At midnight Sunday night, we arrived home from a 10 day trip to Claremore, Oklahoma for the Miniature Hereford Junior Nationals.
If you have been following along on our Facebook and Instagram pages, you have seen that the trip didn't quite turn out the way we had planned.
Isaac's heifer, Angel, got very sick on our trip. At one point, we didn't know if she would live through the night. After 2 visits from the vet, an IV, tons of help from people around the barn, every medication under the sun and being pumped with electrolyte fluids multiple times a day, we felt like she was as stable as she was going to get to make the trip home.
Isaac had to pull Angel from the show, which was a huge disappointment, but by that point, he didn't care. He just wanted her to get better. Angel's illness started a chain of events that created unthinkable challenges for Isaac.
Since Angel was so fragile and the temperatures were still in the 90's, we decided to drive the 15 hours home without stopping. It made for a very long trip, but we made it.
Our vet was out yesterday to take blood samples and evaluate the situation. He is pretty confident Angel has an ulcer, but the blood work should tell us if that ulcer ruptured. She wouldn't eat or drink all week because her stomach just hurt. Her rumen still is not functioning so we started her on a 4 day regiment of rumen juice. She is still a very sick cow, but we have a plan in place to get her gut functioning properly again. She will be on a strict grass and hay diet with lots of probiotic supplements until we get her gut bugs working again. It is going to be a long road to recovery, but we are up for the challenge.
One of our favorite parts of Junior Nationals is that even if you don't win with your cattle, you can still be competitive in the other competitions.
The boys have spent all summer working on projects and preparations for the contests.
Isaac made this amazing barrel table and pallet chairs for the arts & crafts competition and he won 1st place in the senior division.
He spent countless hours on this project and learned a ton of new skills in the process.
Walker made a paper pieced pillow with the help of his grandma and won 4th place in the intermediate division.
Isaac was awarded a $500 scholarship from the McIntyre family for the Mimi Scholarship award. That money will be going straight into his college fund!
Both boys competed in the sales talk competition. This is where they try to "sell" their cow to the judges. Angel was too sick to take up to the ring, so Isaac just had to use a picture on his phone. The judges were pretty impressed with Isaac's skills and even asked him if he had ever sold cattle for anyone else.
I loved Walker's demeanor and professionalism...even though he was nervous.
Both boys entered pictures in the photography contest. Walker opted to do a lot of editing and change his photo to black and white. I was occupied with other things, so he just watched some youtube videos and figured out the editing program all by himself. This is not something he probably would have done on any given Sunday afternoon, but the competition forced him to learn a new skill that he will just be able to build upon.
Isaac's picture was taken at the last minute between rain storms, and he wasn't completely satisfied with how it turned out, but he was out of time. Must not have been too bad, because he won second place in the senior division.
Isaac was also awarded the Weaver Determination Character Award for his perseverance in completing his arts and crafts project.
Weaver says of determination that "success isn't something you're given. Showmen who have achieved success knew what they wanted, stayed on track and continually practiced to make show day look effortless. They were determined that the obstacles they faced would not defeat their dreams."
Isaac received this award early in the week. Little did we know how fitting this award would become with the challenges he faced at the end of the week.
Walker was on a cooking team with 3 junior and pre-junior girls. Their team decided to make a 7 layer Mexican dip. It actually turned out really good and was so refreshing on a hot day. They didn't win, but had fun putting all the layers together.
They had to provide samples for about 125 people and you can see they spelled out MHJN 2019 with the sample cups.
Isaac was on a cooking team with 2 other seniors. The seniors are supposed to make their meal with little parent involvement. Thankfully they had a girl on their team, because the boys are not too adept at cooking. Their team made salsa beef in the instapot. Isaac had made the dish one time before at home, but we had never doubled the recipe. It was an experiment that we were hoping would not be a disaster. They were running out of time, the table was a mess, and the meal was still cooking. Somehow, they got everything pulled together and the meal and table looked amazing. The food was pretty good too. They finally relaxed and were laughing and joking with the judges as they were explaining their meal.
I think Isaac is going to be cooking more often around here, because his team pulled off a 2nd place finish.
The boys also competed in the judging contest, but I don't have any glorious pictures of that. We were back in the barn trying to recoup from the chaos of the day.
This is Walker's intermediate fitting team. They didn't win, but they had fun and we even found them over in a corner making a list of assignments and contemplating their strategy.
Isaac's senior fitting team was a well-oiled machine and won second place.
If you are tired after reading this...we are just as tired. The boys have worked tirelessly this summer to prepare for junior nationals. We had some extreme challenges this week, but the boys persevered. We have seen such maturity, strength and growth in them.
Isaac was rewarded with the Herdsman Award...but that will have to wait for another post. I am still processing all that happened...
Junior Nationals was an amazing experience. The boys competed against over 150 kids and over 300 head of cattle. The program is growing exponentially. The crew that puts on this show is amazing and we can't thank them enough. They have given my kids opportunities and experiences that will stay with them for a lifetime.
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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.