What's up with the bulls? We seem to be getting a lot of calls lately asking this question.
Over 40 years ago, Oklahoma Senator Robert S. Kerr came to a small town in Oklahoma. He challenged Americans to take good care of the earth’s natural resources. He wrote: “It is in our power, under the watchful eyes of God, to determine the physical form of the world in which we live. We can make it a paradise… or by neglect permit it to become a desert. The choice is ours.” Senator Robert S. Kerr
Kerr served as Oklahoma Governor from 1943-1947 and then as U.S. Senator from 1948-1963.His position provided the opportunity to give back to the state that had given him so much. In Washington, he became a tireless campaigner for Oklahoma. This earned him the nickname “Mr. Oklahoma”. While serving as chair of the Senate Select Committee on National Water Resources, Kerr was the motivation behind was is now the Navigation System of the Arkansas and Verdigris Rivers.
Creating a direct water route from Tulsa to the Gulf of Mexico in the 1950’s he discovered the wild beauty of the Poteau River Valley. He was quoted in saying this area was his “wonderful workshop”. He purchase 60,000 acres of land, established a beautiful home (The Kerr Mansion), and the Kermac cattle herd famous for its Angus Cattle and his star bull Hyland Marshall, who sired 7000 calves over his lifetime. This breed began to spread all over the United States. Cattle buyers and United States Presidents came for the huge angus cattle auctions.
It’s an earthly kind of paradise, a muddy boots-farm cap kind of paradise, where the economy is healthy and so is the environment. It’s a place where people reap the rewards of hard work and enjoy a kinship with nature, and children inherit a land brimming with like and promise.
This place is POTEAU. * Excerpt taken from “Hoeing the Row Out” by Maura McDermott*copyright 1997 by the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Poteau Oklahoma.
Poteau is a place that is very proud of its heritage that began over 100 years ago. The people of the area continue to take great pride, while progressing and creating projects that make Poteau “above the ordinary”. You will notice the beautiful bull statues as you enter our city. This bull project born of a desire of Mayor Jeff Shockley wanting to promote Poteau through the arts. Several cities in Oklahoma have statues around depicting Oklahoma heritage in some form or fashion. Oklahoma City and other have the painted buffalos while others have wild horses or longhorn cattle. Some have wagon or cattle drives.
All give a sense of heritage and arts. Trying to come up with something unique to Poteau, the Mayor and Chamber CEO Karen Wages (and spouses) had a deep discussion over dinner as to something Poteau is known for around Oklahoma. Thus, the Black Angus project began. The history of the Black Angus and Poteau has multiple roots from a very popular restaurant to the rich history of Senator Kerr and the Kermac Ranch with successful breeding programs of the Black Angus Herd. We invite you to take time to see the beautiful statues that promote this deep heritage of Poteau.
There are currently 15 bulls that are out: First National Bank, Arvest Bank, Central National Bank, The Community State Bank, LeFlore County Youth Services, LeFlore County Co-op, J.O.B. Construction, City of Poteau, Poteau Chamber, Patrick Lynch Public Library, Adams Abstract Co., Kiamichi Technology Center, Jamatt RV Sales & Service, Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture.
The following businesses have bulls on order: Baetz Home Center, Wal-Mart, The Purple Plume, Dunn Country Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, RE/MAX Champion Land Brokers, Champ Hinton, and Webb Farms.