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Sarah "Sal" Paine Forbes | 2008

First female inductee and founding member of the Red Angus Association of America.

1919-2011 | Artist: Richard Steward Halstead (born 1947)

Impact & Accomplishments

In 2008, Sarah “Sal” Forbes was honored as the first female inductee into the Saddle & Sirloin Portrait Collection in its one-hundred-plus years of history.

Born in Weston, Massachusetts, she moved to Sheridan, Wyoming, in 1940, after marrying Waldo Forbes. They established a Red Angus herd on their Beckton Stock Farms ranch. Seeing tremendous potential in the breed, they helped found the Red Angus Association of America (RAAA) in 1954, with Waldo as president and Sal as executive secretary.

After her husband’s death in 1955, Sal Forbes continued her work with the breed and the cattle industry. Beckton Stock Farms registered six Certified Meat Sires under her leadership. She initiated annual field days at Beckton, events that helped popularize performance testing. Forbes took an active role in organizing the Beef Improvement Federation, earning its Pioneer Breeder Award in 1976.

She served on the board of the National Western Stock Show and launched the Red Angus Junior Stock Growers Program. Significantly, Sal Forbes’ four decades of service on the board of RAAA helped create an environment where women could have a much larger role in a male-dominated industry.

Did You Know?

The “Sal Forbes” Research and Development Fund named for RAAA’s first Executive Secretary and founding member, Sal Forbes. This fund grew out of donations to have Sal honored as both the first Red Angus breeder and first woman in the livestock industry to have their portrait hung in the Saddle and Sirloin Club.

Robert de Baca, in his book Courageous Cattlemen, summed up the challenge Sal had accepted: “Sally was working in an area composed of three minorities – a new unaccepted breed, being a woman, and involved in the then-unpopular performance activity. Asked if she encountered problems because of those three reasons, Sally replied, ‘Most people bent over backwards to help me, but they all seemed to wonder why I was there – a woman doing unconventional things.’”

"You’ve got to stand on your own feet with whatever principles and standards and goals you set for your own life. If you are actually accomplishing anything worthwhile and trying aggressively to effect needed change, you are probably not going to get much approval, because you might be a little ahead of your time. Your efforts might not even be recognized until later as improvement.” - Sal Forbes

Most people knew Sal as the unassuming woman with a shirt pocket full of papers, a canvas carrying bag filled with more papers and other essentials for the day, a hand-held tape recorder to record her thoughts, a flower behind her ear, and a probing question always on her lips. Click here for more information.

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