Tag Archives: Show Cattle

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.

Family Blessings Leading Up To Sale Day

24 Apr

Sale Catalog CoverAs we have prepared for our annual production sale, we can’t miss the opportunity to update folks on issues our family has faced over the last couple of months. In mid November, a supposedly minor outpatient surgery on dad’s foot exposed clear-cell sarcoma, which had spread throughout his entire right foot. Our family learned that the only way to treat this form of cancer was to remove the foot halfway between the ankle and knee. During the first week of December we traveled yet again to Barnes Hospital in St. Louis for the surgery.

Our family has been so blessed with everyone’s thoughts and prayers. We all have felt the hand of God through this trial in our lives. So many have shared their pledge of prayers. It is certainly humbling to watch the prayer support through dad’s students and friends at Missouri State, the Aurora/Mt. Vernon communities and, of course, the cattle industry across the Midwest. Our prayers were answered when doctors shared that CT scans found dad was cancer free once the amputation was completed.

Recovery has gone very well. Dad was back at the university fulltime by January 2nd. He mastered the art of driving with his left foot. And as you can guess hasn’t missed a beat when it comes to the cattle. Dad only missed one Sunday at the piano bench and his left foot has taken over the foot pedals. This life-changing event has been challenging, but recovery has progressed rapidly because of his amazing attitude towards it. His positivity has allowed so many to grow stronger in their faith and remember that God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle.

Dad can continue the cattle operation, teaching and working with students. He can spoil his first granddaughter, Harper James Johansen, born to Kevin and I on February 5th, walk Joanna down the aisle as she marries Neal Wilkinson in August and continue to climb the many steps to watch Jonathan march in the Pride band.

Dad began walking again with a prosthetic leg in mid February, but brags of catching a calf with only one leg on his hands and knees earlier this winter. Just the other day I watched my dad help his mom, who has two bad knees, down a step while leaving a restaurant. Then, she turned around and helped him balance the same step down. If you didn’t know the pair, you could have easily felt sorry for them, but not my dad and grandma. As I watched them help each other, all I could see was their smiles stretching from ear to ear.

2014 has started out with a bang for our family. God’s grace continues to bless our lives and as we have prepared for this sale we are once again reminded that none of this would be possible without you. Few things make my dad happier then creating mating’s that will help others grow their herds of “No Excuse Herefords.” We know we have a great offering to share with you in our 14th Production Sale. Thank you for being a part of our family for so many years.

View our online sale catalog here.

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?

Behind The Auction Block

10 Dec

Sale day prep consists of a little bit more than just running cattle through the ring in the purebred cattle world. This past weekend we consigned a few of our Charolais heifers to the ShowGirls Charolais Sale. We also helped get them ready for the day. Take a behind the auction block look at what goes on before buyers gather in the stands.

Blowing drying the hair.

Each heifer and steer was given a bath the day before the sale. But just like a child playing outside, cattle don’t listen to you when you tell them to stay out of the mud. So, early sale day each one was ran back through the chutes and given a spot wash. Here I am blowing out the water and given the hair coat a final fluff.

Clipping tops.

Then comes the clipping crew to clip off any stray hairs that got missed a couple days before when they were clipped out.

Pulling tailhead.

Next comes a little bit of glue. Each will get the hair on their tail heads pulled using adhesive to make them look their best for the big day.

Clipping out tailhead.

Now time to bring out the clippers again. Here my husband is clipping off the long hairs on the tail head after adding the glue.

My view during the sale.

Once this process was repeated about 30 times, it was time for the sale to begin. This was my view during the sale. I put a comb through their hair one last time before they went into the ring as I ran the slider gates behind the auction block.

Good friend and photographer, Beverly Englert, took the following pictures during the sale. It’s always nice to have a professional around. Thanks Beverly for letting me share them.

Showgirls Crew

Here is the crew that made the magic happen. Thank you everyone for making the day a success!

Showgirls Jamie


No comment!

Showgirls Kevin & Jamie


We never get our picture taken together, because it seems I am always the one taking the pictures. Thanks again Beverly.

Showgirls Kevin DV

My husband, Kevin, also works for DV Auction. He is the one behind the scenes making it possible for you to watch sales from the comfort of your recliner.


A Rich History At The American Royal

6 Nov

The 2012 American Royal runs from Sept.9 – Nov. 17 and is chalk full of events for friends and family to partake in all promoting the wonderful world of agriculture. This event has such a rich history founded on the agricultural industry. In 1899 the very first American Royal took place in a tent at the Kansas City Stockyards as a National Hereford Show. Today, it has evolved into a place where people come to show livestock and horses, attend rodeos and concerts, and even come to taste award-winning barbecue.

The overall purpose for this historic event is, “To provide scholarship, education, awards and competitive learning experiences that reward hard work, leadership skills and agrarian values.”

“As an organization dedicated to youth and education, the American Royal reaches over 20,000 students annually with educational programs and events yearlong through the American Royal Museum, School Tours, Ranch Camp, KALF (Kids Agriculture Learning Fest) and various other programs. In 2011, the American Royal granted over $1,400,000 towards its purpose in the form of scholarships, competitive prize monies and educational awards.”

The past two weeks people from across the country have flocked to Kansas City, Mo. to exhibit their cattle, pigs, sheep and goats. I can’t tell you the last time I have missed showing at the American Royal. I started out there exhibiting cattle as a junior and creating memories with my family. Later as a college student I traveled there cultivating skills while working for others. And now I attend with my husband while promoting and exhibiting our own cattle. Each time developing life-time friendships and building a foundation for our future in the agriculture industry.

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.

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