Tag Archives: Livestock Shows

More Than A Competition

14 Oct

wde-14-181-editedI am no stranger to livestock shows, but I recently had the opportunity to attend my first World Dairy Expo. I have to admit, some things are VERY different. Fitting is one of those on the long list. We are always in the mode of growing hair in beef cattle. In fact, I don’t think you can have too much. So, how do you fit a dairy cow who has such little hair?

That question and more were answered when I strolled through the dairy barns and got the chance to talk with Steven Nelson who won the youth fitting contest at World Dairy Expo. Steven lives in Grovespring, MO and that just happens to be my home too. There in the small southern Missouri town, Steven milks 45 head of cows with his dad. He is in charge of all the milking year-round, tackles hay in the summer months and works for his neighbor who milks 100 head. Steven plans to take over the family operation when he finishes college.

Steven further explains the competition saying he had one hour to get one dairy cow ready for the ring. “You have to blow up the hair on their top line because you want their back to be perfectly straight. You also blow up their belly hair and blend it in with their body to make her look deeper and fuller, but also making her look sharper and more angular.” A professional fitter serves as the judge and watches each contestant throughout the entire competition.

Steven didn’t bring any of his own head to show during the Expo, but was working for another Missouri string. He said it didn’t really matter how well they all did and that it was more about the opportunity because all the cattle at the World Dairy Expo were good.

Listen to my complete interview with Steven here.


State Fairs – A Family Affair

21 Aug

IMG_0332 editedI literally grew up at the Missouri State Fair. I was just a little one when I first attended the fair with my dad and I haven’t missed a year since. My dad worked for the Missouri FFA and ran the FFA Building during the two-week event. I remember hanging out with the State FFA Officers while running through displays of corn and soybean seeds, flowers of all shapes and sizes and thinking all the ag mechanics projects were my own personal playground.

The Missouri State Fair brings back so many great memories for me. We ate meals in the youth building, slept in the administration building and when my sister and I were lucky, we even got to ride some rides. But the best memories come from exhibiting Hereford cattle year after year. Whether we walked away with a blue ribbon or not, we did it as a family. I actually met my, now husband, at the fair. The 2014 Missouri State Fair marked our 10 year anniversary of dating. How many of you can say you met the love of your life at the fair?

IMG_0346 edited Now we stay in a camper and eat our meals around a grill with our friends and family, but we still show cattle at the fair. However, my family has grown. This past year we had the privilege of welcoming a new member to our family. Miss Harper James Johansen attended her first state fair this year. When we pushed her stroller up and down the aisles of the barn or carried her as we tailed one to the ring, I have never seen my husband so excited and proud.

State fairs across the country are a family affair. My daughter’s state fair moments have already begun, even though she won’t quite remember them herself. I look forward to watching her grow up exhibiting livestock, eating corn dogs and creating friendships that will last a lifetime. Thanks dad for instilling a love of fairs in me and all the hard work and good times that go along with them.

Hello again…

6 Sep
Here is an early ultrasound picture taken at about 10 weeks. During this Dr.'s visit we got to hear the heart beat for the first time.

Here is an early ultrasound picture taken at about 10 weeks. During this Dr.’s visit we got to hear the heart beat for the first time.

I am utterly embarrassed with my lack of posting. Things have been kind of crazy with my life since early spring. But I am done using that as an excuse and want to update everyone on my life in the hills.

The biggest news is after almost four years of unsuccessful attempts in trying to start a family we are excited to announce our first child is due February 1st, 2014. Thanks to lots of prayers, a strong faith and science I get to start decorating a nursery very soon. I believe it is finally settling in that I am pregnant. After so many years of never thinking it would happen, it is hard to fathom it’s actually truth. But over my busy summer of camps and cattle shows, the morning/all day sickness was a constant reminder. Still it wasn’t until recently that I let myself truly believe I am going to be a mom. Clothes are starting to get smaller and finding a comfortable position to sleep in is getting annoying.

The moment of truth will come on September 24th. The day we find out if we are having a boy or a girl. I honestly don’t care either way. But part of me really wants a girl…why? If you show cattle you are aware of all the bling, bling out there for show sticks, show halters and everything comes is lots of bright colors. My husband’s stance is the use of anything other than a black or silver show stick and a black or brown show halter is a big no, no. He strongly feels even his own future daughter (who I know will have him completely wrapped around her little finger) will have none of that bling, bling crap. I am betting he caves. Anyone want to place your bets?

Food Fit For A King

12 Oct

Summer show season has come and gone…thankfully! I love showing at state fairs and other local summer show, but it is always so dang hot. I would rather bundle up in layer after layer then sweat my butt off while in the showring. Our barn if full of stock we are taking to shows this fall and winter. The American Royal is right around the corner and I can’t wait!

While feeding this morning I got to thinking how we worry more about the diet of our show cattle then we do our own. Don’t get me wrong, I try and eat healthy, but it just doesn’t always happen. Each animal in our showbarn gets a different hand-mixed ration. Check out the mixture for our fat and sassy show heifers.

Show cattle feed

I am sure you can ID many of these ingredients, but I don’t want you to strain your brain so I will help you out.

Sweet Feed

Cottonseed Hulls


Wet Beet Pulp

Dry Beet Pulp

Full Tank

Sure Champ


When I mix feed a song from my childhood comes to mind. Has anyone ever heard of Raffi? I believe the song Oats, Peas, Beans & Barley Grow was on a CD I had of his growing up. My mom may tell me different, but I am certain it was ingrained in my brain from the ever famous Barney. Yes, I was an avid watcher of the purple dinosaur. Incase this little children’s song has never graced your ear I have shared it with you below. Maybe you two can learn a little bit from Barney and his friends. Sorry the quality isn’t the greatest.

Reality Show on the Road

24 Feb

I just read my AgWired daily news update and I am so sad I missed out on the latest ZimmPoll. They asked, “What’s the next “big” thing in ag comm/social media?” The majority of voters said smartphones/mobile apps are the next big thing. This would easily have been my second vote, because I can’t lie about my obsession with my lil best friend (aka my iPhone). Reality Show on the RoadBut farm reality TV show would have won my vote. My husband and I have had multiple conversations about turning life on the show road into a reality show. No, I do not me the Broadway show road. I am talking about life traveling from livestock show to livestock show. Those who have traveled from the American Royal to North American International Livestock Expedition to National Western Stock Show to Fort Worth Stock Show and then to Houston Livestock Show all have a story to tell. Some from the winners circle and others from late night barn parties. Cameras can capture the breed rivalries and the scandalous barn relationships. Then catch the early mornings and hours of getting ready for those few minutes of glory in the ring. Can’t you picture it?

I have met some of my best friends over the years showing cattle. That’s even how I met my husband. During my first year of teaching agriculture education I had a freshman girl ask me how I met my husband. I responded with, “It started when my dad hired him…” I didn’t have time to finish the sentence before the entire class erupted in laughter. It took me a second to get what they were laughing at. I finally was able to say, “It started when my dad hired him to fit cattle for us at the Ozark Empire Fair.” But my students never forgot my blunder in word choice and continued to believe money was exchanged between my dad and husband. I can honestly say after that summer at the Ozark Empire Fair the rest was history. My husband and I still travel from show to show year-round exhibiting cattle, hanging out with friends and of course making new ones.

I hope you join me in thinking the next reality show should be called, “The Show Road.”

And don’t think you can go make money on this amazing idea without cutting me a check.

%d bloggers like this: