The late John Carleston of Louise was inducted into the Santa Gertrudis Breeders International Hall of Fame during the 2020 Santa Gertrudis Breeders International Annual Meeting and President’s Dinner. This tribute is considered one of the most prestigious awards of the organization. His wife, Helen, and daughters, Debbie (Ivan) Townsend and Cindy (Bud) Blaha were there to accept the award. Additional family members in attendance were Bud Blaha, Clint Blaha, Caydi Blaha, Tana Hajovsky, Cory Hajovsky, Miranda Hogsed, Kody Martin and Becky Mikolajczak.
Carleston was very active in the Santa Gertrudis breed, both on a national level and the Mid-Coast Association. He helped organize the first Mid-Coast Junior Santa Gertrudis Association in 1972.
Carleston served on the first youth committee for the Mid-Coast Junior Santa Gertrudis Association and served as youth advisor for 15 years. He also helped organize the first Mid-Coast Santa Gertrudis Junior Show, where he served as co-chair until the late 1990s and from then until 2008 he and Helen coordinated the show.
Carleston served on the Mid-Coast Board of Directors. They began working with the National Brain Bowl competition in 1985 and went on to chair this contest until the summer of 2008. She continued their legacy until 2018.
In addition, Carleston was in charge of lining up cattle in the holding area during the national shows from the early 1980s until 2008.
He served on the SGBI youth activities committee for more than 15 years.
“This work demonstrated that he was a man of principle and lived a strong example for the youth that he came in contact with,” his wife said. “He strongly believed in the youth program and doing what was right for the kids.”
He first began teaching agriculture science at Crescent schools in Glen Flora. When an ag position became available, he and his family moved to Louise where he continued teaching for 32 years before his retirement. “During his tenure in Louise, he made every effort to instill the passion that he had gained for showing cattle as a young boy growing up with his students,” she said.
During the 1970s and 80s, the Louise FFA show string had a strong reputation among FFA/4-H exhibitors with a presence at all the major Texas shows, local livestock shows and many out of state shows. In 1974,
Carleston was introduced to Norval Sells, manager of 4G Ranch in Hempstead, a friendship that sparked the passion and enthusiasm he had for Santa Gertrudis cattle.
He also served on the livestock committee and steer sifting committee at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo for 48 years. Starting out as a volunteer he worked in its original location at the Sam Houston Coliseum, to the Astrodome/Astroarena and to its current site at NRG Park. He became an assistant livestock chairman in the early 1990s.
“Showmen at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo have missed his presence,” his wife said. “One long time Santa Gertrudis cattle service fitter notes that showing at HLSR will never be the same without him there.”
He was inducted into the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Wall of Fame in 2007.
The Carlestons began a legacy for their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren that exist today not only as junior exhibitors but Santa Gertrudis breeders as well.