.

From 1968 through 1981, the sales were held on the same day.  In 1982, the year in which the Show’s 50th Anniversary was celebrated, the sales were split and held on separate days.  In preparation for the 1982 sale, a small sub-committee was appointed by Chairman Dave Scott to develop an innovation used by many other sales around the nation but first used at Houston:  the bull-grading score system.  The sub-committee consisted of Frank Litterst and Dr. Randall Grooms of Texas A&M University, Jim Theeck of Mayfair Ranch, and J.D. Sartwelle, Jr.  The core of the grading system was a select panel of 20 commercial cattle producers who visually appraise the breeding bulls.  The bulls are then sold from highest-grading to lowest-grading, regardless of breed or breeder.  The system developed in 1982 is still used today, however we have reduced the judges to five.

From 1968 to 1990, the sales were held in the south end auction arena of the AstroHall.  In 1991, the sales moved to the newly constructed Sales Pavilion of the AstroArena (now NRG Arena).  The 2001 and 2002 sales were held off-site at the Houston Farm and Ranch Club in western Harris County during the construction of Reliant Stadium and Reliant Center.  The 2021 sales were held at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Brenham due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The sales returned to the Sales Pavilion in 2022.

The Committee honored the three men most responsible for the inception and success of the Range Bull and Commercial Heifer Committee at the 25th sales in 1993.  Past-President Louis Pearce and past chairmen J.D. Sartwelle and Rayford Smith were recognized, and the sales were dedicated to their far-sightedness and continuous efforts to build these highly recognized sales.

Starting in 1994, the Committee established an innovation:  the “Pardner Program” that enabled outside vendors (agricultural lenders, animal health companies, feed companies, etc.) to contribute money and products to sale consignors and buyers.  The Pardner Program has provided hundreds of thousands in premium monies to exhibitors of champion females and high-grading bulls over the years.  Coincident with the added responsibilities, more emphasis was placed on developing Show leadership within the Committee itself, and chairmen from that point on were drawn from non-Port City personnel.  Since that time, Committee Chairmen have been Tucker Blair (two three-year terms), Phil Sandlin, Jerry Locke, Dee Leggett, Jerry Broxson, W.F. Gonzales, Murphy Moriarty, James D. Sartwelle, III, Bill Van Eman, and Beth Briscoe.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s All Breeds Bull Sale has been an industry innovator since the start.  Beginning in 1996, all bulls consigned had to have performance data and Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) submitted to be eligible to sell.  That requirement, along with rigid pre-sale screening and strict fertility and scrotal measurement criteria, ensures only the highest-quality bulls are offered for sale.  The sales began to be broadcast on the internet in the mid-2000s, maintaining their “cutting edge” status.

In 2000, a sub-committee of the Livestock Committee that had been responsible for working with various breed associations to help them conduct their breed-specific sales at the Show was moved to the Range Bull and Commercial Heifer Committee.  The following year, the name of the Committee was changed to the All Breeds Livestock Sales Committee.  The current name, All Breeds Committee, was adopted in advance of the 2018 Show to facilitate branding and logo design.  The more concise name also removed any connection to the Committee being a “sales committee” in HLS&R parlance.

Since the start, the Committee has worked with outside marketing firms as sales managers.  Port City Stockyards Company of Houston, Sealy, and Brenham, served as sales manager for the first 46 years of the Committee’s activities, 1968 through 2013.  Gulf Tex Livestock Marketing of Anderson, Texas, was the sale manager from 2014 through 2019.  Infinity Cattle Services of Houston, Texas, has been the sale manager starting with the 2020 sales.

Additional Information

For more information please contact:
Email: [email protected]

All Breeds Sale Manager:  Chris Shivers, Infinity Cattle Services
Live Internet Bidding provided by Cattle In Motion: