February 20, 2017
Pat Wilson, Frostproof, Fla., started his Hereford seedstock operation, Crooked Lake Ranch, in the 1960s and continued to produce top-quality cattle until his death Oct. 14, 2008. He began his program by purchasing a group of cattle from the R.W. Jones (RWJ Polled Herefords) program, a well-known performance-based operation. He purchased outcross bulls over the years, but his herd is still predominately linebred Victor Domino.
In the past 40 years, Pat never hosted a production sale and has been able to retain the top cattle from each calf crop to constantly improve. A firm believer in performance testing, Pat also used his commercial cattle operation to evaluate his seedstock breeding program.
Pat and his wife, Patricia, were honored in 1973 with the Beef Improvement Federation’s (BIF) Commercial Producer of the Year Award, just the second producer ever to be honored with that recognition.
Pat did not exhibit his cattle in the showring but, rather, used performance testing to evaluate his cattle. Thomas “Fred” Stokes observes that, “The Crooked Lake herd consistently achieves exceptional performance on grass alone in the inhospitable climate of central Florida.”
Bob Crane of Rock Hollow Farm, Alachua, Fla., is another fellow cattleman who believed strongly in Pat’s ability. He says, “Pat Wilson’s cattle have stood the test of time. Many times, he has forsaken immediate profit for the long-term best interests of his herd of cattle. He has never been detoured by short-term fads or fancies.”
Pat also dedicated time to serving the industry by supporting state and national Hereford associations, as well as county, state and national beef associations.
Mark Cooper of Cooper Hereford Ranch, Willow Creek, Mont., says, “Pat has been a good friend and inspiration to me and many other livestock producers across America, and he has been a very influential voice for the American producer.”
James Bennett, a 2007 Hereford Hall of Fame inductee says, “Pat Wilson’s breeding program, influence and service as a Hereford breeder make him most deserving to receive this honor.”