Remembering David Stoecklein

by Tim O’Byrne

At times, the WR team will come together in appreciative reflection upon our journey of the past several years. This issue is Volume 10, Number 1; quite a milestone. We often think back to our very first issue which went to press in the fall of 2006. The very first copy to arrive in the WR editorial office hangs on the wall, along with the very first letter we received from a rancher/reader congratulating us on our launch. And more than once, way more than once, somebody on the WR team, including me, will say something like, “You know, nothing beats that first cover”.

That first cover, a gritty shot featuring Texas cowpuncher Bubba Smith and the crew working a branding, was
just a superb example of a ranch action shot. And the fella who took it, David Stoecklein, has been on the WR
masthead since Vol. 1, #1. We were saddened to hear of our friend’s recent passing, but dang glad to have known
him. His images have graced so many of our features and covers I couldn’t begin to count them. His body of work was, and is, every bit as outstanding as it is prolific.

In this issue, in memoriam, Dave’s name remains on the WR masthead. Next issue we will respectfully retire it forever. It was a great ride, Dave. I’m at peace knowing you’re finally able to see what the colors of the rainbow look like from the other side.


This is like the fourth year now that we’ve run the annual national cattle association/group year-end wrap-up (see page 92, this issue). This year’s submissions really got to me. The issues are unbelievably complex and of the gravest importance; Waters of the US, importing beef from a known Foot and Mouth disease area of South America, COOL,
the health of the Beef Checkoff. It didn’t take long to realize just how important it was that the individuals in these groups maintain a steady course in protecting our industry, its people, and the spinoff economies. If it wasn’t for these unwavering individuals, and for the people who support them in their tireless, unselfish efforts, the Herculean, often unrewarding task of keeping the detractors and bullies in line would be doomed to failure. The industry’s collective strength would deteriorate rapidly, and beef production as we know it today would fracture, dissolve
and fail on several broad levels.

Here’s my challenge to you in 2015: Join a beef cattle organization that appeals to you, whether state or national, attend a meeting or convention, and let those leaders know you are behind them 100%. If you find yourself in a position of power, conduct yourself professionally, transparently, and with the pride and dignity worthy of this handshake way of life.

Our industry deserves to have emphatic participation in order to leave the next generation something to be excited about. Go. Join today.


Not known for my over-the-top brilliance, I proved that point once again a few months back. On p. 18 of my
September October 2015 column, I devised a scheme in which to give away a Bear and Son Cutlery knife that they
had given me to test. We like to do that every now and again with items or books submitted to us. My plan was to
take the first caller who could correctly identify some line in a back issue. I waited, the first caller called, they won the
knife, end of story, right? Wrong. Five or so more folks called in the ensuing week. It was then that I realized the folly
of my contest; some folks get the magazine (in the Heartland) before others (the west or Florida). The contest was
unfair from the start. The only thing we could do was to give those other callers a knife, too. This is where things get
warm and fuzzy. Bear and Son sent me enough knives to cover my foible, and that’s what we did – we sent them all
knives. Thanks, Bear and Son! The next contest will be fool-proof.

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