The Okeechobee Livestock Market was built in the 1930s by The Dixie Cattlemen, conveniently located next to railroad tracks so various freight and livestock could be transported to their respective destinations.
In August of 1948, the building was sold, repaired, and modernized; opening exclusively for business on September 17, 1948, as a cattle market, where 748 head of cattle were sold.
In 1961, Otis “Pete” Clemons became operating manager of the livestock market. He initiated the purchase after years of national and international competitions on the rodeo circuit, where he showcased extraordinary athleticism, including an “All Around Cowboy” title, financial winnings, and beloved notoriety (eventually landing him a spot in the Florida Sports Hall of Fame & Agriculture Hall of Fame).
The love for riding livestock led him to own a facility to sell livestock, and shortly after its purchase, Pete Clemons became president. By 1976 there were 153,349 head sold.
Pete Clemons’ sons, Todd and Jeff Clemons, spent most of their childhood at the livestock market. As young boys, under their father’s tutelage, they worked, unloading and processing cattle. After graduating from college with business and animal science degrees, they returned to work for the family business. In 1989, Todd Clemons became president of the market and Jeff Clemons became manager.
From 1989 to the present day, there have been many technological advances at the Okeechobee Livestock Market, from website development, where live auctions can be viewed online, to e-mail marketing and herd health programs. One stand-out improvement was a partnership forged in the 1990s with Producers Cattle Auction (PCA), where cattle could be sold online through video sales. In 2017, 110,007 head were sold through the sale barn and 9,706 head were sold online through PCA.
Currently, Todd and Jeff Clemons run the Okeechobee Livestock Market, and a few of their children work there as well – there are over four generations of cattlemen and women representing the business today. Primary sale days are Monday and Tuesday, and the office is open Monday through Friday 8am – 5pm. Our restaurant is open Monday - Wednesday from 8am - Sale's End.