Jim Walker and Gail Nichols
Hometown: Phillipsburg, Mo.
Family: Jim’s children: son Beau, 19; and daughter Shea, 16
In Town: Jim Walker and Gail Nichols are partners in Rodeo Roots Custom Screen Printing in Lebanon, Mo. The name comes from Jim’s background in rodeo, as well as his love for the sport.
The business began at their home shop in 2014, but it quickly grew and they recently moved to a commercial property in Lebanon.
“We do anything that is screen printed, embroidered, vinyl graphics, anything you need,” Jim said, adding that he began screen-printing in 1990.
Rodeo Roots’ customer base reaches as far as Colorado, Wisconsin, Washington state, Oregon and Wyoming.
“We don’t know why or how, they found us, but we have customers in several other states,” Jim said with a laugh.
They initially began the business to focus on making rodeo shirts, but their custom order work has taken up the majority of their time.
In the Country: Jim and Gail, who are engaged to be married, live on the Laclede County, Mo., farm that has been a part of Gail’s family for many years. She is the third generation of her family to raise cattle on the 80-acre property.
“We want to see that Century Farm sign,” Gail said. “It’s exciting to have it be in the family for this long. We’ve always had cows. My grandfather gave me a cow/calf pair when I was born and if I have anything to say about it, I’m going to die there.”
Jim is originally from Phoenix, Ariz., but spent time in the Laclede County, Mo., area at his uncle’s farm as a kid. He moved to Laclede County in 2009 after his family moved to the area.
Jim and Gail have a 30-head mixed commercial cowherd and are currently utilizing a Gelbvieh bull.
Calves are usually sold shortly after weaning.
“If we’ve got a momma that’s not making the cut, she goes with the calves to the sale barn,” Gail said, adding that ill temperament is also a culling factor.
While they typically do not retain heifers, they did a keep few of last year’s calf crop because of the introduction of a new herd sire.
They purchase all of their hay and do “a little” rotational grazing, and move cattle according to pasture growth. Very little grain is offered to the cows or calves, but supplements are available.
Jim admits Gail’s experience on the farm exceeds his, but he enjoys the farm life, and they approach the farm and business as a team.
“But we can’t work cattle together though,” Gail said with a laugh.