Ralph J. "Butch" Choate | 2006
Ralph J. “Butch” Choate was born in Enid, Oklahoma to Jack H. and Jule J. Choate. He went to Hennessey Public Schools and graduated with honors in 1965. Ralph enrolled and spent one year at The University of Oklahoma before being drafted into the Marine Corps in the spring of 1966. Ralph went to boot camp at Camp Pendleton in California and one year after graduation he spent one tour lasting thirteen months in Vietnam.
Following his tour of duty, Ralph returned to Hennessey and enrolled at Phillips University in Enid where he completed his degree in May 1973. He was active in the Hennessey community as a city council member and businessman. Ralph owned and operated the Hennessey Ford dealership for fourteen years and worked with his father in the oil and gas industry.
Public service has always been important to Ralph. He was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1980. After one term in the House, he was elected to the Oklahoma State Senate in 1982 where he would spend eight years serving his constituents. He also served six years on the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission and currently serves as a member of the board of Pioneer Telephone Cooperative in Kingfisher, Oklahoma.
Ralph has always been concerned about the viability of rural Oklahoma. He and his family met with and recruited PIC to come to Oklahoma for their expansion in 1994. This helped open doors for other pork producers to come to Oklahoma.
Following his tenure in the legislature Ralph continued to take an active role informing legislators about the benefits the pork industry brought to the Hennessey community and surrounding counties. He met with the Republican caucus to share with them the positive impacts the pork industry had in his area. He sent handwritten notes to his former colleagues in the legislature promoting the pork industry. Ralph also arranged and attended meetings and made countless trips to the capitol on behalf of the pork industry at his own expense.
Ralph continues to promote the pork industry today by donating the Turkey Creek Golf Course in Hennessey for OPC’s annual golf tournament. He also invites representatives of the pork industry and legislators to meet at the course to discuss pork industry issues and needs.
Today Ralph resides in Hennessey where he can be found operating the golf course. He and his wife, Jan, have one son, Judson, a daughter-in-law, Andrea and a granddaughter, Mackenzie.
Oklahoma’s Pork Producers and the Oklahoma Pork Council are grateful to Ralph Choate for his service to the pork industry and proudly honor him with the 2006 Distinguished Service Award.