Shane Gomes is the newest member of the OCA Board of Directors, but he is no stranger to the association. Shane comes from a family line of involvement in local and state affairs. His grandfather, Don Gomes, was President of OCA in 1990-91 and his father, Don Gomes Jr., served as District Vice President for regions three and four from 2006-10.
“I think it is your civic duty to help where you can in your community,” said Shane. Now, Shane finds himself serving as the District Four Vice President after encouragement from OCA members John O’Keeffe and Bill Moore to take the position of leadership. The Gomes family is fondly known, particularly in their home area of Wasco and Jefferson counties. Shane’s grandparents, Don Sr. and Terry (now passed), his parents Don Jr. and Candy and his wife, Kristina, have all done their share in caring for the 11,000-acre, 700-head cow/calf operation, Eagle Valley Ranch.
“My folks are still very much involved with the ranch; mom takes care of the books and dad’s involved with daily operations, but he makes the majority of town runs for us,” said Shane, “they also enjoy taking time off to partake in Cord’s sporting events and rodeos.”
Cord is Shane and Kristina’s son, and he is the fourth generation in this family line of Oregon Cattlemen. A freshman at Treasure Valley Community College, Cord is studying Agricultural Sciences while paving his way in the rodeo realm, qualifying as a Junior NFR American Steer Wrestler. Membership and Unity When asked what is most important to him while he holds this position, Shane replied uniting and engaging members at the county level.
“OCA’s membership needs to be built up right now more than ever – put your past behind you,” said Shane, “having the numbers means power and local cattlemen need to unite with their neighbors to get our goals back on track at the state level.”
Other concerns at the top of Shane’s agenda include private property rights which are being squeezed out by land buying and regulations and the monopoly of Packers.
“Instead of going 20 different directions, we need to focus on a few common goals and tackle them head on, but the state association can’t do that without engagement at the county level,” said Shane.
There is power in numbers and it is beneficial for OCA to say how many cattlemen and cattle are represented by this association when talking to legislators. Boosting those numbers gives OCA a larger and broader voice in the Capitol.
Shane has been incredibly involved with the state and county associations for over 30 years. Past President of the Jefferson County Stockgrowers, which orchestrates that annual 4-H and FFA livestock auction at the county fair. According to Shane, the community really gets behind this auction and even for a small county like Jefferson, the auction is always one of the top 3 sales in Oregon every year. In the past, Jefferson county hosted a bull tour, something the neighboring association, North Central Livestock Association (NCLA) has picked up over the past few years.
“That event is really a big hit. People come from throughout the state and Washington for that bull tour,” said Shane. The NCLA comprises the counties of Wasco, Sherman and Gilliam counties and they are
planning on holding the 2021 Bull Tour in April. More details will be provided in the March publication. If you have the opportunity, it is worth joining the caravan to tour and learn about ranches in this area!
Outside of this association, Shane and Kristina have been instructors for the Tygh Valley Rodeo Bible Camp and local 4-H leaders for over 22 years. Working with youth in the spirit of the western way is
important for the Gomes family, bridging the age gap with youth in this association is a priority for Shane.
“If you are a part of the ranching community and part of the cattle industry, then you should be a part of the association – simple as that,” said Shane and he went on to use the example that a Homeowner would be a part of their Homeowner’s Association because you have skin in the game. Being a part of the Cattlemen’s Association is the same thing, you have skin in the game so you should make sure your voice is heard.
If you are in Deschutes county, reach out to Shane about starting up a county association – OCA is searching for a Deschutes county representative!
~ Lifestyle Coverage by Robyn H. Smith, OCA Communications Director & Oregon Cattleman Magazine Publisher