Perseverance

Our busy, stressful, and exhausting weekend is over. On Friday, we had a show crew and a bull crew. One gang took the show calves to Columbia and got everything set up and settled in to prepare for Saturday. The other gang went to the sale barn and got bulls ready all day. I was on the bull crew. We got there mid morning and started feeding, cleaning pens, and then we started cleaning up the bulls to sell. It seemed like all of them had about two pounds of sand on their backs. Before we knew it, it was 6 o’clock and it was sale time! This was not only a sale, but proof that hard work, commitment, and perseverance can pay off towards many involved.

Soon after the sale was over we went straight to Columbia because our weekend had just started. We didn’t get much sleep that night. When I woke up, my hair was still damp from my shower about 4 hours ago. We had shown cattle all day Saturday and we were proud of what we had accomplished by the time we left Boone County Fairgrounds. Our show crew had the Champion Hereford heifer, Champion Chianina, also 5th overall heifer, and a class winner.

Sunday was steer day and that was much more relaxing, considering we only had two. The Shorthorn plus was 2nd in his class and his showman won Champion Jr. Showmanship! The other steer was Champion Maine Tainer and 4th overall steer. By Sunday evening, the Murphy/Loges show crew was tuckered out. We had a long successful weekend, and I know I wouldn’t have changed any of it for anything!

This is my spring break and I am home for a good, solid six days! For the past couple days I’ve been able to feed cows, do some odd ended tasks, and not have to go to class. While at college, sometimes my brain feels like it may just fry up due to homework, not having my family and friends from home, and just missing the plain old farm life.  I am enjoying my time being at home for a while with my friends and family because before you know it I will be south of 50 highway.

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Just A Weekend at Home

This past weekend I was able to travel back to the central part of Missouri.  It wasn’t because I had a cattle show, a wedding, or like I had too. It was because I wanted too.  It seems like for the past month or so every time I have been home it was because we had a cattle show, or we had one coming up.

This weekend I was just able to do some dirty work… ok I washed my show cattle once!  The winter time is my favorite time of the year when working with cattle. However, this “winter” is somewhat of an exception considering it only snowed once. You may call me lame, but I enjoy feeding hay in the pastures and just being around them when I don’t have to worry about 100 degree weather.  My show cattle don’t have to be rinsed constantly and be under fans just about 24/7 either.

For quite some time now, we have been getting ready for an annual bull sale. It’s almost here!…  The first step in this process is picking out the better bulls to start getting ready. We brought them up closer to us and started halter breaking them. After we thought they could handle the wash rack, we started washing them and then clipped the bulls. These boys are filthy, mainly DUSTY, when they get their first bath. The wash rack is usually somewhat white (haha), but when we get done with the bull sale, it is just about black.

When the bulls have been tamed, washed, and clipped, it is now picture time.  A vast majority of the bulls are pictured so they can be put in the sale catalog. Then before you know it, it is sale day. Sometimes it is not fast enough, but it is all worth it in the end!

This coming weekend, not only do we have a bull sale, but we have a cattle show in Columbia. This is the MU Block and Bridle’s annual show. This past weekend and week has been and is being spent getting bulls and show calves ready for their events. Once again, this couldn’t be pulled off without the great team we have!

It’s That Time of the Season

It’s that time of the season again, and I don’t mean winter or soon to be spring. It’s cattle showing season! This is our busiest, most tiring, exhilarating, and many more adjectives to say about this time of the year, but that will do for now.

From about January until May we are in full throttle cattle mode. Then we get into pig season, but that is a whole different topic we may talk about later. We attend cattle shows about every other weekend or so and sometimes back to back weekends.

Preparing for a cattle show is also a job within itself. Since I have become a college student last fall, I am guilty of not being able to help out as much as I would like too. I guess you could say I try to make it up at the shows. Getting your cattle looking to the best of their ability starts at home, and not to mention the actual attitude part of a show animal can be quite difficult to tame down sometimes.

We like to say we have rituals when we go to shows. On Friday night we get everything set up and get our cattle settled in. Then we have to grab something to eat before we go to the hotel. We never book a hotel without an indoor pool… of course! Friday nights are usually late and we have to save all of our energy up to swim on Saturday after the show. We show all day Saturday, (wash, blow, fit, breakdown, wash, blow…again). Then it’s eat and swim time. On Sundays we basically repeat Saturday except go home instead of swim.

When we go to a cattle show it’s not about how good you do, but the memories and fun you have with what you’re doing and who you are enjoying and spending it with. [but winning is also way fun too. :)]  Everyone has their own show family and I have to say mine’s pretty first-class! Everyone is there to help each other out and do whatever they can to make things work smoothly.

This may be the most exhausting and tiresome time of the year, but we wouldn’t do it if we didn’t love it. We like our rituals, the good attitudes of our show cattle, our families, and of course the whole season!

