After a couple of months away from the show ring, we began our new show season the week before Thanksgiving at N.A.I.L.E..
Then, the day after Thanksgiving we started the new B.E.S.T. season.
For those of you that are new here, the B.E.S.T. is a youth program sponsored by the Ohio Cattlemen's Association. The season begins in November and ends in March at the Ohio Beef Expo. We show approximately every 2 weeks at different locations all over Ohio. You accumulate points at each show and then a banquet is held at the end of the year to award the participants with the highest points in each division.
The first show of the season is held in Lima, Ohio. It is one of the most attended shows of the season and it is always fun to see all the new cows. You never know what is going to show up, and it is your first look at your competition for the year.
The Lima show is always one of our favorites. It is the first time we have seen many of our friends in several months and it is a great time of catching up.
However, there is huge down side to this show...
It falls on the weekend of the Ohio State vs. Michigan football game. If you know anything about college football, you know that the Buckeyes and that state up North is one of the biggest rivalries in college football. Even if you are not into football...you are into this game.
It can be challenging to fit your cow, prep for the show ring and keep up on the score of the game...but, just look for a crowd of people and you know they are huddled around a T.V.
This is not our T.V....but we did make some new friends.
We went a little crazy this year and took 4 cows to the show.
The real reason....we still hadn't decided who Walker and Isaac were going to show this year.
We would make a decision...and then change it the next day. This went on for months.
So...we decided to take all four and let the judges decide.
By the time we made it to the show ring, we had pretty well decided on the two we were going to show all season...the same two we had decided on a month before.
Ribbon and River are our 2 youngest calves. River was born in May and Ribbon was born at the end of June. They are younger than most of the cows in the show circuit, but if we learned anything from last year it's that age doesn't always matter.
The beginning of the season can be challenging because they are so much smaller than the others, but a good judge is going to be able to see past the age differences and still pick the best cow.
Jewel and Fina are our 2 older calves, so they were in a separate class from Ribbon and River.
Isaac and Walker chose to show Ribbon and River, but since they would exit one side of the show ring and Jewel and Fina would enter right on their heels from the other side of the arena, they decided to recruit some friends to help them show.
The thing you have to understand about these kids is that they love to show. It doesn't matter what cow is on the end of the lead, they just want to lead cows around. Logan and Kay Kay were more than willing to step into the show ring for us.
This show can also be interesting, because for many cows, this is the first time they have ever been in a show ring. That means...there are always some cantankerous cows and sometimes a few rodeos.
Jewel was one of the cantankerous ones. She wasn't too impressed with the whole show thing.
Unfortunately for Jewel, Kay Kay is the youngest of 4 and she has a little fire in her veins too.
Kay Kay had her work cut out for her, but she stuck with it and the more Jewel fought, the more Kay Kay smiled.
Ribbon and Jewel came out on top in their classes.
The order was changed up a bit in ring B, but Ribbon and Jewel both topped their classes again.
Ribbon ended up winning the division (see I told you age doesn't always matter) and Jewel took reserve in the division.
They are our keepers and Isaac will show Ribbon this season and Walker will show Jewel.
River will be showing the rest of the season, but for her new owner.
Fina is back out in the field...just being a cow.
All four of the cows that we took to Lima this year are from our herd. We had enough heifers this year that we didn't need to buy any from anyone else.
Part of the reason that it was so difficult for us to decide which cows to show is because there is a really good reason to keep and show each one.
Ribbon's half sister won Reserve Grand Champion at Louisville last year. He mom is getting up there in age and has had some health problems, so we don't know how many more calves we will get out of her.
River is the first calf out of that Reserve Grand Champion at Louisville. She is full of champion blood and we are anxious to see how she matures.
Jewel is a wild card. Her mom was a late bloomer, but Jewel seems to be holding her own.
Fina....what to do with Fina.
Fina's mom, Missy, is the matriach of the herd. Almost every calf she has thrown has been a champion. Fina is only the second heifer we have had out of Missy. In a very week moment last year, we sold her other heifer and have regretted it every day since. Missy is 14 years old and had a very rough summer. We thought we were going to lose her. At 14, we know that Fina may be the last calf we get. We need those blood lines, so Fina is sticking around, but we are just not sure she is cut out for the show ring.
I love these first of the season backdrop pictures. It is fun to look back at the end of the season and see how much they have changed over the year.
Ribbon has a lot of growing to do...and I bet you Isaac will grow out of those jeans before the season is over.
The B.E.S.T. program is a phenomenal opportunity and we have learned and grown so much from participating. It is a lot of work, but the lessons learned, cattle knowledge gained, good times with friends and growing together as a family are priceless.
Isaac is really maturing and taking pride in his cows. His dad is even starting to trust him with a little fitting.
Walker is just having fun.
You can't win all the time, and before the season began, we prepared ourselves for a losing season. We aren't being pessimists, we just know that there are a lot of really good cows out there. When you buy a calf, you get to be a little picky with your money. When you pull from your own herd, your options are more limited. We don't have a calf that has really pulled to the top this year...which is partly why we couldn't decide who to show.
When we won at Lima, we were pleasantly surprised...and relieved.
But...it can all change.
Different day...different judge...different winner.
We are excited for the year, and regardless of who wins and who loses, we always have fun. Each year we meet new people and build our circle of friends.
This show life is a good life...
A tiring life...
But a good one.
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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.