2024 Angus Herdsman of the Year Candidates announced Includes two Okies

While many aspire to live the life of a herdsman, the actual demands of the job are more physically and mentally challenging than what most people realize. The Herdsman of the Year Award honors Angus enthusiasts who have dedicated themselves to the management, decision making and improvement of a specific herd. Peers select the award winner through voting, hosted by the American Angus Association®.

Voting will begin December 15 and all votes must be submitted by noon CST on January 4, 2024. To be eligible to vote, exhibitors must have entered at least one of the following shows in 2023: Cattlemen’s Congress, National Western Stock Show, Western National Angus Futurity, Atlantic National, American Royal or North American International Livestock Exposition. Eligible exhibitors will receive an email with a unique login and password from the Election Runner platform to vote. Only one vote per member code will be allowed.

Nominated for this year’s award are Cole Atkinson, Conley Cattle; Miles Shout, Express Ranches; Dillon Stertzbach, Stertzbach Cattle Company; and Greg Van Zee, Udell Cattle Company.

More about the nominees and the voting process are included below.

Cole Atkinson | Conley Cattle
Cole Atkinson from Sulphur, Oklahoma began as a Herdsman at Conley Cattle in May of 2019.

At Conley Cattle, Atkinson is involved in all aspects of the ranch but spends most of his time managing the show barn, preparing cattle to show or sell. Conley Cattle hosts three sales a year, a fall and spring female production sale and a bull sale every February. Aside from sales, they run around 250 Angus cows.

Before starting at Conley Cattle, Atkinson received his associate degree from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M and bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University in agricultural business.

Each year, Atkinson enjoys attending the Roll of Victory (ROV) Angus shows from Reno to Baltimore and all the majors. Recently he was honored to have the Champion and Reserve Angus females at the 2023 Cattlemen’s Congress where the heifer went on to be Supreme Champion Female at the same 2023 Cattlemen’s Congress show. One of Atkinson’s most valued accomplishments was having the ROV Show Heifer and Show Bull of the year for the 2022-2023 season.

Atkinson says there are many driving factors in being involved in the Angus breed. “The competition in the Angus breed is the highest level and sets the bar for the other breeds.”

In addition to being detail-oriented and customer-minded, he said, “I’m also very driven by helping the youth. I truly enjoy helping the kids, especially looking back at role models I had as a kid that got me involved in the Angus breed and to where I’m at today.”

Atkinson said he is grateful for the support system he has had. “I truly believe the Angus breed sets the bar which is why it is such an honor and privilege to be nominated for such an award. It’s something I could never have been considered for without my great crew and support system.”

Miles Shout | Express Ranches
Miles Shout of Oklahoma started at Express Ranches in January of 2000 and currently works as their Yukon Cattle Manager. His role includes involvement in all aspects of the daily operations of the ranch.

Express Ranches holds six large sales yearly and exhibit cattle at all the major stock shows throughout the year. Shout has been fortunate to work with numerous champions and high-quality sale cattle for several years. Shout and his wife, Amy, have three children, Madison, Maddox and Mason, who are all involved extensively in 4-H and FFA activities and exhibit livestock at a state and national level. Shout and his wife enjoy giving back to the youth programs that helped them get to where they are today in business and in life.

“It is rewarding to see our kids follow that same path,” said Shout.

Shout said he is full of gratitude – for the Angus breed’s impact on him, for the community he feels in the breed and simply for the honor and privilege of being nominated.

“If it was not for family, friends and a close group of highly talented people at the ranch, as well as the great Angus breed nothing in my life would be remotely close to what I have today,” he said.

Dillon Stertzbach | Stertzbach Cattle Company
Dillon Stertzbach is the herdsman at Stertzbach Cattle Company, a family-owned and operated business Stertzbach’s parents started in 2004. He has been in the Angus show industry his entire life and was active in the National Junior Angus Association for a number of years. Stertzbach was born in Gallipolis, Ohio when his parents, Bruce and Amie, were the herdsmen at Champion Hill.

Stertzbach Cattle Company is known for breeding and showing Angus cattle on a regional, state and national level. The family has had heifers hold the title of grand or reserve champion at every national show. At the All-American Angus Breeder’s Futurity in 2021, Stertzbach Cattle Company was selected as Master Breeder for producing high-quality Angus cattle.

“The Angus breed is called the business breed for a reason. The competitiveness of the breed drives me to work hard day in and day out. The relationships that are formed will last a lifetime. With that said this year I get to add that I want my daughter to grow up with the values and life lessons that this industry teaches you.”

Stertzbach shared, “This breed is my livelihood, and I am honored to be a candidate again for the top honor of Angus herdsman of the year.”

Greg Van Zee | Udell Cattle Company
Greg Van Zee is the current Show Barn Manager for Udell Cattle Company in Sioux City, Iowa. He assists with annual production sales and daily farm activities, and he talks about what continues to attract him to the Angus breed.

“The opportunity to be part of a progressive program and breed is important to me,” he said. “The Angus breed offers many diverse breeding options whether it be within the Angus breed or crossing with other breeds.”

Udell Cattle Company started showing Angus cattle in 2014 and has had success at every level since then.

Van Zee’s passion for the Angus breed started earlier, when he was in high school and spent his summers working for Walking S Farms, a local Angus breeder. Since then, he has worked for and with some influential people in the cattle industry and found himself learning more and more about evaluation and management.

He said, “It is an honor to be nominated for Herdsmen of the Year and to be recognized by my peers.”

The Association’s 2024 Herdsman of the Year will be announced Jan. 5, 2024 at the beginning of the Herdsman Social event in Oklahoma City during Cattlemen’s Congress. This event will be held at the Cowboy Bar in Barn 3 with doors opening at 3:45 p.m. and is free for all to attend. Visit www.angus.org for more information.

  • Written by Katelyn Engel, Angus Communications  
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