Company reflects value of its owners, customers

One cannot talk about the history of GoBob without talking about the legacy and passion of its founder.

Both of Bob Studebaker’s grandparents raised cattle along the Arkansas River near Keystone, Oklahoma. He worked many weekends and summers doing chores. When the Keystone Dam was built in the 1960s, the town disappeared and his grandparents were displaced in a relocation plan by the government. Although they retired, Studebaker never forgot the lifestyle and carried a desire to return to it someday.

Studebaker accepted a job with a steel distributor while still in college and received a well-rounded education in structural shapes. He later accepted a job as a contracts manager for a drilling contractor in Cleveland, Oklahoma, coincidentally on the shores of Keystone Lake. Because of his background in steel, one of his responsibilities was the procurement of pipe and the reclamation of used pipe. Studebaker began to deal with ranchers as he sold pipe that was no longer suitable for downhole use. In 1993, he quit his job with the contractor and started GoBob Pipe and Steel, Mounds, Oklahoma, to provide pipe to ranchers exclusively.

As time went on Studebaker realized his customers also had a need for other products that would make them more efficient in the cattle business. He began to add fence and corral materials, which became the foundation of his business. GoBob’s goal is to provide a one-stop shop with the highest quality cattle equipment built. Products include a corral and fence materials line that offers gates, pipe, rods, cable and continuous fence panels.

Feeding equipment includes bunk feeders, wagon feeders and hay conserver feeders. GoBob has shipped over 30,000 hay feeders all over the United States as well Canada, South America and Europe. GoBob has inline hay trailers, doublewide hay trailers and pyramid hay trailers. GoBob markets hay trailers from single bale movers to 27-bale transports. Their cattle equipment line includes several products that increase the producer’s efficiency including crowding tubs, Bud boxes, adjustable alleys, loading chutes and multiple squeeze chutes.

Over the years Studebaker has seen many changes in the livestock industry. He notes the tactics of animal rights groups with well-funded campaigns to eliminate the consumption of animal proteins. More and more emphasis is being placed on producers using low-stress handling techniques.

“The good news is that researchers have discovered that these techniques actually increase the efficiency and profitability of their operation,” Studebaker said. “GoBob has endeavored to make equipment easier for the cattle producer to employ low-stress handling.”

The founders of GoBob, Bob and Catha Studebaker, were junior high school sweethearts who married in 1975. They have two children, although one of them passed away in 2018. The Studebakers are raising their twin grandsons.

Bob continues to manage GoBob and Catha has continued her career as vice president of MidFirst Bank.

GoBob is sophisticated in the selection of venues it advertises in and tracks the response of every advertisement, Bob Studebaker said.

“Obviously we do not want to waste money on venues with poor return on investment,” he said. “GoBob purchased its first advertisement in High Plains Journal in early 2001 and has advertised in HPJ every week since. That speaks volumes about the effectiveness of HPJ.” 

Studebaker continues to remain optimistic, noting that beef is tasty and is the preferred meat around the world. Oklahoma State University and Kansas State University, along with cattle associations, are making a concerted effort to educate cattle producers on ways to improve their operations.

“Thankfully, many young people are embracing this education and are carrying on the family tradition,” Studebaker said, noting that 90 percent of all cattle ranches are family owned. To provide further encouragement, every year GoBob provides funding for thousands of dollars in scholarships for young people seeking a degree in animal science or husbandry as part of their GoBob Gives Back project.

GoBob Give Back also provides funds and supplies for wildfire relief and tornado relief to show their appreciation for the industry that supports it.

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].