WAURIKA — Terry Stuart Forst respects history. She also makes it. Forst leads a ranch that began about three years after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. This month she is scheduled to become the first female president of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association. She will take the reins at the end of the organization’s annual convention, July 23-25. "I was certainly honored to be considered for president,” she said. "I have always felt one should only be considered for a job based on qualifications. "I don’t think I will ever feel qualified to follow in the footsteps of so many outstanding men, but I’m not afraid of work, and I will give it my best,” she said.
Past and presentForst’s great-great-grandfather, Robert Clay Freeny, started the ranch in 1868. The original land in Bryan County, near Caddo, was eventually passed to Forst’s grandmother, Carrie Ida Freeny, and then to her father, R.T. Stuart Jr. Forst graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in animal science and completed Texas Christian University’s ranch management program. She was hired as ranch manager by her father in 1992. He died in 2001. Today’s Stuart Ranch consists of two divisions: 11,000 acres in Bryan County and 32,000 acres near Waurika in Jefferson County. The ranch includes a cow-calf operation, yearling cattle, American Quarter Horses and a hunting operation. The Stuart Ranch was the 1995 recipient of the American Quarter Horse Association’s Best of the Remuda award, which is presented to ranches for their working horses. They also raised AQHA Superhorse Genuine Redbud, owned Superhorse Real Gun and have won many world champion titles. They won an award for their rangeland management for conserving and improving their grasslands. Forst has learned from challenges. In the 1970s or 1980s, a drought caused workers to haul water to cattle. "Because of that we have a drought plan in place for the reduction of our herd in a timely manner,” she said.
In the lead roleNow it’s time to face another challenge: leading an organization she has been a member of since the mid-1970s. "I think this is one of the finest groups of people I’ve ever been around,” she said of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association. "I admire their work ethic, integrity, generosity and their dedication to the betterment of all aspects of the industry.”