The U.S. beef cattle industry is segmented into two broad categories, feeder cattle production and feedlot finishing. During the transition from feeder production to the feedlot, background information concerning the quality and potential of individual animals is often lost. The lack of background information limits the potential to optimize feedlot management strategies. Using data from a large commercial feedlot in the U.S. Southern Plains region, this research analyzes the impacts of background characteristics on feedlot performance. The background characteristics include origin and ownership status. Results from Mixed Linear Models and an Ordered Logit Model indicate differences in feedlot performance and economic returns between customer cattle and cattle owned by the feedlot. Origin also has a notable impact on the health and feeding efficiency of cattle on feed. The background characteristics and pen-level observations allow the data to be categorized into distinct groups. A descriptive analysis of placement weight categories confirms general expectations for feedlot performance and differences based on background qualities. The pen-level data also highlights the range of variation for feedlot performance variables.