Written by: Lily Weinacht< Back to Articles
Gus Duncan grew up in Oklahoma with an arena and a roping in his backyard every weekend, but while his family grabbed their ropes, he grabbed his rifle and spent his weekends hunting. “I’ve always had such a passion for wildlife, and that’s what’s important to me,” says Gus, a Cargill Feed Consultant who focuses on equine and wildlife. “My passion for the rodeo industry is helping, not necessarily roping. I love the sport, but I get more of a thrill helping those people win, as opposed to roping myself.”
Rodeo companies, equine breeding operations, and wildlife and equine ranches all run on the well being of their animals, and Gus shares the same commitment with his customers. He’s been in the feed industry for 15 years, and since joining the Cargill team in 2013, Gus has worked alongside prestigious companies like Beutler and Son Rodeo Company and the Lazy E Ranch. “The focus on my equine customers is 100 percent performance driven,” Gus explains. “I work with large bucking stock and performance animals, whether it’s barrel horses, rope horses, or bucking horses, and I work with many large racing facilities. With horses, we look at everything from the outside and take a wide view, then trim it down and look at individual animals and how they perform and move. By talking to the customers and finding out their goals, I can go more in depth to get to those goals. It may be a horse that needs more calories, or a horse that has a digestive problem. I work with some of the largest of the large, and it’s very exciting to see what they do.”
Along with his work feeding all of the breeding horses at Lazy E Ranch, Gus also works with Nutrena, the official feed sponsor of The Lazy E. “I work directly with the arena, providing feed for events and marketing, and we’ll do a lot of giveaways for fans, so it’s anything we want to partner on with them,” says Gus.
In the wildlife field, Gus focuses on wildlife breeding operations of white tail deer, mule deer, and elk. “The number one thing I’m always looking at first is herd health, and then antler growth. Without correct herd health and a management program, you won’t get the antler growth you want.” Though Record Rack feed has been around for many years, Gus feels it has improved greatly as the research in wildlife nutrition continues. “I feel like we are leading the way when it comes to wildlife nutrition. I work hand in hand with another gentleman that works for Cargill, Bobby Deeds, and he has made leaps and bounds in the wildlife nutrition department. In my position, you have to be passionate about whatever it is you do, and knowledgeable. You also have to be a likeable person that people trust – you have to be genuine – and if you can tie those three together, you can be successful.”
Gus traverses the entire state of Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle visiting customers, which are roughly 60% large equine ranches and 40% wildlife ranches. “With Cargill, we have a no-phone policy in our vehicles, so I listen to music. I love every genre – it doesn’t matter if it’s classical to rock and roll. Music is how we keep our blood pumping.” Since Gus and his wife, Chelsi, have jobs that involve traveling between Oklahoma and Texas, they have homes in both states. In the fall, Gus also enjoys guiding deer hunts for ranches in Oklahoma, Texas, and Colorado. “In Texas and Oklahoma we don’t pack on horseback, but in Colorado when we go on big elk hunts, we pack in on horseback and camp in the mountains. I like the peacefulness, and the outdoors in general. It’s just relaxing, and a lot of the time when I’m hunting, I’m taking someone who hasn’t had the opportunity to hunt and harvest animals like I have. To see the passion and excitement in their eyes when they do it – there’s nothing better than taking a kid hunting that loves the outdoors and hasn’t has the opportunity to do it.” On weekends when he’s not hunting or fishing, Gus travels to barrel races around Oklahoma and Texas with his wife, who competes, and their 4-year-old daughter, Bailey. Chelsi worked in medical research with animals until they started their family, and she now works in the commercial industry, while their daughter loves to go shed hunting with Gus.
“I want to provide the best service possible for everyone I work with, and to be known as the guy who is honest and up front about everything,” Gus finishes. “I want people to know I have their business in mind first hand. I love working for Cargill, and I strive to be the best and I want my customers to have the best. Same with my family – I strive to be the best husband and father that I can. Those are the things that are important to me.