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South Miss. man renowned for judging cattle

By Ernest Herndon
Osyka, Mississippi (AP) 4-08

Clyde Goudeau can name the breeds of cattle he judges. He can number the states and nations he’s visited to judge those breeds.

What he can’t do is list all the awards and trophies he’s won – there are just too many.

Goudeau, 72, has been judging cattle for 40 years. He’s won awards for his own cattle as well as for his judging. Last year the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was held in his honor.

The walls of his house west of Osyka are lined with certificates, medals, trophies, plus memorabilia from other countries.

“I tell most people, Mr. Clyde knows more about a Brahma cow than a Brahma cow does,” said Jim Ratcliff of the Pike County Co-Op. “He has been in it forever – all his life.”

“He’s very knowledgeable in the Brahman breed and known worldly,” said Pike County Extension Service agent Mike Tynes. “I would put him up there in the top knowledgeable (people) in the Brahman cattle breed and cattle in general.”

“Cattle is my specialty,” said Goudeau, a Louisiana native who has lived in Pike County for 35 years. “I just like to select and put cattle together to breed. I like uniformity.”

Goudeau was born and raised on Bayou Rouge near Goudeau, La., south of Marksville and northeast of Ville Platte – Cajun country.

His mother was Irish and Native American.

His dad was a “pure-D Frenchman. He couldn’t speak English, hardly,” said Goudeau, who still speaks with a Cajun twang.

Goudeau grew up on a farm with no electricity or plumbing, raising Hereford cows, hogs and “the best mules in Louisiana.”

“We hunted coons at night, we fished, we seined, we trapped, we lived off the land,” he said.

He, his parents and nine siblings grew cotton, corn and sugar cane, plus a 10-acre garden for the table. They bought staples like sugar and flour.

“Once in a while we went to a store and bought a loaf of light bread. They don’t call it light bread anymore,” he said.

The family butchered their own meat, salted it and stored it in crocks. “We made our hog cracklins, our boudin,” Goudeau said.

An ice truck came once a week from Bunkie, and they stored the ice in grass sacks. It usually melted before the next load.

Goudeau’s dad died when Goudeau was 8 or 9. The boy worked on an adjacent ranch, where he got acquainted with Brahmans, a breed easily recognizable by a shoulder hump. He also learned to break wild horses.

Goudeau left home at 14 and moved to Texas and then Kentucky, where he married his first wife, Betty, at age 18. They moved to Florida, where they lived for 14 years, then to Covington, La., and finally to Osyka.

All along the way, Goudeau continued to raise and show cattle, winning all sorts of awards.

“We’d make 17 shows in the fall and 17 in the spring,” he said.

He also learned to judge cattle. Cattlemen from all over the world come to shows like the one at Houston, Texas.

His current wife, Glory, shares his Cajun heritage and enthusiasm for ranch life.