Tuesday, February 15, 2011

San Antonio in our rear view mirror!

What a week it was......San Antonio Stock Show 2011 will certainly go down in our history books as one of the best ever. On Monday, Donnell and Gary Mathiews headed south with two trailers full of equipment and livestock to begin the marathon week. They arrived safely and checked in our two Red Angus bulls for the All Breeds Bull Show/Sale.

Thanks be to Jason Spence for hooking us up with Mike Healey for the week. Mike provided some much needed help to Donnell in keeping the chores tended to for the duration. That may be the toughest part of the stock shows. We like to keep the boys in school as much as possible and it makes it difficult to "get it all done". Nevertheless, life goes on. Our plan was to leave after school on Wednesday for the boys to show on Thursday but mother nature had other things in mind. With the pending ice/snow storm approaching, we jumped ship and decided to leave town on Tuesday night after the basketball game. At 11:00 pm we joined up with another Throckmorton County heifer show family and headed towards San Antonio. Good decision.....even though we drove in some sleet and ice, the road to San Antonio was wet but not nearly as challenging as it might have been 24 hours later. Our heads hit the pillow at 4:30 am and we were up ready to go a few hours later.

Wednesday morning our Grand and Reserve Grand Red Angus bulls both sold at the All Breeds Bull Sale. Nevermind that they were the only two Red Angus bulls there! :) We kidded Donnell that it was a good thing that they were named Grand / Reserve. Thanks to Danny Ownbey and Lane Robinson for their investment in RAB genetics.

The rest of the day was spent washing / blowing and preparing the heifers for the show the next day. Although the week ended in success, it certainly wasn't without challenges. One of the our best heifers came up lame on Tuesday evening and it was discovered that she was suffering from foot rot in both a front and back foot (probably due to the crazy snow, rain, mud, ice that we had experienced the week before. Initially, it was a big blow to our week. We had BIG plans for her and this week in San Antonio. Plans that started way back in March when we AIed her so that she would calve in December and have a nice big calf at side for this particular show. That would potentially mean that she would be the only February heifer with a calf at side. And I don't mind saying.....she has a ringer heifer calf at side. The cow has a drop dead gorgeous udder and just plain "looks the part". I'm digressing some.....but basically, in San Antonio they drug test all of the winners so our hands were tied in terms of treating her with anything that would work on the footrot. And if it had been just "any old show" it wouldn't have been as disheartening. But, if you show heifers (as opposed to steers), San Antonio is the one show you want to win at least once. They award the Grand Champion a $10,000 scholarship. You can only win the scholarship once but it is certainly worth shooting for. Our youngest son, Lanham, won it in 2008 but we were running out of time with Tucker. He only had this year and next left. Every year, we have tried to help him pick out the "best" heifers.....but somehow, his younger brother always manages to get the upper hand in the ring. So this year.....we planned ahead, worked especially hard to get the cow/calf pair to SA.......and our best shot at winning the scholarship seemed to be going down the tubes with a crippled cow! As we fed and bedded down the stock Wednesday evening, the mood was somber and dreams of a "GRAND" were fading.

Thursday morning, back at the stock show grounds, life goes on. As the boys exercised the heifers.....the cow was still limping but better. All day was spent preparing for the ring. Wash, brush and blow. By 5 pm, we were ready for the Red Angus show. Tucker was first in the ring with his March bred heifer, Ollie. She won her class. Next up, Tucker and his cow/calf pair along with Lanham's Pacific Pride daughter. I think the judge loved the pair but it was obvious that he was concerned about her inability to travel. The class ended with the Brown boys taking 1st and 2nd in class.......Lanham won and Tucker's pair was 2nd. Yes, we were proud.....but inside, my stomach was turning flips as "the one", "THE one" that we felt had the chance at winning the scholarship.....was not going to.

My mind begins to race back through all the months of preparation. Starting with purchasing the heifer from our good friend, Clay Cowdrey, when the heifer was just a few months old.....times of showing her last year and then breeding her to calve before she was two years of age.....times of cold nights when Tucker was rinsing and blowing her (after returning home from a basketball game).....times of Donnell and I reminding him that "all of his hard work would pay off"......numerous times. As a parent it hurts to see your children disappointed. But, it is more bothersome to watch all of their preparation and hard work come up short, again.

This isn't the end to the San Antonio story. Thankfully, God had a bigger and better plan. Although there are lots of lessons yet to be learned, the one that comes to my heart now is to always be prepared with a "Plan B". Plan B was Tucker's March bred heifer....a pretty little Ole's Oscar / Cherokee Canyon daughter that was raised here at the ranch. We call her "Ollie" although now we might have to change it to "Plan B"! :) Ollie ended up winning her division and being named GRAND CHAMPION!
Grand Champion Red Angus Heifer ~ San Antonio 2011

We left San Antonio in the rear view mirror......realizing that even though obstacles happen......hard work can pay off. One of the judges kidded Donnell later about having a banner made for "922" (the cow / calf pair) saying.....THE ONE THAT SHOULD OF BEEN!

Throckmorton FFA Heifer Show Team - BIG day

Doesn't the smile say it all?

A little "Cow Whispering" prior to the Supreme Drive

In the ring - Supreme Drive

2011 San Antonio Supreme Drive

We're headed to San Angelo this coming weekend for the stock show. We will have Plan A, B and C with us! The show must go on.

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