Vet has been part of American Royal most of his life, will be honored by UPHA
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – To those who know him best, Dr. Robert E “Bud” Hertzog is more than a veterinarian.
“Not only does he care about animals, but he cares about the people that own them,” said Carol Carlson, a member of the American Royal’s United Professional Horseman’s Association committee. “His wide variety of experiences is one thing that helps him be such a good vet at an event like the American Royal, because we have so many times of animals through the exhibits.
“He’s able to take care of the wide variety of animals plus also deal with the personalities involved. In all my years of dealing with the American Royal, I’ve never had anybody question his credentials.”
Those are just a few of the reasons Hertzog will be honored as the UPHA’s Horseman of the Year at a ceremony Tuesday, Nov. 13. And just like his service to the American Royal, which dates back to 1961, the Lee’s Summit vet remains focused on those around him.
“I don’t deserve any special recognition of anything at all,” said Hertzog, whose ties to the American Royal date back to his high school days in the 1940s when was part of the competition. “I’ve had the great fortune of being associated with some great people and some great horses over the years.”
Hertzog was involved in 4-H and FFA as a youngster, and he showed steers at the American Royal. When he was in college at the University of Missouri, he was part of the livestock judging team.
“I got an early start at the Royal,” he said. “My dad and mother would bring me to the American Royal when I was a small kid.
“We’ve always realized the importance of the American Royal. I’ve become hooked on the American Royal; they do lots of great things here.”
So does Hertzog.
“Not only has he has been our official veterinarian through the years, he has groomed many other veterinarians,” said Brant Laue, chairman of the American Royal. “He’s sort of Mr. American Royal.”
While he has served as the staff vet for years, there are a lot of volunteer hours that go into his task. He works with veterinary school students from Missouri and Kansas State University while on site, educating and evaluating at the same time.
“His reputation as an honest veterinarian and a caring veterinarian is very strong,” Carlson said. “In my experience with some veterinarians, they never go back to school mentally. They know what they know, yet they don’t want to be questioned. Dr. Hertzog keeps up with protocols.
That’s a very important aspect of maintaining a solid practice, Lee’s Summit Animal Clinic, the one in which he has worked since he graduated from Missouri in 1956.
“I grew up on a dairy farm, and we had horses and mules at home,” Hertzog said. “We worked with animals, and, of course, we were close with our local veterinarian. He’s the one who pushed me toward vet school.
“When I graduated in 1956, I came back to Lee’s Summit and practiced with him. We’ve continued to work out of the same practice, and now we have eight veterinarians in our practice.”
That practice has continued to focus on Hertzog’s foundation of care, for animals, their owners and the community.
“Dr. Hertzog is so closely identified with the American Royal that it is truly unique among the other livestock shows,” Laue said. “He is recognized by the veterinary medical associations. He’s just one of these great personalities that has accomplished a great deal in life, and the American Royal has been fortunate enough to be associated with him.”