11 March 2018 - Remembering a Remarkable Lady

I have a pretty good memory about many events that I have experienced in my lifetime, but some really stick in my mind. Let me test your memory as I share with you an event that I vividly remember from 60 years ago. Let me set the stage…it was November of 1957 in the cattle judging ring at the International Livestock Exposition at the Amphitheater at the Union Stockyards on the south side of Chicago when a young lady from Indiana made history.

It was a very busy time in my life. I had been an agricultural broadcaster in Wisconsin since 1952, and in 1956 while working at a TV/Radio station in Green Bay, received a phone call from WGN Radio in Chicago asking me to sign on as their farm broadcaster. After thinking about it for a week, this farm kid from Wisconsin moved to the big city; just in time to witness history in the livestock world.

The young lady’s name was Sue Secondino from West Terre Haute, IN and I remember her and her husband, Pete of 61 years very well. Aside from her family, her greatest accomplishment was exhibiting the Grand Champion Steer at the International Livestock show in Chicago. The steer, named Honeymoon, because the young married couple spent their honeymoon at the International, made national headlines and let me share that part of the story by quoting some of the newspaper coverage of the event.

“Sue, the teenage bride of Pete Secondino is up in the clouds and there is no telling when she is coming down. It all started yesterday afternoon when veteran cattle judge A.D. Weber (his 10th consecutive year as the judge of the International) of Manhatten, Kansas, singled out her sleek, white-faced Hereford Steer as the Grand Champion of the 1957 International Livestock Exposition. A crowd of more than 5000 persons in the International Amphitheater gave a thunderous roar when Sue’s steer was named Grand Champion.

“Honeymoon was sold to famous CBS radio personality Arthur Godfrey (a featured entertainer at the International that year) for a record price of $30 per pound, and it is a record that still holds today. If you want to see a remembrance of Honeymoon, the hide of the steer is on display at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.”

Indeed it was a memorable moment, one that I have never forgotten. Why do I remember it now? Because this week, I received a note from Sue’s daughter, Jody Secondino-Crandell, telling me that her Mom had passed away in January of this year.

She was indeed a true celebrity in the cattle industry.

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