La Salle company makes a habit of Stock Show booth
DENVER – Heather Ackerman has attended the National Western Stock Show for most of her 22 years. And most of that time has been spent at her family’s booths where she displays and sells livestock equipment.
“I got my first commission when I was 8 years old,” Ackerman said Tuesday while taking a break between customers that stopped in the Hall of Education building at the National Western complex in north Denver.
Ackerman Distributing Co. of La Salle sells livestock chutes, scales, fencing, custom corrals and related equipment. The business, started by Dean and Donna Ackerman in Loveland in 1969, moved to Keenesburg for a time, then went back to Loveland before moving to La Salle in 1996. It is a sales and distributing company for Pierson, Titan and WW livestock equipment.
Ackerman said her family also custom farmed at one time, did excavation work at one time, and her mother is still a nationally known horsewoman, breeding and training performance horses from their La Salle home. Heather said as many as 200 mares will come to the operation, many from out-of-state, on a yearly basis to be bred to stallions her mother owns.
But its the distributing company where Heather excels.
She said she has been accompanying her parents to the stock show since she was a baby, and once old enough to talk, she would visit with customers who stopped at the company’s booth. By the time she was 8, she began selling.
“I couldn’t talk to the customers unless everyone else was busy. There was this lady from New York who walked by in the aisle and I went out, grabbed her and showed her one of the chutes. She bought it, and told my dad that I had better get the commission,” she said with a laugh.
The lady, she said, sent a person out to haul the chute back to New York, and, yes, her dad gave her the commission.
Now, the company is run by her parents, herself and cousin, Ray Ackerman. At the stock show, a friend “who’s more like my adopted sister,” Syriah Leno, 16, is working the booths along with another friend.
Heather said her father started showing equipment at the stock show in 1969 over in the Coliseum which did not offer much space to display the equipment. She said her parents home-schooled her and she starting working full time at the stock show, on her own, when she was 17 years old. In addition to sales at shows – the company travels to five a year – Heather is also in charge of the company’s Web site from its La Salle headquarters.
Getting ready for the stock show is no easy task, she said.
“We started the Monday before the stock show began and didn’t get completely set up until the day before it started,” Heather said, noting they brought about four or five semitrailer loads of equipment from La Salle, along with related equipment in pickup loads, while the rest of it came from manufacturing plants in Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.
“We ship equipment all over the United States,” she said.
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