Friday, August 27, 2010

Results: MN State Fair 4-H show

I got a text message late last night from our 4-Her, Courtney, who is at the MN State Fair with a yearling heifer breeding project. It simply said: "Got reserve red heifer!"

I immediately called my dad to see if he heard the good news. Yep. He and Courtney had already discussed the competition and results. As my dad told me, "I told (Courtney) congratulations and that she deserved it," to which Courtney's reply was, "No Jack, you deserve it." Man, it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. It's not often that you find a 4-Her as humble and easy-going as Courtney. We like to tease her about the success she has had this year showing cattle, but it boils down to this: Courtney worked hard to learn about the breeding beef project, put in her time on the farm and at the fairs, and has found success. Everyone at Shady Oaks Farm is proud to create those types of situations for young people.

So, SHO Miss Queen 0914, a March 2009-born daughter of Cyr's Queen 1200 (cow) and LMG Gills Rattler (bull), did well at the MN State Fair. Placing second in a class of 7-8 head, and going on to capture 4-H Reserve Champion Red Angus Heifer.

Other kudos go out to the Philip Berg Family, it was Samantha Berg that had 4-H Champion Red Angus Heifer. Also, our hats go off to the Paul Fehrman Family; Christina Fehrman earned 4-H Champion Cow-Calf Pair. My dad has seen both of these competitor's cattle while at the Red River Valley Fair, and they are good! It's quite an honor to have known both Samantha and Christina before they were even 5 years old.

Allow me to make a trip down memory lane here. We haven't had a Reserve Champion 4-H heifer since 1999, the summer after my senior year in High School. I recall being so proud because it was the first heifer I exhibited that I also bred and raised from the great Bieber Marie A515 Cowline in our operation. Estatic, to say the least. We weren't accustomed to being an annual contender at that point in our lives; we were still young. I remember I had to miss freshman orientation at the University of Minnesota, Crookston; and a weekend of volleyball games, just to make it to the state fair.

Anyways - we'll be back to the state fair next week for the Open Show. Will update you if Courtney gets a call-back for Showmanship!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Results: Itasca County Fair

Our hometown fair was held Aug. 18-22 in Grand Rapids, MN. We brought 10 head of registered Red Angus cattle, among other things. Our lone 4-Her, Courtney Johnson, assisted, as did former 4-Her, Marcy McNichols.

Judge for the event was Clint Hathrein from Little Falls, MN. Clint is a Charolais breeder, and a new face to man of our beef exhibitors. It was nice to have someone "new" to our small judging ring.

Here's a re-cap of who did what, what surprised us, and wowed us.

It all got started with the 4-H competition Saturday morning, Aug. 21. Courtney took our young heifer calf, 1001 (whom I've named Divine) out in the prospect breeding heifer class against a stout-made Black Angus heifer from the Ingvaldsons. We wound up winning the class. Whoa... that wasn't expected (though hoped for...).

Then it was the breeding heifer project, where Courtney took out 0914 in a class of five yearling heifers, where she ended up placing first as well.

For the cow-calf class, there was this stout-made April-2010 bull calf at the side of a near-three-year-old Red Angus cow from Ingvaldsons. We knew the competition would be tough for our two-year-old and her heifer calf (Angel and Divine). The judge really appreciated how matched of a pair they were, and ended up placing our pair first.

For overall 4-H project - Courtney's heifer won. In the state fair line-up (though you can only take one entry to the state fair), Courtney placed first with her yearling heifer and third with the cow-calf pair. She then went on to win Senior 4-H Showmanship. After all this, we joked about Courtney being able to get her "ego" into the barn. She had a fantastic day, was extremely humble about it all, and deserved every honor awarded to her.

In the open show, we were a bit more humbled. The bull classes were first and we placed second and third to two nice Mulberry sons from Ingvaldson's. The April-2010 born bull calf they had ended up winning Reserve Champion Overall bull.

But our females surged back, and kept us about even:
Cow, 3 years and over (w/calf): 1st out of 1
Cow, 2 years and under (we/calf): 2st out of 2
Yearling heifers: 0914, 0947, 0929 and 0926* This was a class where dad and I bet Dairy Queen on our placings. Well, I ended up placing dead last - though the judge said my heifer was the prettiest one he had seen all day. She just wasn't as free-moving as the others above her.
Heifer calf: 1st out of 1

The overall Red Angus female honors went to our yearling heifer, 0914. In the overall female drive, it sounds like she would have placed third. As it was, Dan Brown's cow-calf pair was first, followed by a Simmental calf from Pashe's.

