Micheli honored at induction
Dale Micheli, a Fort Bridger native, lived out one of his lifelong dreams when he was inducted into the Hereford Hall of Fame alongside Jim Courtney of Alzada, Mont., Lawrence Duncan of Wingate, Ind. and Bob Harrellof Baker City, Ore. during the American Hereford Association’s (AHA) Annual Meeting and Conference in Kansas City, Mo. on Oct. 23.
“I am so thrilled about being inducted into the Hereford Hall of Fame. It is such an honor and something I have always desired,” noted Dale, while reminiscing on years past when he would take his judging teams to Kansas City and make them sit through the AHA’s annual meeting.
“Every year while they were honoring the inductees, I thought to myself, ‘I would sure like to be up there someday.’ So, it’s really a dream come true,” he stated.
Dale explained his love for the Hereford breed began at a young age and was instilled in him by his grandfather Joseph Micheli, who purchased the family’s first Hereford cattle in 1917.
As a little boy, Dale shadowed his grandfather on the ranch, and to this day, he can recall the love and care Joseph gave to his treasured bulls. One of Dale’s fondest memories is tagging along with his grandfather to the consignment sale in Kemmerer.
“I used to go to the Kemmerer bull sale with my Grandpa Micheli when I was just a kid, and as I grew older – around high school age – he put me in charge for the most part and would let me take the bulls by myself,” said Dale. “I distinctly remember coming home from college for the bull sale one year and I asked him what the plan was. He said, ‘We’ll do it however you want to do it Dale, you’re the boss.’”
“He ended up turning it over to me, which was awesome,” Dale added.
After fully taking over the operation, Dale began to study pedigrees and work on adding dynamic females to the herd. He invested in prominent sires and started utilizing artificial insemination (AI) and embryo transfer (ET) technologies.
“I started an AI program 30-plus years ago, and now we do quite a bit of ET as well,” Dale explained. “We also try to be really aggressive and go after good herd bulls.”
After years of selling their bulls at consignment sales, Dale and his family held their first production sale in 1989. Today, Dale, his brother Ron and their sons Kyle and Tony produce some of the most successful Hereford cattle in the state and sell up to 50 Hereford bulls and 50 Angus bulls at their sale every year.
Dale noted, after all of this time, his love for the Hereford breed is still as strong as ever.
“Herefords are incredibly docile and very easy to handle. Nowadays, they are crossing well with black cattle especially. The hybrid vigor is hard to beat, and black baldy cows are hard to beat as mothers,” Dale stated.
He continued, “Herefords have been pretty good to us, and I stay loyal to the breed because they have paid and continue to pay for our place.”
Promoting the industry
In addition to running his own successful operation, Dale has remained an active and integral force in promoting the Hereford industry across the state of Wyoming and the nation as a whole.
Dale has served on the American Hereford Association Board of Directors and the Certified Hereford Beef Association. He has also hosted Hereford Field Days on the Micheli Ranch, helped to enhance the Hereford show at the Wyoming State Fair and remained active in all aspects of the Wyoming Hereford Association.
“One of the greatest things I have had the opportunity to experience was being elected to the National Hereford Board in 2013. My time on the board was so much fun because Hereford cattle were doing really good and showing really well at the time,” stated Dale. “I also served as chairman of Certified Hereford Beef for three years, and during this time we were very successful. In fact, when I first started on the board, we were losing around $300,000 a year. In those three years, we were able to turn it around to a profit of $280,000.”
“In addition to the success, my time on the board was just great,” Dale continued. “I made a lot of great friends and met a lot of great people.”
Dale has also spent many years of his life sharing his knowledge of the Hereford breed with youth across the country. In fact, for 30 years Dale has coached 4-H and FFA livestock and meat judging teams, and his state champion teams consistently placed in the top tier nationally.
Dale has also spent a large amount of time livestock judging himself, most notably judging national shows at the Fort Worth Stockyards in Fort Worth, Texas, the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center in Reno, Nev., The Cow Palace in Daly City, Cali., the AT&T Center and Freeman Coliseum Fairgrounds in San Antonio, Texas and the National Western Complex in Denver, among many other state and county shows across the nation.
“I have been fortunate enough to judge cattle around the country, including several national shows, but the highlight of my career was judging the National Western Stock Show in Denver,” Dale said.
When it comes to offering advice to youth interested in Herefords or raising cattle in general, Dale said, “It’s important to get involved in 4-H and FFA. If kids want to be successful, they should start judging and showing. And, if they have the opportunity, they should start breeding their own cattle and making some of the big decisions around genetics and selection.”
Hannah Bugas is a corresponding writer for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.