We left Ohio on January 18th in freezing rain and snow to begin our bucket list journey to Denver, Colorado for the Miniature Hereford World Show at the National Western Stock Show.
I laughed more than I have in a long time, we enjoyed time with friends, worked hard, walked miles and miles, and we all got sick, but we had an amazing time and made so many memories.
We drove 13 hours the first day and stopped in Kansas City, Kansas for the night. We stalled at the Wyandotte County Fairgrounds where we have stopped the last two years on our way to junior nationals. This stretch normally takes twelve hours, so the bad weather only hindered us about an hour.
Day two was only nine hours as we headed across never ending Kansas and arrived in Elizabeth, Colorado. The cows stayed at a friend's ranch about an hour south of Denver. They thoroughly enjoyed their accommodations and a few days of rest after the long trailer ride.
They also had a pretty amazing view of Pikes Peak.
Monday, we let the cows rest and recover as we did some sight seeing.
We braved the mountain and drove to the summit of Pikes Peak. We got out on top and immediately gasped for air.
We were fine in the truck...but please don't make me walk to the building! I was seriously feeling my age...until I saw the shirt in the gift shop that said "Got Oxygen?" I guess this is a normal reaction for a flat lander.
Needless to say, we didn't stay at the top very long.
We started the not so amusing ride down the mountain, where we learned that Isaac does not like heights. There are a couple of pretty funny videos to prove it. We had to hurry down the mountain because I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe.
Tuesday, we broke the rules and headed to Denver to take tack in a day early.
Denver has some crazy road systems and we were very thankful to be following a friend, because we had no idea where we were going.
Unfortunately, we did get separated a few times and the GPS was working overtime navigating the construction and bizarre road engineering....but we made it.
Wednesday morning, we headed back to Denver with a trailer load of cows.
The cows really did amazingly well on the trip. The days of rest were really good for them and they had pretty much recovered from the long trip by the time we moved in to the show.
Our fitter flew in Thursday night. In all the trip planning, we had it set in our minds that he was to arrive around lunch time, but his plane didn't actually land until 5:04 p.m.. That meant we had a long night ahead of us to get the cows all clipped out before the show on Friday morning.
Thankfully, Chase had planned better than we had and he was all rested, fed and ready to go the minute he stepped foot in the barn. He made quick work of the clipping and I think we left to go back to the hotel at about 9:30 p.m.
That may not sound like it is too late, but our bodies never adjusted to the Colorado time change. We still woke up at about 3:00 a.m. every morning (5:00 a.m. Ohio time), so 9:30 p.m. was like 11:30 p.m. Ohio time.
We were up bright and early Friday morning to get Spirit, Candy Cane, Smith and Wesson ready for the show.
We don't always win...and sometimes we even end up at the very bottom of the class...but it keeps us humble and striving for more.
We were pleased with Candy Cane's third place finish in a class of six.
After all...we were showing against the best in the country at "The Super Bowl of Livestock Shows."
We had put most of our effort into the bulls, and the boys have worked their tails off to get Smith and Wesson in peak condition.
Smith and Wesson are out of the sire SS Sir Gene and there was one other bull in the class also out of Sir Gene.
Daniel is both nervous and admiring the bulls.
Daniel, Isaac and Walker have spent so many late nights in the barn getting Smith and Wesson ready for this show. From battling some health conditions, to changing feed rations, to battling baffling weather conditions...they never gave up. These bulls have taught us so much and have really taken our game to a whole new level. It has been a lot of work...but it has been so much fun.
The other bull ended up winning the division and Wesson placed 2nd and Smith 3rd in the class. It was a tough class of eight bulls. The judged placed them 1, 2 and 3 and then pulled them out again to walk. He didn't change the placing, but admitted that he had a really hard time deciding.
While we would loved to have won the class, we are more than happy that Wesson was named the Reserve Division Fall Intermediate Bull.
The bulls then competed in the pair of bulls class.
Smith and Wesson were named the Reserve Champion Pair of Bulls.
It really has been a fun run showing these two.
Saturday was the junior show.
There isn't anything exciting to report here.
Again...sometimes you need to be at the bottom to stay humble.
Isaac and Walker are now both in senior showmanship and were also in the same class. Neither one was pulled for the finals, but I still love seeing them show side by side.
The show was over and we finally had some down time. The best part of the day was the few hours back at the hotel napping, resting and talking.
Saturday night, we headed back to the stock show to attend the Miniature Hereford dinner and awards banquet. For the first time in days, we sat down together as a family (plus Chase) for a good meal with great conversation. We met and talked with other breeders and just had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
At the awards banquet, Daniel was introduced as the Region 3 director, Isaac as a junior nationals junior committee member, and then Isaac was also awarded the Region 3 ambassador position.
We were supposed to head home early Sunday morning, but we were exhausted and me, Isaac and Walker were all battling the "Denver Crud." Daniel and Chase were up at 3:30 a.m. (of course we had finally adjusted to Denver time) to get Chase to the airport. We still had to load the trailer and then had a nine hour drive ahead of us. We decided to hang out in Colorado for one more day, get some extra rest and then head for Ohio early Monday morning.
However, things didn't really go as planned. About 1:00 a.m. on Monday morning, Daniel started throwing up. I think he really wanted to hang out in the hotel for another day, but I was concerned that if we didn't start heading for home, everyone else would get the stomach bug and we might not make it out of Colorado for another week.
About 9:30, we were able to drag Daniel out of the hotel room and stick him in the truck with a feed scoop, just in case. Isaac drove the first four hours before Daniel was feeling well enough to get in a little drive time.
We had wanted to make it closer to home, but with all the sickness and pure exhaustion, we decided to call it a day in Kansas City.
By Tuesday, Daniel's stomach was pretty much back to normal and we pushed the final 12 hours toward home. The day was pretty quiet as all the sicky's napped...and our ears were too plugged to hear anything. We arrived home at about 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday evening. The cows ran to the barn and we ran for our beds.
Eleven days is a long time to be away from home, especially when you are sick. We had a great trip, made so many memories and will never forget all we accomplished...but I don't know that I have ever been so glad to sleep in my own bed.
Wednesday morning we all returned to normal life...or as normal as it can be when you are so sick and exhausted you can't think straight. We are slowly recovering...and now Daniel has our cold...but we have been spending as much quality time on the couch as we justify.
But...it was so much fun...and we came home from Denver with two titles!
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Perry H Wiley
2/5/2020 12:31:40 am
Thanks for the narrative. Proud of you guys and thankful that you made the trip without any incidents.
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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.