Charlie Bierschwale

Kerr County Stock Show



Charlie Bierschwale was born in January 1941 in Kerrville, Texas, and grew up on a ranch on the Divide, near Rocksprings, where he went to school.

He went to college at SWTSU (now Texas State) and graduated in 1964 with a major in Vocational Agriculture and a minor in science. He worked on a ranch in Rocksprings for a year before deciding he wanted to teach. He looked for teaching jobs around San Antonio and Houston, where he had relatives, then returned to Kerrville. He stopped in Kerrville to visit a good friend, Hillyer Ward at the Junior High, who mentioned that there was an opening in the Science Department.

He taught four really good years of Life Science at the Junior High. Eventually, the Ag Teaching job at Tivy came open and he took it. He enjoyed teaching at Tivy for 16 years. He really connected with the kids and loved working with them and helping with their animals. But times and teaching were changing, and he had for many years wanted to open a retail store where he could continue his relationships with the kids and broaden his relationship with the community. Charlie and his wife, Cheryl, planned, built, and operated Back 40 Supply for 27 years selling feed, animal health products and trailers. This continued until 2012 when he retired and sold the business.

Through the years, Charlie has always believed in the mission of 4-H and FFA and the vital part they play in building character and usable knowledge for future citizens and leaders.

He first became a member of the 4-H at the age of 10. By that time, he had already been feeding sancho lambs for several years and had begun to build a small herd. His dad let him swap sancho lambs for “pick of the litter” at marking time. Pasturage was free or exchanged for labor on the ranch. In High School, he took Vocational Ag and joined the FFA. By the time he graduated, he had 20 ewes.

These paid for his college education when they sold. He was a member of the collegiate FFA and Rodeo Club during his college years.

When he moved to Kerrville in 1965, he was drafted as a director of the 4-H Jr. Horse Club. Early on, membership grew to 75 members. As he began teaching Ag, his interests included FFA and Rodeo Club, which now had grown to over 100 members. Charlie also became associated with the Kerr County Open Horse Show, which for several years donated profits to local charities. At some point it was decided to settle on a permanent recipient. With Hazelle Calcote’s expertise, a loan arrangement was set up for 4-H and FFA members who needed to borrow money for their projects. After many years as being the loan officer, Hazelle transformed the program into a purchasing arrangement whereby the kids with animals listed on the back page of the Sale list were purchased at a premium.

After “retiring” from teaching and opening Back 40 Supply, Charlie also became an active buyer, often partnering with other businesses and encouraging their participation in the Stock Show and Sale. Additionally, a program was developed where for several years, Back 40 Supply presented a special Stock Show Trailer known as the “Herdsman Award” to deserving 4-H and FFA clubs so they could participate more fully in the activities. Then about 2008, after Rick Boles retired from teaching, he joined the team at Back 40 Supply. Rick would take time off occasionally to judge Agriculture Mechanics contests in San Angelo, San Antonio and Houston. Charlie and Rick discussed what Rick did, and what the kids made and showed, the question became: “Why didn’t our stock show kids have that contest too?” Charlie and Rick planned and along with local leadership and help from sponsors started a program that began small but grew into one of the best Ag Mech shows in the state.

Charlie taught for a total of 20 years, built and developed Back 40 Supply for 27 years, served on the Board of the Kerr County Soil and Water Conservation District for 30 years, and served as the Director of the HCDJLS for over 40 years. He also served briefly on the Board of the Farm Bureau.

Charlie has spent a lifetime working with the 4-H and FFA- 60 years-for the True Leaders of Tomorrow.