Brothers to be inducted into Hall of Fame

Rhett Breedlove
Posted 6/19/24

TORRINGTON – Torrington Livestock Markets (TLM) has, for several decades, become a sanctified entity for not only Goshen County but realistically for the entire nation.

While nearly every …

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Brothers to be inducted into Hall of Fame


TORRINGTON – Torrington Livestock Markets (TLM) has, for several decades, become a sanctified entity for not only Goshen County but realistically for the entire nation.

While nearly every year ranking in the top ten most successful livestock markets in the entire U.S., TLM has cemented its place of value and importance when it comes to generating local, state, and even federal economic revenue. In addition, no doubt some of the most nutritional as well as delicious western beef has been from the ongoing work of Torrington’s own TLM.

The famous livestock market of course did not develop their unyielding reputation overnight, however. Just like with any successful business, market, or trade; years and years of hard work, dedication and sacrifice have played a crucial role in building what it now successfully produces for others.

Locally famous brothers Shawn and Lex Madden are but prime examples of how traditional values and just plain hard work can prove all the difference for so many people.

If anything, the Madden brothers could actually be considered homegrown folk heroes to the people of Goshen County. Due to all the valuable imported and exported livestock business they have produced for so many years, one would be hard-pressed to find someone in the area who hasn’t at least heard of them.

With this, both brothers were nominated by Torrington local and former employee, Michael Schmitt, to be inducted into the Cattle Marketing Hall of Fame this July 26 in Dodge City Kansas.

“I’ve worked for them, they’ve operated in Torrington for years with as one of the top five markets in the United States,” Schmitt said. “They are the only brothers to win world auctioneering contests and have been in business since the mid-seventies doing local and state sales. TLM through the sale barn annually sells over 250,000 head of cattle. Above all, they are very civic minded, and are very good to their employees.” 

As usual, both Madden brothers, although appreciative and honored by the recognition, spoke of the ceremony with quiet yet humorous humility and pride.

“We are honored,” Lex said. “The neat thing, which is so unique about this, is we are the only brothers ever to be honored with this feat. We grew up around sale barns with our dad, and of course, we both gravitated down here after school.”

As Lex explained further if not truthfully for so many buyers, sellers, and workers over the years none of this would have even been plausible.

“The biggest thing I would say is it takes a village, and a lot of big sales,” Lex continued. “In the fall sometimes, we have 60-plus employees out here, so it’s not just Shawn and I. We have a tremendous workforce and staff, and everyone has to be on the same page. Of course, we have to give a huge thank you to all our customers and sellers who have been nice enough and have supported us for so many years in letting us market their livestock.”

In discussing what is sure to be a memorable ceremony next month in their honor, as well as several others nationwide, both brothers could not help but express a brief bit of reflection on everything it took to get to this point.

“You know Lex and I grew up in Lusk and we started in the auction business in the early 80s doing machinery sales, state sales, anything we could find,” Shawn said. “We worked here at the same barn which was run by the Maxfield family at the time. Then in 1988, we opened up south of town and started to compete with Torrington Livestock. Eventually, we ended up putting together a merger with two sale barns.

“Over the years people have asked what the secret to has been our ‘overnight’ success,” Shawn laughed. “The answer is it was fifteen years of hard work. When we were first starting out there were plenty of struggles and a lot of long hard days. It definitely wasn’t always easy.”

Despite overcoming harsh adversity and being faced with difficult crossroads over the years, Lex had one particular notion in reasoning why both he and his brother have become perhaps one of the more coveted success stories in Goshen County over the years.

“So much of this ties in with building relationships and friendships which have continued to develop over the years,” Lex said. “With buyers, sellers, and coworkers there are a lot of people Shawn and I have bought cattle with over the years from as far as Texas and Oklahoma. There’s a lot of trust in our relationships. One thing you always have to do is be honest and represent the cattle well. You don’t send people just anything. You have to have a conversation with what they are getting and what they need.”

Shawn further added to his brother’s words with an old-school saying. According to both brothers, it is a revered adage which doesn’t seem to be used so much anymore.

Ironically, it is this exact frame of mind which likely brought the Madden brothers to this point in the first place.

“‘Your word is your bond,’ are our types of agreements,” Shawn said with a smile. “Which just seems to be a bit more of a rarity in this world today.”