On very busy sale days, you are likely to see Tulsa Stockyard Inc., owner Joe Don Eaves accompanied by his 7-year-old son Jett, dressed just like his dad in a big cowboy hat and boots.

Sale days are busy days for Joe Don when his staff ups from five full-time employees to 45 by adding 40 part-timers to man the sales. Joe Don greets customers by name and is always willing to have a friendly chat while he oversees all aspects of the operation.

His big, open smile and firm handshake make both buyers and sellers feel welcomed and well cared for. The result is that 75 percent of the business is from repeat, longtime customers.

“An important aspect of good business is having a good relationship with the city and other neighbors. We live in a populated area and pride ourselves on those good relationship,” Joe Don said.

Mondays are sale days at Tulsa Stockyard Inc.. beginning at 9 a.m.

These days follow a predictable pattern.

“The day begins with calves and then moves to bulls, then cows and bred heifers and finally old worn-out grandmas,” Joe Don explained. “The predictability of the pattern allows both sellers buyers to time their arrival according to their needs if they are arriving the day of the sale.”

In order to best accommodate the scheduling needs of sellers who may need to deliver livestock before sale day or at odd hours, the facilities are open 24-hours a day.

“We have people living on the property which makes this 24 hours service possible,” Joe Don said.

Joe Don had a ranching background and purchased the stockyards 20 years ago when only 25 years old. Since then he has doubled the business, with most customers within a 60 mile radius.

Updating has included procedural changes as well as construction. The fully-computerized stockyard now pre-weighs so buyers know exactly what they are purchasing instead of making an educated guess.

In addition, the stockyard is run by straight sale instead of through commission companies.

Besides computerizing, facility changes include adding pens twice during the ensuing years. The stockyards also house a veterinary clinic on the property run by veterinarian Dan Cason, who ages and pregnant test the cows and heifers while offering any other requested services such as vaccinations.

Many sellers appreciate the trucking service provided by the Tulsa market, especially smaller sellers who frequently have off the farm jobs. The trucking service allows Joe Don to combine these herds into a load according to location.

The Tulsa market hosted the World Livestock Auctioneer Championship and annual meeting in 2005. In addition, Tulsa Stockyard Inc. is supported by two good auctioneers, Blaine Lotz, the 2014 World Champion, and Cash Carter from southeastern Oklahoma.

Nothing is more natural than a stockyard owner owning his own cattle. Joe Don and his wife Breckelyn have 1,000 head cow/calf operation on 2,500 owned and leased acres in nearby Inola and Broken Arrow. Joe Don explained, “Because of my stockyard business, I know what sells and does the best. Consequently, I have black, Angus influenced cows bred by Hereford bulls in order to sell black baldie calves.”

He prefers fall calves and leaves the calves on the cows until the heat breaks in late August or early September. He then decides whether to sell immediately or wait until later. At that time he also works the herd, vaccinates and castrates the calves.

Joe Don prefers fall calves because the calves are 300 pounds and ready to graze as the grass comes on in the spring.

“Spring calves are not as big, and in this business we sell pounds,” Joe Don said.

In addition to Jett, Joe Don and Breckelyn have a 16-year-old daughter, Marley Jo, and a 13-year-old daughter, Macey.


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