My men made it home last week from their 10 day trip to Kearney, Nebraska for the Miniature Hereford Junior Nationals.
They had an awesome experience and spent all Monday night telling me all about their adventures.
They loaded up the truck and left early on a Saturday morning with a plan to drive as far as they could. They made it to Kansas City and stopped for the night.
Sunday afternoon they made it to the Burke Ranch in Nebraska. We don't know the Burkes...they are an acquaintance of a friend.
The Burkes were very gracious and let us invade their territory for a few days while we rested the cattle before heading the rest of the way to Kearney,
The boys have never driven out West, so this was a whole new world to them.
Pasture land as far as the eye can see.
Tuesday morning they pulled into Kearney and set up shop for the week.
There were 103 youth at the Junior Nationals. They said last year everyone fit on one set of bleachers...this year they needed two.
There are activities all week long for the kids. When we sent in registrations, there were a bunch of competitions they could choose to register for. Most of these are activities Isaac and Walker have never done, but they decided to have some fun and give it a try.
About the only things they weren't game for was the poster contest and crafts. They are boys after all...
I was very nervous sending them on their way, because I knew they were not prepared for the competitions. We wanted to practice for the sales talk, practice cooking, research what to do for the judging contest, etc.
Of course, we didn't get a chance to do any of that...so I sent them off with a kiss and some links to You Tube videos to watch in the hotel.
Isaac competed in the sales talk. Nick is holding Ribbon and Isaac is trying to "sell" her to the judge. They give the registrations papers to the judge, but are not allowed to have any notes with them.
Nick has competed in a sales talk before so he really helped the boys prepare and gave them some good pointers.
Here is Walker "selling" Jewel.
Isaac won 3rd place and Walker won 1st place in the sales talk.
Pretty good for a couple of rookies!
Next up was the fitting teams.
They were each assigned to a group of 5 participants with a mix of older kids and younger kids.
Then they had to present the finished product to the judges.
Isaac's team won 5th place
Walker and Nick were on the same team.
Part of your score is determined by the participation of all team members. You can't have just one person doing all the work. Everyone must contribute.
Walker and Nick's team won first place!
Next up was the judging contest.
They have both participated in a judging contest before...but they don't really know what they are doing.
Isaac walked away with 5th place.
Then they had the beef cook off.
Again they were assigned a team. Isaac and Walker were on the same team with a 6 and a 9 year old girl.
My boys know how to cook...they just never do it.
I was just hoping the judges wouldn't get food poisoning.
They were totally winging this one. We had no idea what to expect. Daniel made a Walmart run to buy place settings, silverware, flowers and food for side dishes.
They were all excited until...
They saw the piñata and matching outfits of the other teams...
And realized there were 3 judges and they only had one place setting.
They got creative with what they had and just had fun.
They grilled the ribeye with steak seasoning, grilled asparagus in a foil packet with olive oil and salt and pepper, cut up strawberries sprinkled with sugar, and had a side salad.
It must have been edible, because they got to eat the leftovers.
They are already planning what they are going to prepare next year.
Friday afternoon was showmanship.
This is what Isaac lives for.
For the first time, Isaac and Walker were in the same division so they went head to head.
Both of them made it to the finals for the intermediate division.
Isaac finished in 3rd place!
Saturday morning was show day.
Since the boys did so well in the fitting contest, Daniel handed over the reigns and let them do all the show day fitting and preparations. If you know Daniel, you know what a big step this is for both him and the boys.
Nick won Reserve Division with Apollo.
Walker showed Jewel
Isaac got 2nd in his class with Ribbon
Words cannot express the gratitude we have to those who worked so hard to make Junior Nationals a success.
The boys were so excited to have an all boys trip out West, show their cows and make some memories. Little did they know how much fun they would have. They were stretched outside of their comfort zones in many of the competitions, but they learned so much from each experience.
We didn't expect the cattle to do that well in the show ring. We were there for the experience. The cows did better than we expected, but we were even more grateful for the boys' success outside of the show ring.
This has been a crazy year for us, and I felt like a bad mom sending my kids so unprepared. But, they rose to the challenge and took responsibility.
We have spent years "training" them to be young men of character. The best phone calls I received were when Daniel would tell me of how they had helped someone without being asked or told. Yes, we have prodded them many, many times to help others, whether it is unloading a heavy load or picking up chairs and tables after an event. But, the days they do this all on their own...these are the days when you just look on with pride. It didn't fall on deaf ears...this is who they really are.
I have been told that I will be going to Oklahoma with them next year for the Miniature Hereford Junior Nationals. It is a long time until next June, but I know it will be worth the wait.
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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.