Belle Point Ranch Barn # 6
(text from Sheltering Generations, The American Barn)
It’s not just about the cows at Belle Point Ranch.
The McMahon family has been beer wholesalers longer than they’ve been in the cattle business. In 1946, little more than a decade after Prohibition ended, David McMahon’s father became a distributor for Anheuser-Busch.
In 1956, David and wife Mary Ann added ranching to the family’s interests. They and their five children embraced Angus as a business opportunity and began hosting their annual sale in 1978.
Lessons learned from the beer business easily translated to selling beef cattle. Across the nation, more than 600 Angus sales take place each year, none quite like the event at Belle Point. The McMahon family delivers good cattle and good food and drink with a fanfare of impactful marketing and southern hospitality that comes easily.
Travelers can’t miss the sale barn. Part ranch office, part Angus museum, part cattle working facility, it sits across the road from a landmark piece of art—a silo painted to look exactly like a giant Budweiser can. Dubbed “The King of Beers,” it is a monument that draws tourists and photographers and has even starred in a Budweiser commercial.
Each March, hundreds of customers and friends make the sale barn a destination all its own, packing inside for fellowship and a lively Angus auction.
Walking in the front doors, visitors notice glass cases that hold countless collectibles, and walls filled with Angus artwork and a massive display of colorful quilts purchased in auctions benefiting the breed’s youth. A love of Angus cattle and the people who breed them spurred David to accumulate this collection and to coin the phrase still oft-repeated: “It’s a people business.”
What might seem like frivolous extras to others are the hallmarks of a Belle Point sale – Angus cattle are a backdrop for an opportunity to bring people together and deepen friendships. The event kicks off with a get together the evening before, and in the morning, salegoers enjoy a hearty breakfast, highlighted by homemade biscuits and delicious cream gravy, meticulously crafted by the women in the family from Mary Ann’s original recipe. If guests leave with a few business cards in their pocket and a new friend or two, that’s considered a win in the McMahon family’s hearts. It’s about the people, not just about the cattle.
The family patriarch who got them into the Angus business passed away in 2016. He believed if there’s a pair that’s meant to be, it’s beef straight off the grill and an ice-cold beer, so he’d be happy to see the King of Beers silo now has an equal companion. Daughter Julie said, “I feel certain Daddy would be out here today holding a Budweiser bottle in his hand and raising a toast to our latest piece of art, the ‘King of Steers.’”