Written By: Randa Taylor, Secretary
Each year, Limousin exhibitors at the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) in Denver, CO, select one of their colleagues to receive the prestigious Herdsman of the Year award. An honor going to someone who shows pride in his or her herd, prepares and displays cattle for shows, is typically friendly to everyone, and above all hard working and loyal to the breed. At the 2018 National Western Stock Show, Amber Parkinson was named this year’s Herdsman of the Year. The Limousin breed is no stranger to Amber Lawrence Parkinson, and she is no stranger to anyone in the breed.
Amber grew up in Anton, Texas, a small town outside of Lubbock, on her parent’s large Limousin ranch. She started showing her own heifers when she was in the third grade and continues today. Her dad, Bruce Lawrence, describes Amber as someone who “was always great with responsibilities, took pride in her showmanship, and was always ready for a challenge.” Not only was Amber a premier showman from the start, but eventually went on to hold many leadership roles within the breed. In her younger years, she served as the last Texas Junior Limousin Association Queen, President of the TJLA board, and was on the NALJA Board of Directors for four years, serving as president for one of those. Amber has shown at the National Western Stock show ever since 1996 when she was 17 years old. In fact, her first National Western she stood last in her class then went on to win the Fort Worth Junior Limousin show with the same heifer two weeks later.
After graduating from Anton High School, she went to Texas Tech University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Ag Communications and a minor in Animal Science. After college, Amber went to work for the family farm along with another ranch before pursuing a career as a County Extension Agent, which she held for 16 years. During this time, one would often see Amber at various stock shows, big and small, with numerous kids from her county that she mentored and trained to be as hard working and diligent as she is. However, back in October, Amber made the move back to working for Lawrence Family Limousin to spend more time with her husband and sons and help expand the LFL operation as herdsman. She manages the show barn and assists in all the cow side duties from registrations and tattoos, to ultra sound and embryo transfers. She currently serves on the TLA board of directors, and the past 5 years Amber, with the help of her husband, has faithfully served as the Texas Junior Limousin advisors and does an amazing job organizing activities and managing the TJLA state field day. Earning the herdsman award has been a goal of Amber’s since she began showing in Denver many years ago; she comments, “Being selected herdsman is a huge honor. There are many deserving people and an elite group that have won this award in the past. However, it takes a crew for the cattle to look their best and I am grateful for all the crew working hard to make that happen.” Amber has been married to Johnny Parkinson for 16 years and they have two sons, Tucker and Colt.