It has now been two weeks since we started our journey out to Duncan, Oklahoma for the Miniature Hereford Breeders Association and Miniature Hereford Youth Foundation Miniature Hereford Junior Nationals.
We arrived to humid mid-nineties temperatures, but fortunately, the hottest days ended up being the day we unloaded and the day we loaded. The rest of the week was just about the best weather we could have asked for. It was still hot, but a couple of cloudy and rainy days helped to keep the temperatures and humidity bearable. Besides, the show ring and contest areas were all air conditioned, so if the heat got to be too much, we had plenty of places to escape. We did keep an eye on the radar (because we do have a kid terrified of tornadoes), but the few night time storms were fairly mild and most of the red cells stayed just outside our radars.
You know you had a good time when after 10 days no one in the family is ready to go home. Not only were we not ready to go home...but we were all ready to head right back to Oklahoma as soon as we did get home.
We all agreed, this was the best Junior Nationals and best cattle show we have ever been to. It was just plain fun!
It certainly helped that the boys came home with a combined total of 18 banners and a buckle. They had a very successful week, but they also had a ton of fun with friends, meeting new people and connecting face to face with so many people that we have only known through phone calls and social media.
The week started out with the non-cattle competitions.
Isaac competed in the prepared speech contest by adapting a Power Point presentation on Artificial Insemination that he had done for Science class, and placed second in the senior division.
He also competed in the Sales competition by selling semen on our bulls 4 Wiley Smith and 4 Wiley Wesson.
Walker competed in the sales competition by selling an Easy Fit grooming chute.
Walker ended up winning first place and Isaac 2nd place in the sales competitions.
When we got their score sheets back, both Isaac and Walker had a the same score. We were a little puzzled until we found out that the judges couldn't decide between the two, so they ended up flipping for the winner. We all just laughed, because if you know anything about our family...Isaac ALWAYS looses coin tosses.
Prior to Junior Nationals, the boys submitted a couple of photos for the photography contest. These pictures were judged by professional photographers.
Above is the picture that Isaac submitted and won 1st place in the Our Heritage category.
Walker won second in the Our Heritage category with a picture of the newborn calf that he helped pull while we were frantically preparing for the graduation party.
Walker won 1st place in the On the Farm category with this picture of Candy Cane taken right after she had her first calf.
Isaac won second in the On the Farm category with a picture of a storm rolling in that he captured on his cell phone.
What I love about the contests is that it forces the boys to go outside of their comfort zones and learn new things. Neither one of them ever go near my camera, but if it means they get to compete against each other, they are all in.
It has been fun to stand beside them and teach them some of the photography skills I have learned over the years. They are learning about composition, lighting, the rule of thirds, and then we go inside and they get a crash course in editing. These pictures represent them learning and growing and they are sooooo proud of these pictures.
They also submitted entries in the non-traditional arts and crafts.
Walker won first with his garden fountain. As we were rebuilding our wall and landscaping this spring, I realized that we really needed a fountain out by the patio. Walker was on a mission to kill two birds with one stone and give me what I wanted while completing a project for Junior Nationals.
Walker and Dad talked and talked and perused Pinterest to determine exactly how to do it. Of course we were down to the wire by the time we started building, but unfortunately Daniel was out of town the week before we left dealing with a family emergency. That meant Mom and Walker went to the hardware store to buy all the supplies and then Walker built the fountain all by himself. Isaac and I helped strategize, but Walker was not about to let Isaac touch his project. It took some creative thinking and changing course multiple times, but he is very proud of the results...and I am happily listening to the calming effects of the water as I sit on the patio.
Isaac won second place in non-traditional crafts with his leather buckle banner.
He finished this before his graduation party and used it to display some of his winning belt buckles on the wall of awards.
This project was Isaac's fall back plan when his first choice fell through. We happen to have a friend who has a leather shop, and he was more than happy to teach Isaac the ropes. Isaac fell in love with leather and already has orders to make more of these banners.
Each evening we had a fun activity. The first night was the cow costume contest.
Walker won his age division with the Trump Train...yes, his steer is named Trump so it was only fitting. Here in the picture with him is the winner of the adult division that came as a Trump supporter.
Isaac was a "political debate" with Kennedy wanting people to eat 3-D steaks and Isaac is a meat eater with a shirt that say "Make Beef Great Again".
If you have talked to Isaac in the last year or so...you will understand that this isn't really a costume for him...this is exactly how he feels.
Daniel entered in the adult division as a "Broke Dad".
His shirt says "Ain't No Money in the White House" and his cow is wearing money.
You see...we live in a white house on a hill...and our kids show cattle...so all our money is in the cows and we are flat broke!
The costume contest was loads of fun!
One evening we had cow olympics where they had to see who could get their cow through the obstacle course the fastest with the crowd cheering them on.
Daniel won in the adult division, Walker got 1st and Isaac 3rd place in the senior division.
Isaac's team placed second in team fitting and Walker's team came in third.
Walker place 4th in the senior division of the judging contest and Isaac placed 5th.
Shew...this is getting long...I am going to fly through the rest of the week.
Showmanship is Isaac's thing. This is the one he really wanted....
But...he place second behind his little brother.
But the real story was Mom and Dad.
Daniel and I competed in the adult showmanship that was a fundraiser for the Ambassador and Royalty program.
Yes...Mom got out in the ring for only the second time in her life...and won 2nd place with Daniel winning first.
It was so much fun and everyone was laughing, joking and just having a good time. I can't think of a better way to let loose and raise money for our youth.
And no...it really wasn't rigged. The judge had no idea Isaac and Walker were brothers or that Daniel and I were married until we told him after the show.
It was a fun day for the 4 Wileys of 4 Wiley Farm.
Then we moved on to the cattle shows.
Autumn won her division in the Bred and Owned category and won reserve division in the owned category
Walker won Reserve Division with his bull, JWS Cole Younger.
And Trump won his division as a prospect steer.
Kennedy placed second in her class.
At the final awards ceremony, awards were giving for categories that were determined by accumulating points throughout the week.
Walker placed second in the senior Herdsmanship award.
Isaac received a buckle as the Senior Premier Exhibitor.
Points are received for each placing of each competition entered throughout the week. While Isaac and Walker went back and forth all week, Isaac came out on top.
The Royalty and Ambassadors were busy all week, but I am so thankful for the opportunities they had to serve and the example they were to the younger kids. This is a great group of youth.
Walker stayed busy, but he had a blast and formed such great friendships working with this group all week.
We left Ohio for Oklahoma with a lot of unknowns. We kept ourselves busy with helping out in the ring and events throughout the week. There were many times that the boys were on their own...but they are used to that by now. We even had to call in some help for fitting on show day, but there were so many willing to lend a hand (thank you Emma Eldridge!).
I cannot say enough about the exhibitors and families that attend the Miniature Hereford Junior Nationals. The events of the week and the success the boys shared was great, but the people were exceptional. We have all seen a lot of ugly in the last year, but this week restored my faith in the good of people.
I am so proud of Walker and Isaac. They are such hard workers and never give up. They pushed themselves, learned new things, went out of their way to meet new people (even though that isn't always comfortable for them), and determined to have fun no matter what. We all had a blast and will always remember our week in Duncan, Oklahoma...and we can't wait to go back next year!
You might also like...
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.