On Friday I’ll be headed to Chicago to speak at the Top Producer Executive Women in Ag Conference to share some insights about blogging and social media. In 2009, I started Crystal Cattle my personal blog, where I share agriculture’s story, insight into our life on the farm, recipes and my love of turquoise. What few people know is that Jon actually was a blogger before I was.
If you ever have the opportunity to take part in a Top Producer conference I would highly recommend it. Last year, I attend the Tomorrow’s Top Producer one day seminar, while Jon attended the full Top Producer Conference. I have attended numerous cattle, agriculture and leadership conference and I have to say this was by far the best conference I have ever been to.
You can check out this blog post I wrote last year about a few of the key messages I took away from the event.
Reg #: P43295581 – Birth: Mar. 5, 2012
S: STAR TCF SHOCK & AWE 158W ET
D: STAR GINGER GAL 511P ET
We had Symphony listed on our site as a private treaty heifer until Joe Rickabaugh with the AHA came to screen cattle for the Iowa Beef Expo. Joe’s comment was “this heifer is big time” and we could not agree more. This is the kind of heifer that gets your blood pumping and makes your knees get weak. In 2005, Jon won the Hereford Junior National with Symphony’s dam Ginger Gal and her sire is none other then the two-time Supreme Champion Shock & Awe. The only reason this heifer is going to leave JJB Cattle Co. in February is because we already have her big sister who is due with a heifer pregnancy in January. If you desire to run with the big guns you have to sell the best, and that is what we intend to do. We will have more info coming soon about our other Beef Expo consignments but just couldn’t stand not sharing this picture with everyone!
This past weekend Crystal and I headed down to Kansas City to check out the American Royal Hereford show but also take in a football game. If you didn’t know Crystal graduated from Kansas State University and is a very proud Alum. So that of course means I get wrapped into all of this KSU madness. But the past few seasons following the Wildcats has been fun. One major reason is Bill Snyder, you see Bill was once a HAWKEYE! If you don’t like this team you might want to check your moral compass. Can they run the table? Maybe, but the will all need to stay healthy. As Crystal and I witnessed first hand, once Collin Klein is out of the game it changes everything. When Sams took his first snap you could hear a pin drop in what was once a deafening stadium. But anyway enough of my KSU commentary, the real reason we went down was for the American Royal.
We didn’t have anything showing or anything like that we just wanted to catch up with friends and see some good cattle, and boy were there some good cattle. The heifer show was very strong with the Grand Champion being an awesome Online heifer that came from C&M Herefords. We didn’t get to stay around for the bull show because of the long drive ahead but the Butler Family from Missouri earned that Grand Champion honor. It is fun and highly motivating to see other young people being successful in the showring. We haven’t made the step up to show in a National show but I don’t think that we would have embarrassed had we ponied up… oh well there is always next year. I’ll leave you with a quick shot of the champion female line-up!
Well… The last Star Lake sale was an overwhelming success. There is no easy way to describe the emotions that went into that sale. So I won’t because I don’t feel I can do it justice. What I can say is it has been and honor and a privileged to be able to work with those cattle professionals and the lessons learned will not go to waste. The opportunity to work in the ring and also sit in the box (which was the first time I had done so) were awesome. I got to be one of the two guys to stir Olivia around as she sold for $175,000 and to see all of the flash bulbs pop when Shock & Awe entered the ring. The friendships and memories made on that always windy hill in Tulsa county right on the edge of the Osage Nation are ones that I will treasure the rest of my life.
Some may not know this but I am a very sentimental type of guy. As you can see above on my hand I always have my wedding ring and usually a watch. The ring was my dads first wedding band, the diamonds in it are from my grandfathers first band. The watch also has special meaning, the day I purchased my wife’s engagement ring my grandpa gave it to me. I got the watch fixed and it works great, just don’t get it wet (turns out old watches aren’t water proof). These things remind me where I come from and to keep pushing ahead.
At the end of the dispersal we sold most of the show equipment. In that sale was a literature stand. It was often my job at the show to make sure that there were enough newsletters and such on the stand at all times. I bought that stand and it will be like my watch and ring, remind me where I came from, the people who helped form the man I am and strive to not let them down.
Welcome to the new JJB Cattle Company website. The old blogger site is still up for a little bit but will shortly be directed over to this site. It has been a very exciting and quick transition to the new site. As we continue to learn more about the site you will see many improvements. One thing that will remain the same is the Blog. We feel that getting you to know us is very important. This leads into the new reflection part of this post.
One thing that I have enjoyed recently is looking back at our old sale catalogs as I help prepare for the Star Lake Dispersal Sale. And one thing in particular that really took me by surprise was from the May 2001 sale, on the cover was my name clearly written by my 16 year old self. As I flipped through the catalog I recalled each of the animals that we purchased and the ones that got away. Then I got to the last page and my heart skipped and I was immediately taken back to sitting looking at the sale ring and drawing in my sale catalog. This is what I found-
Yes that is a halter drawn on that heifer with a surprisingly accurate drawing of myself holding onto the halter(HA!). We got Shasta bought in that sale and she is the foundation of the JJB herd. That heifer was my everything, seeing this silly drawing in a catalog reminded me of an easier time. It reminded me of my wide-eyed undying optimism and hope for the Hereford breed and it was that sale that I knew that these cattle would forever be a major part in my life. Shasta would go on the win her class at the Jr. National which was my first class win. She would also be named the Reserve Grand Champion in the open show at the Iowa State Fair. She was a part of my everyday. She would eat horse treats which we called “cookies” out of your hand and was one of my best if not my best friend.
