Last week we made our second trip down to Louisville, KY for the North American International Livestock Exhibition (NAILE).
To be honest...none of us really wanted to go. I don't know why, but we just dreaded the trip. All the packing, planning, money and hard work, just wasn't floating my boat.
But, we knew we had to do this. We have some cows that needed to be in the show ring.
This year we were fortunate to take Nick along with us. Nick was a huge help to us with all the heavy lifting and work involved in a show. Loading, unloading, setitng up, feeding and washing and drying every day is enough to wear anyone out. The extra hands just makes the work load a little bit lighter for everyone and especially enables Daniel to conserve his energy and enjoy the show.
The day before we left, we found out that our fitter was not going to be able to make it to the show. We weren't too concerned because we knew there would be plenty of people down in Louisville who we could hire to fit for us. Unfortunately, that ended up being a much more difficult task than we anticipated. We did finally find several different groups to help out, but I think we may have developed a few ulcers in the process.
Daniel and Nick are both very capable of clipping and fitting. We have 5 head and it is a lot of work and stress to get them all ready at the same time. Daniel doesn't work as quickly as the professional fitters, so hiring fitters at Louisville and the Ohio Beef Expo is just part of the budget. It allows Daniel to watch the boys show and reduces the stress levels immensely.
We left home early Tuesday morning and arrived in Louisville around 10:30 a.m. We quickly unloaded, set up our stall area and then washed all the cows.
Nick, Daniel and Isaac are in the back corner.
With every one working together, we could get all 5 cows washed and dried in about an hour.
This is the first set of clippers touching up the cows. They had been clipped a week earlier, but their hair had grown a lot!
These guys aren't used to clipping on their knees. They were happy when they got to Rain and could stand up again.
Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty relaxed. We spent our days washing, drying, finding clippers and had time for the occassional trip to the trade show to do some shopping.
Isaac is trying to catch a nap on show day.
I think maybe it was his way of trying to escape the drama.
At this point, we weren't even sure if the fitters were going to show up...but they did.
Walker had all the halters ready to go.
Once it gets close to show time, everyone is running around like a chicken with their head cut off. It can get really crazy really quickly.
You can always tell when it is almost show time by the state of someones stall area. When it looks like a tornado hit...then it is almost show time.
The fitters arrived about 30 minutes before the show started. Nick jumped in and helped while Isaac and Walker grabbed something to eat.
We made it. Everything got done in the nick of time.
Daniel and Isaac had a few minutes to catch their breath before the Junior show started.
Isaac showed Six and Walker showed Rain in the Junior show. They both won their classes and were in the final drive together.
There is nothing that I like to see more than both of my boys showing in the ring together.
Walker and Rain won Grand Champion in the Junior show.
Isaac and Six won Reserve Grand Champion in the Junior show.
This is when I started breathing again. No matter what happened the rest of the day, we had just accomplished far more than we had ever hoped.
We all relaxed a little and were really able to enjoy the rest of the show. Everything that came after was just gravy.
We started off the open show with Isaac showing Amber. Amber is Isaac's baby and he is very proud of her. The judge thought she was too clubby, but she did win her class.
Charity and Saxon are only seven days different in age, so they were in the same class together. Once again Isaac and Walker were in the ring together.
Charity placed first in the class and Saxon placed second.
Charity then went on to win the division as the Champion Spring Heifer Calf.
Saxon was named Reserve Champion Spring Heifer Calf.
Next up was Six. She was a single entry in her class and then went on to compete in her division.
Six was named the Reserve Champion Spring Senior Heifer.
Rain was a single entry in her class and her division. She was guaranteed a spot in the final drive.
This is when it got really crazy.
We had 4 out of our 5 cows in the final drive. Isaac showed Six, Walker showed Rain, Nick showed Charity and we grabbed Cody Ramsey to show Saxon for us.
I was running around trying to figure out who was showing who and making sure that everyone had the correct back numbers. It was not a scenario we had anticipated, but a really good problem to have.
It was a surreal moment for us.
I didn't know where to point the camera.
The judge chose TNT Willo's Little Momma as the Grand Champion Heifer owned by Hudson Fleener.
Six was Reserve Champion in that division, so Isaac then entered the line up.
As Isaac was lining up, the judge shook Walkers hand and named Rain as the Reserve Grand Champion Heifer.
Our final class was the pair of females with Amber and Rain. They placed second in this class.
Our day was finally over and what a day it was.
Charity as the Spring Heifer Division Champion
Saxon as the Spring Heifer Reserve Division Champion
Six as the Spring Senior Heifer Reserve Division Champion and Reserve Grand Champion Junior Heifer
Rain as the Senior Yearling Division Champion, Grand Champion Junior Heifer and the Reserve Grand Champion Heifer.
We went to Louisville with no expectations. We just wanted to have fun as a family. I can't say that it was all fun, but it sure was fun once the show started.
I don't think it has really sunk in yet.
We attribute our success to a lot of hard work and a lot of luck. We also know that we didn't do this alone. There are so many people that have helped us along our way. We couldn't have done this alone.
Rain and Six have both had an amazing year, and what a way to finish their show careers. They are now home and out to pasture. Their show days are over and they get to focus on being mommas. We are so excited to see the offspring that they will produce for our farm.
Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.