“I give all the credit for my career to my parents, friends, horses, dogs, my wife Mary and the Good Lord.”
On Feb. 26, 1946, Willis “Ray” Negus was born to Willis R. and Annie Ola Negus in Fort Pierce, FL. From childhood, Ray always wanted to be a cowboy. In 1968, after graduating from the University of Florida, he worked for a year on his father’s ranch, then took his first full-time job as a cowboy for Arizona Land & Cattle Co., Plant City, FL. In 1973, he worked for Latt Maxcey Corp., Frostproof, FL where he became herdsman for a registered Hereford division. He began working for Gulf & Western Ranch, Fellsmere, FL in 1976 where he was in charge of 2,000 commercial cows, 200 Santa Gertrudis cows and 50,000 acres.
In 1978, he came to Kansas to work at the internationally known CK Ranch, near Brookville. He worked there until 1984 when he accepted a position as a research associate at Kansas State Experimental Station, Hays. In 1986, he returned to Fellsmere, FL to work the same land, but this time for Sun Ag, Inc. instead of the Gulf & Western Ranch. In 1995, he returned to the CK as ranch manager where he is still employed. He met his wife, Mary, at the Brookville Post Office where she worked. Ray has three sons, Slade, Ryan and Wesley, two step-children, Becky Heimer and Kyle Neywick; and seven grandchildren.
Ray belonged to many organizations including Fellsmere Riding Club (President), Brookville Rodeo Club, Indian River Co. Cattlemen’s Assn. (President), Florida Cattlemen’s Assn. (Secretary/Treasurer and Chair, Marketing and Food Policy), Kansas Red Angus Assn. (Board of Directors), and American Red Angus Assn. where he helped plan a national Convention. He has twice been nominated for the Commercial Producer of the Year by the Beef Cattle Improvement Federation.
Year inducted: 2012