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The first Don & Dona were chosen in 1956.  During that year, the honor was a closely held secret, known only to a select few, and the couple chosen as Don and Dona wasn't actually revealed until the night of the Algodon Ball.  The Algodon Club continues to honor this tradition to this day.

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Sue Ann and J. B. Taubert

J.B. Taubert was born in Harlingen Texas, the second son of Ernest and Leora Taubert.  J.B. and his siblings were raised on the family farm in the Rio Hondo area.  As all children born into a family farm, he began working on the farm at a young age.  J.B. attended Rio Hondo schools where he was active in 4-H until he was old enough to join FFA.  J.B. enjoyed raising and showing animals at numerous valley livestock shows, as well as the San Antonio Livestock Exposition.   J.B. graduated from high school in 1961 and began college at Texas A&I University in Kingsville.  While home for summer break, he worked on the family farm and for the San Benito Coop Gin. J.B. was a charter member of the Texas A&I Kappa Sigma Fraternity where he served as chapter president and also president of the inner fraternity Council.  J.B. graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and came home to begin farming and raising cattle in the late 1960’s.

J.B.’s service to agriculture did not stop on his own turn row. He served as a director of Cameron County Farm Bureau for many years, as vice president and on the resolutions committee.  His love for livestock also called him to serve as president of the Valley Wide Beef Syndicate, the San Benito/Rangerville Beef Club, and Rio Hondo Livestock Syndicate.  J.B. also served on the Steer Committee at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show for many years.


J.B. has always been committed to the local youth and was an Assistant Boy Scout Leader. One of his fondest honors was being named the recipient of the Honorary Chapter Farmer degree from Rio Hondo FFA and later being named Honorary State Farmer at the Texas FFA Convention in Corpus Christi.

J.B. married Sue Ann Simpson in 1971.


Sue Ann Taubert was born in Harlingen Texas, the first child to Martha Ann and Billie Joe Simpson. Sue Ann was raised on the family farm in the Rio Hondo area.  At a young age she helped her mother prepare and serve food to the harvest crew.  In later years, following in Martha’s footsteps, she became the head cook and server to the harvest crew.


Sue Ann attended Rio Hondo schools and was active 4-H member.  She showed cattle and raised the Reserve Grand Champion Steer of Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show in 1966.   Sue Ann graduated from Rio Hondo High School in 1967 and then attended Texas A&I University in Kingsville where she earned a degree in Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting.  She was president of the first pledge class of the Phi Gamma Nu Chapter Sorority and later as president of the actives chapter.


During college, she spent summer vacations working in a cotton broker’s office.  In those days, cotton buyers came to the Valley to inspect the cotton they would buy.  After college graduation, Sue Ann kept books for her father’s numerous businesses including the East Rio Hondo Gin. Later, she earned her real estate license and broker’s license; and has happily enjoyed selling real estate for the last 28 years with no plans to retire!

Like J.B., Sue Ann set her mind to service.  She has served on numerous boards including: St. Alban’s Day School Board, ten years on the Rio Hondo ISD Board of Trustees with five years as President, six years as Director of Harlingen Chamber, two terms as President of the Harlingen Board of Realtors as well as on the Finance and Governmental Affairs Committees, and has served on numerous committees at Texas REALTORS.


Among her many civic accomplishments, Sue Ann was a 4-H Adult Leader, and a member on numerous boards including:  Lower Valley Cotillion Club Board, Harlingen Junior League, Harlingen Cotton Committee, and Order of Eastern Star. Sue Ann served on the RioFest Board and was Chairperson of the festival in 1990.  Sue Ann was also the recipient of the FFA Honorary State Farmer Degree.


J.B. and Sue Ann have two sons, Brady, and his wife Karen and Willis and his wife Lela.


The Taubert/Simpson families have been involved with Algodon for many years, starting with Sue Ann’s parents, Martha and Billie Joe Simpson who were Don & Dona in 2002.  J.B. and Sue Ann served on the Algodon Board from 1981-1984.  Brady and Karen served as Algodon Presidents in 2010 and Willis received the Algodon Club scholarship in 1994, served as Ambassador of Cotton in 1995 and was also on the children’s court.  Sue Ann’s brother Billie Mack Simpson and his wife Debbie were named Don & Dona in 2015.


The Taubert and Simpson families have large footprints in the cotton industry.    Brady is manager of RGV Gin in Harlingen and Willis is co-owner/manager of Highway 67 Gin in Miles, TX. Brady and Willis, as well as nephew Kyle are very much respected in the Texas cotton industry.  J.B.’s brother Ernie was also a gin manager.  J. B.’s father, Ernest, was a charter member of the Rio Hondo Coop Gin and on the board of the San Benito Coop Gin. He used to say “a field of cotton ready to harvest was prettier than any flower garden”.  He was buried with cotton seed in his pocket.


Sue Ann’s maternal Grandfather, Mack Mize, raised the first bale of cotton in 1922.  Her father was part owner, President and manager of East Rio Hondo Gin; granddaughter Carly was named Cotton Queen of the Miles Cotton Festival.  Sue Ann grew up hearing cotton called “WHITE GOLD”.


When cotton was hauled to the gin in trailers, Sue Ann remembers sitting in line at the gin to snag empty trailers and haul them to the field for her father.  Later when J.B. and Sue Ann were dating, they pulled many empty and full trailers of Taubert cotton.


The Taubert’s have many wonderful memories of being raised on the farm and are proud their sons followed in those footsteps. The Taubert’s have been lifelong members of the First Baptist Church of Rio Hondo and enjoy spending any time they can with four grandchildren, Carly, Elyse, Brystal, and Dryden Taubert.


The Taubert’s sincerely thank everyone for this honor and will continue to support and promote the cotton industry for many years to come.

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