interest in the Simmental breed developed because of the youth
program. I had heard from one of our neighbors, Albert O’Connor (a
former AJSA President) that there was going to be a Summer Classic
held in Louisville during the summer of 1986. So, the boys each got
a Simmental heifer and got them ready to go tothe Classic. That year, we redefined the term ‘rookie’ because we
knew absolutely nothing about showing cattle. I took Barbara and the
boys down to Louisville, unloaded them and the heifers, returned
home to work at my dental practice for a few days, and came back for
show day.” states John Harker.
“That’s what got us started,” he continued. “We had no
idea what kind of educational things happened at the Classic. We
thought it was just a little old cattle show.” Two American Junior
Simmental Association Classic Champion Females, one National Western
Grand Champion Bull, one National Western Grand Champion Female and
twenty years later, John, Barbara, Ben & Dan are still raising
Simmental cattle in the small town of Hope, Indiana. The operation
started in 1985 with the purchase of two show heifers. It was
initially started as a program where the boys could accumulate a few
cattle to pay for their college education. John recalls a
conversation with Knic Overpeck at one of the previous AJSA
Classics. He said, ‘you should always go with quality and breed from
there.’ It took the Harkers a few years to fully realize the
significance of that statement.
By 1994, they had far exceeded their goal. Their herd
consisted of 50 head of Simmental brood cows and they had
established a quality embryo transfer program. ER Red Informer was
purchased sight unseen from Barry Emmons in Olive, Montana. Red
Informer was initially purchased as a cleanup bull, but the Harkers
were so impressed with the bull, that they decided to show him. By
January of 1995, Red Informer had been named the Grand Champion Bull
at the 1994 Simmental Sweepstakes, the 1994 North American and the
1995 NationalWestern Stock Show. The show ring
success didn’t stop after Red Informer. In April of 1995, Danny
purchased a female sight unseen from the former Leachman Cattle
Company. Leachman Red Baldy D7057 went on to become the Champion
female at the 1995 American Jr. Simmental Association Classic, the
1995 Simmental Breeders Sweepstakes, the 1995 North American, and
the 1996 National Western Stock Show. Again, in the summer of 1996,
Danny won the AJSA Classic for back to back championships with
another sight unseen purchase from Leachmans.
In 1997, Dan married Jill Sommers, a seventh generation
Angus breeder and former National Jr. Angus Association Board
member. With such a strong commitment to family values and history,
the Harker’s purchased their first Angus females. This led to the
development of half blood Simmental/Angus females and the beginning
of a new division of Harker Simmentals.
The operation has continued to grow and change since
the 1990’s. Substance, structural soundness and quality EPDs with an
emphasis on maternal
characteristics are a few things the Harker’s use as building tools.
Today, the operation consists of 150 head of purebred and percentage
Simmental females and purebred Black Angus females. Annually,
breeding quality bulls are marketed through a cooperator program in
South Dakota while the maternal, fancy heifer calves are auctioned
through the Field of Dreams sale now held at the Harker’s farm.
Females purchased through the Field of Dreams sale are exhibited by
juniors from across the country.
The newest members of the Harker Family, Luke & Chase,
hope to someday follow in their grandparents and parents footsteps –
by breeding, raising, exhibiting and selling quality Simmental and
Angus cattle and continue the program for at least another twenty
2013 Indiana State Fair
4-H Hereford Champ Heifer
Sire: Golden Oak Outcross
Harkers Roxie Beth B1
Reserve Division Champion 2014 Junior National Hereford Expo.
About Time X Nitro Selling at NAILE Hereford sale
Harkers Roxie Beth B3
Full sister to Reserve Division Champion 2014 JNHE.
Class Winner 2014 JNHE.
2014 Reserve Grand Champion Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. Co-owned with Circle M Farms, SilverTowne Farms and Hudson Pines Farms
Harkers KD Belle
2014 Winners -
2014 Gibson County Fair Grand Champion Female
2014 Reserve Percentage 4-H Simmental Female Indiana State Fair. Placed by Snake Run Cattle Co & Matt Michel.
5th Overall Heifer Gibson County Preview Show, Champion Percentage Female Purdue AGR Show, Champion Percentage Female Kentucky Beef Expo, 2013 Class Winner Hoosier Beef Congress – Granddam is the late WS Katie S125
Owned by Justin Clark
Harkers Bandito Uno
Plainview Lutton X WS Katie S125
2011 NAILE Grand Champion Percentage SimSolution Bull
Full Brother to Harkers King Tut
Owned by Western Cattle Source
Harkers Katie Ann
WS Katie S125 X Plainview Lutton
Owned by Ellie Sennett
Champion Ring A & B Heart of It All
Reserve Champion Percentage Simmental Hoosier Beef Congress
Leachman Red Baldy D7057
Harkers Stars P116