When Dad and Grandpa bought the Ranch in Oklahoma Shasta made her way back to her home. She was the first thing that I had to see during our first May Sale, I had a pocket full of “cookies” for her and hoped she would remember me. I asked Todd where she was and then went to find her. She was in a pasture with about 20 other donor cows. I got to the gate and yelled “Shasta cookie!” I then saw her head pop up from grazing and she came a running. It was like we never missed a day apart.
Shasta didn’t get the chance to make it too long into life though as she was struck by lightning right before one of our May sales. At the time it honestly didn’t effect me much, yeah I was sad but as I type this and recall all of the memories of that beautiful bovine who Montie Soules referred to as a “Good Rip!” I am overcome. It happens easily when you start to do things on a grander scale I guess. These awesome animals that we put great amounts of care and time into become a number and not a member of the family. That doesn’t mean you don’t care but you move along and the next one has to step into the spot left.
I haven’t lost any excitement for beef cattle or the Hereford breed but I’m just not sure I express it well enough and that is where time spent reflecting can really pay off.
After we got home from the great Iowa State Fair we had to rinse the heifers out and get them ready to “rough it” for a little bit. When we got Teardrop in to wash her Crystal decided that I needed to take a break from unpacking the trailer and help her get a picture of her and boy did we get a good one!
|STAR JJB TEARDROP 3Y ET|
Teardrop is sired by the 2-time National Western Supreme Champion Hereford, Shock & Awe and is out of the Ginger Gal heifer that I won the 2005 JNHE with. She is moderate and powerful with length and style. Teardrop as you may recall won her class at the fair while getting a lot of looks in division. Her little full sister was second in class, we will post a picture of her later in the week. Females like Teardrop offer a very strong foundation and have a lot of traits that we feel will help us as we move forward.
The 2012 Iowa State Fair was a very special one for me. Crystal and I rolled down to Des Moines really early Saturday morning with the tack and stock in tow. We took 5 head which included a cow/calf pair, bred heifer and two additional heifer calves. Before the show is always a great time to walk around the barns either sniffing out the competition or looking for your next calf. I really wish we had a day to hangout at the stalls after the show but that is a whole different story.
This year the judge was Brett Barber from Dumas, Texas. There were 203 head of Hereford cattle entered, which I think might have been the highest it has been in a while. The day started off with the showing of the cow/calf pairs. Crystal thought we were in the second class so the show waited a little bit for us to get to the ring but we weren’t the last ones their either so it was all good. We walked in at the end of the class and walked out at the front. What a great feeling and huge relief, we really wanted that class win! We then went out for the champion cow/calf selection and were fortunate enough to be selected as the champion. Those cow/calf deals are a ton of work and my hat is off to the people that drag (or get drug) a pair to all these shows, I think it will be a while before we take one again! Right after the pair showed we had to take the three heifers who were born the same day into the ring. Crystal showed the calf from the pair, Max Cherry showed the S109 x 173P heifer and I took the Shock & Awe x Ginger baby. Crystal was pulled out in second place, I was pulled third and Max was fourth. Judge Barber decided he needed to walk the top four and switched his middle pair with the Ginger heifer moving up a spot. The class was won by a flashy About Time heifer from Baja Cattle. Baja also won the Hereford Herdsman trophy, it is fun to see other young producers excel!
So after the 2, 3 & 4 we had a bit of a gap until the bred showed. And this gave my father-in-law plenty of time to get her ready. Rob came down from Alberta to help us at the show and man oh man was he a big help. He washed, lead and answered any of my questions no matter how off the wall they were. He had the cattle looking GREAT when they walked into the showring. I think Rob was happy to get back to his Hereford roots. When it was finally time to head to the ring Teardrop was fitted to the max and looked great. She would go on to win her class and then get many looks during division but didn’t get a banner. She will have a Revolution heifer calf this January and we can’t wait!
|Teardrop getting ready to head into the showring|
The 2012 fair was one will will not forget and we will share pictures with you as soon as we get them. The three heifer calves we showed are all available and we have pictured two and will get them posted early next week.
This show was made very special not only by the success in the ring but by the people that we got to share it with. My mom and dad came down Sunday afternoon and brought along with them Travis Smock who you might remember was the best man in our wedding. Travis quickly caught on and was leading calves in no time. My Grandpa Jim and Grandma Judy also made it to see the show. One big surprise was seeing my Uncle Bob and his girlfriend Tiny at the show, when I saw them I even said “Hi Bobo!” while we were showing the pair. And once again thanks to my father-in-law for coming from Canada. With out the support of all of these people it would not be possible to do what we do.
We are very excited for the future of JJB Cattle Company and we hope that you all share in that excitement as well. Thank you all for the support and love and friendship and knowledge, we won’t let you down and have never been more excited for our future!