It’s not WHAT you know; it’s WHO you know

It’s not what you know; it’s who you know… I have recently started to realize how true this motto is. Now being a college student, it is all about the connections and being in the right place at the right time. Sure, being intelligent and knowledgeable is important, but having a foot in the door already definitely puts you a step ahead.

Having two different “lifestyles”, I believe that I have a heel in one door and a boot in the other. My connections on both ends of the spectrum have different goals, ways of lives, and points of views.  Both sides have helped me grow and be able to fit in anywhere.  When I was 10 years old I would have never imagine I would be living in town for half of my life. I had the stereotype in my mind that all “town kids” did was ride their bike to the city park and play video games. They spent time with their friends and I spend time with my show livestock. This intervention has grown my mind, given me experiences, and made connections.

I wouldn’t be where I am today without the people who have helped me get here.  If anybody would have told me 5 years ago I would be at Missouri State University, or I would enjoy showing cattle more than pigs, I would have probably told you that you were crazy. Every event in my life has happened for a reason and has made me, in some way, a better person for it.

I know I learn something and meet someone new every day. I believe everyone in my life is a teacher to me, old or young, good or bad. Whether it be for a job or a friendship, I haven’t done it on my own and my “connections” have always been behind the scenes helping me along the way.

The Things That Excite Us

Some people get excited when they get a new outfit, go on vacation, or buy a new pair of heels.  While others, like myself, get excited when we get new show supplies for Christmas, when we have a new calf, or buy a new pair of boots.

There is no doubt about it that everyone has their own opinion on what they think excites them. However, there is definitely a large gap of what gets agriculturalist blood flowing and what gets the outfit buying, “heel lookers”, and vacationers going.

Someone’s ideal vacation may be going to Walt Disney World, going on a Jamaican cruise, or going skiing in Colorado. Sure we think about those things and that would be nice, but the extents of our vacations are things like the Missouri State Fair and livestock shows. We’re not complaining because those are things we love to do and be involved in. Spending the weekend with friends and family at a livestock show has brought many great memories to me.

Now when we set aside money to go “shopping”, we’re not talking about for clothes. We usually go shopping for show supplies; we buy hair dye for our cattle, loofa’s for our pigs, and most definitely cocoanut conditioner for the best skin care you can get on your show pigs.

Some may say we’re sheltered, underprivileged, or just plain odd. On the other hand, showing livestock has taken me to many great places and I have been able to see things I wouldn’t normally observe.  I’m happy with vacationing to livestock shows and browsing through Walmart just to see if I can find something that I can make useful on my livestock. The opportunities that I have been given through this industry are incredible and I enjoy every minute of being excited by the slightest things.

Remember Where you Come From

Some advice I got standing in the middle of the pig barn at the Missouri State Fair from my so called “big brother” was “remember who you are and where you come from”.  At this point I was saying my goodbyes getting ready to head off to college.

This has definitely stuck with me from moving from a small town of 1200 people to a semi-large town of Springfield. The little things get me from just doing chores every night to instead doing homework or just hanging out with friends. I am an energetic person and I have to always be doing something and sometimes while at college I find myself under some boredom.

This past weekend I went back to my hometown due to a wedding and my heifer, Paris, yes like “Hilton” she was a little high maintenance, I had shown this past summer was getting close to calving. I waited all weekend and it became Sunday night and still nothing. So, unfortunately I had to head back south. Monday afternoon I got a phone call that Paris had her heifer calf in about 2 inches of snow. They took her into the basement and dried her off with a hair dryer. I appreciate that I have such good friends and family who can rally round when it is needed. This is a memory added to my growing cow herd.

The thing about agriculture that has always suck out to me and always seems to amaze me is that you never know what tomorrow will bring you.  It isn’t always easy and many obstacles come up along the way. With hard work and dedication they can be achieved. My experience in the agriculture industry will continue to help me to grow and prosper in this field.

Paris's calf

The Beginning

My Two Way Trail…

Definition: My passion for Agriculture divided between two different homes.

What do I mean when I say “two different” homes? This is how I have been raised since my freshman year in high school. My mom lives in town and my dad still lives on the 20 acres I was raised on.  When I am “living” in town I am still the same ol’ country girl I have always been. However, I don’t have the option to go to my backyard and rinse my heifer or feed my pigs vanilla wafers. My hobbies or “pocket drainers” as my dad may say, allow me to spend the majority of my time on the farm and with my dad. My mom is still very supportive of my livestock habits, but she isn’t as engaged. Agriculture is bred into me and always will be.

I am employed by Murphy Cattle Company. I help with just about anything on the farm from helping with elementary homework to pulling calves in 10* weather. I consider this more than just a “job”. It has been a family relationship since the beginning. I have been much more engaged in the cattle industry due to this “job”. We also attend many cattle and pig shows together throughout the year. I have found yet another passionate aspect to this industry we call Agriculture.

Later on in my blog, I plan on sharing more with you about my so called double life, mentioning some helpful advice, and I may even throw in juggling school, work, and family. So jump on the bandwaggon of blogging with me and see what life has to bring us!

–Taylor