Ranching and Livestock Industries Present Top Award to Texas Native
Clark S. Willingham has been named the 2022 National Golden Spur Award recipient in recognition of his dedication to the ranching and livestock industries.
“This award recognizes iconic industry leaders whose devotion to land and livestock has earned them the notable respect and admiration of their peers,” said Jim Bret Campbell, executive director of the National Ranching Heritage Center at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. “It is the most prestigious honor given to one person by the ranching and livestock industries.”
Willingham will be honored during the National Golden Spur Award dinner at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15 at the Overton Hotel in Lubbock. He is the 44th recipient of the award, which was established in 1978 and is jointly sponsored by the American Quarter Horse Association, National Cattlemen’s Foundation, Ranching Heritage Association, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, Texas Farm Bureau, and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.
While Willingham did not grow up in agriculture, his decades of volunteer service demonstrate his dedication to the cattle industry. Under the guidance of his late father-in-law, H.C. “Ladd” Hitch, whose family homesteaded the Hitch Ranch in the Oklahoma Panhandle in 1884, Willingham became active in leadership roles for various industry associations.
Willingham is the past president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and served on the Operating Committee of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, the Board of Directors of the United States Meat Export Federation, and as Chairman of the Promotion Committee of the National Livestock and Meat Board. He is past president of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association, the Texas Beef Council, the Texas Agricultural Land Trust, and the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.
“I love being associated with the industry and its great people,” said Willingham. “Being engaged with cattle associations gave Jane and me the opportunity to travel, experience new things and make a difference.”
Willingham also served as vice president, director, and co-owner of Stoney Point AgriCorp, a 3,000-head calf raising operation near Rio Vista, Texas, and a 7,000-head feedlot near Melissa, Texas. In addition, he supports the agriculture industry by assisting with tax and estate planning related to family-held businesses, especially farmers and ranchers.
Willingham continues to take an active role in state and national organizations. He currently serves on the NCBA Tax Committee and Audit Committee and Trustee and Treasurer of the National Cattlemen’s Foundation where he serves on the Environmental Stewardship Award Selection Committee. He is also the Board Chair of the Texas Rangers Law Enforcement Association.
A native Texan born in Houston and raised in Dallas, Willingham graduated from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and received his J.D. and master’s degree in tax law from Southern Methodist University where he met his wife, Jane Hitch.
Married for more than 50 years, Clark and Jane continue to live in Dallas, where they enjoy spending time with their two adult children, their spouses and six grandchildren. Willingham is a member of the American Law Institute and continues practicing law in the areas of agriculture, income tax and estate planning with the firm Howell & Willingham PLLC.
To register for the National Golden Spur Award dinner, call Vicki Quinn-Williams at 806-834-0469 or register online at ranchingheritage.org. Reservations are required by Thursday, October 6. Tickets are $95 for Ranching Heritage Association members, $125 for non-members, $2,500 for a choice table for eight, and $5,000 for a prime table for eight.