We faired well in the group classes, and took Reserve Champion Purebred Cow-Calf pair with our two-year-old pair. That surprised us!

We also ended up with the Reserve Champion Herd (second to Dan Brown's - which was sort of a given since he had Overall Champion bull and female). The judge went to shake dad's hand, saying that it was he who did all the work. When all the animals exited (but mine and dad's), he called him back over to introduce me saying, "It's all her breeding program; I'm just the hired man here." While I don't really agree with dad's analysis, it was nice of him to attribute some of our breeding success. Clint (the judge) told us he really appreciated the uniformity and femininity of our group and really loved the rib our cattle had."

Next up - MN State Fair 4-H weekend. Courtney leaves tomorrow with the heifer, opting for that project since she's taken a cow-calf pair several times to the fair.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Results: North St. Louis County Fair

As I write this, the cattle and kids should be home from the North St. Louis County Fair (Chisholm, MN). It's a local event, though not our county fair, held about an hour from our house. The North St. Louis folks always show us hospitality and provide bedding and hay for hungry critters, not to mention some of the best midway fair food around.

Jack, Marcy and Courtney took nine head to the show. That consisted of:
  • Two cow-calf pairs (0806 and a heifer calf and 0302 and a bull calf);
  • Four yearling heifers; and
  • One yearling bull
There's not a whole lot of beef cattle at this event, but it's a good show to get out and get the cattle ready for the Itasca County Fair. Here's how we did:

Judge for the day was Troy Salzer, Carleton County Extension Agent. Jack reported that there wasn't much in terms of competition.

Heifer calf was a lone entry and thus placed first.

In the yearling class, it went: 0914, 0929, 0947 and 0926 - aka, "Fatty Patty." Jack's comments: "He grouped the big, showy heifers and then the working class heifers." The Angus Junior division champion was 0914.

In the cow-calf division, each won their respective class. The champion Angus Cow-Calf pair was 0302 and her bull calf over 0806. "He had a hard time between these two because 0302 has an April calf, but she's a beautiful cow. [The judge] asked me why she calved so late (compared to 0806 who calved early February). I told him it was because she didn't stick AI," Jack said.

Overall champion Angus went to 0302 and her bull calf, beating 0914 for the honor. My mom, Mary, was on the halter working 0302 and did a great job - so much that the judge even winked at her!

In the bull division we had a bull calf and yearling bull (0910). Each won their respective class, with 0910 winning the Angus bull division.

Overall Champion Female: 0302 and bull calf, Shady Oaks Farm
Reserve Champion Female: Darwin Porter
Overall Champion Male: 0910, Shady Oaks Farm
Reserve Champion Male: Bull calf, Shady Oaks Farm
Overall Herd: Shady Oaks Farm

So, all-in-all a very good day. Jack caught up with the Nortons, who used to have beautiful Gelbvieh cattle on "da range." They sold out a few years ago and now travel by RV to work on Habitat for Humanity houses, spending much of their time in Brookings, SD. Their daughter, Sharla, lives on a ranch near Pierre, SD. Dad gave out my contact information; I'm looking forward to catching up with them.

Next show, the Itasca County Fair in three weeks!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Results: Red River Valley Fair, Day 3 (Youth Beef Show)

Dad and Marcy just returned home from the Red River Valley Fair in West Fargo, ND. Dad and I discussed the day's show results from the Red Angus Youth Beef Show.

No cow-calf class. Whew - I bet that cow was happy to sleep in.
Heifer calf (1001): Second out of two.

They combined the March and April yearling heifer classes. Yearling heifers (0947 and 0914): 0947 placed second, 0914 placed third out of four.

Judge was Ross Carlson from Murdock, MN

We're on a break from showing until the North St. Louis County Fair (July 31).

Dad's parting words, "The corn is over my head... hee hee hee!"

Results: Red River Valley Fair, Day 2 (Open Red Angus Show)

Jack's concluding thoughts on Tuesday was, "Let's hope 0914 brings her A-game!"

Unfortunately, that momentum was squashed by Wednesday's results. Dad was a little disappointed with the results, but overall, we still did OK.

Cow-Calf, 0806 Angel and heifer calf 1001: First out of 2.
Heifer calf, 1001: Second out of 2. She won the class yesterday.
April yearling heifer, 0947: First out of 1.
March yearling heifer, 0914: Third out of 3. That's quite a flip from winning the class yesterday.

Judge for the event was Jerry Talsma from Edgerton, MN. Maybe we'll meet him again down the road.