Our Story

202
Our original foundation donor, Churchill Lady 202, the mother of Yankee.

Following 25 years in the Oil and Gas Industry, Dimitri Mataragas, was able to pursue the dream of owning a ranch. In 2004 he began purchasing land in the east Texas town of Athens where he planned to maintain a small commercial herd for his retirement.

The Beginnings

After a couple of years of acquiring cattle it became evident that the herd needed improvement not only in quality, but also, temperament.

Research of the Hereford breed led us to contact Dale Venhuizen of Churchill Cattle Company, Manhattan, MT where we purchased two Purebred Hereford heifers and the beginnings of the Iron Lake Ranch Purebred Herd. Both of these females were granddaughters of Feltons 517. Upon arrival of these females and comparing them to the commercial herd, we knew that Herefords were going to be a big part of the future of Iron Lake Ranch.

Staff Additions

In 2008, Iron Lake Ranch was becoming more of a full time business and required additional labor. David Caraway, who had done part time work on the ranch as needed, became the full time manager. In 2009, former American Hereford Association Fieldman Robbie Schacher was added as a genetics and marketing advisor. Zach Clodfelter, our intern during his senior year at Texas A&M, was hired full-time in January 2016.  

Rebuilding the Right Way

executive descisions
Executive Decisions

In 2011, one of the worst droughts in Texas history struck and forced Iron Lake Ranch to drastically reduce the cow herd numbers. At this time, we formulated a plan to sell the entire commercial herd and build from the ground up, a Purebred Hereford herd utilizing the top donor cows in the breed and using Embryo Transplant extensively to achieve our goals. As we develop our base cow herd, we are very strict about structure and udder quality. To continue improving, we have invested in young herd sires that are the future of the breed. We also use old proven genetics mated to our contemporary bloodlines to maintain quality.

In addition to our Purebred Herefords, we maintain a group of Registered Angus Cows used specifically for the production of top quality F1 Baldy replacement females.