Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The NILE - Part 2.

We got home from the NILE on Sunday, and I am so, so glad we went with Clint.

It was a fun show to be at, and for me personally - it was good to have a little break from work and just spend time with my family.

We wrapped up the week by watching the Angus, Red Angus and NILE Merit Heifer shows, along with the selection of Supreme during the Saturday night rodeo performance. 

The NILE Merit Heifer program is really neat - and a great opportunity for kids.  They started out the show by having previous heifer recipients come back, and display their heifer (now cows) and their progeny, loose, in the ring.  The past recipients then gave a presentation over the microphone about their project and how it has evolved over the years and were then judged by Clint & Jake on overall merit. 

Following those presentations, the 2016 Merit Heifers were judged on conformation by Clint, while Jake judged showmanship from the sidelines.  The kids knew that someone was judging showmanship during the confirmation class (but didn't know who) and that made all of the kids work for it during the confirmation class.  Once the champion heifer was selected, they announced call backs for showmanship, and proceeded with the final drive.

I wanted to note here, that there was a young lady who was showing a Braunvieh (I think) heifer who got called back into showmanship, and was selected as reserve champion.  In no offense to the ranch that donated it, her heifer was tough to show and her effort was a true demonstration that you don't have to have the best heifer, to do well in showmanship.  Her parents were standing in front of me ringside and when she was selected, her mom burst into tears.  Not in a cocky, overly dramatic way - but in a sincere way that just showed how proud she was of her daughter.  That young lady took a heifer who others might have not put a lot of effort into; and made it in a project and display of showmanship that she can be REALLY proud of.


This guy just went, and went, and went some more.

I think with everything going on, he had a tough time shutting down and taking naps.  We'd walk, and walk in the stroller - but he'd still be awake, lol.  But he was a trooper, and minus a cold he (actually all three of us) came home with - he did so well with how little sleep he got.

The last night in Billings, the judges select a Supreme Female and Bull.  Everyone who stayed (or came back for Supreme, if they were local) went into the ring in the livestock barn at 5:00 and Clint, Jake & Steve each cast a vote for their favorite bull and female.  Then, at 7:00 in the rodeo performance, the judges were notified with had won (it was a secret who each judge voted for, so no one knew until that night) and Clint and Jake slapped the supreme's.

The Angus heifer won, and the Hereford bull won - they were pretty excited!

We stayed for almost all of the rodeo, and then headed for the hotel.  The next morning, we were up early to pack and head for home.  Chandler did so well on the 11 hour drive home - but we also tried to stop every hour or so when he was awake so he could stretch his legs.  Clint came up with the genius idea to let him play in the back of the pickup, which worked so well since it was clean and we could contain him. 

The suitcases as an obstacle course were a bonus. :)

A few final details to note:

We ate out twice in Billings, and hands down the best meal we had was at Jake's.  Most of our party got the Baseball sirloin, but I got the steak caprese pasta and it was the best pasta I've ever had!  Chandler agreed - I think he ate as much of it as I did. One thing to note about Jake's is that is a "nice" place to eat, but is still affordable - which I thought was nice. 

We stayed at The Northern, which is Montana's only 4 star hotel and it was AMAZING!

Besides not having a bathtub (Chandler got to take his first shower - not sure he was a fan, lol) the accommodations were first class.  The bed was super comfortable, and the rooms were well appointed.  All parking was valeted and the staff were cheery and personable, even early in the morning.  :)  I would HIGHLY recommend staying there, and I know we would stay there again if in Billings.


All in all, it was just a great trip as a family.

It also made me realize (again) that Clint and I have great jobs, that let us spend time together as family doing things that we love.   My job can be really stressful  (and has been lately), but having the flexibility to take vacation and just get away for a few days was really good for me personally.

.....now to just catch up on all of the laundry, lol.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

The NILE - Part 1.

This is the second year Clint has had the opportunity to judge The NILE in Billings, Mt. Last year I didn't go with him (work was crazy, and we were going to Kansas City the next week) so this year I knew I wanted to go with him.

We ended up driving, which worked great because then I didn't have to condense my packing, lol. (I try to minimize things - but it's just easier to travel with a stroller and pack and play for Chandler so this way I could take all of it!) We're having a great time so far, and I wanted to make sure I remembered it so I thought I'd post about the trip so far, along with a few cell phone pictures.

We left home Tuesday night and made it to Moscow, ID. The next morning Clint made a  prospect visit, and then we headed to Billings. Thursday morning, Clint judged the Jr. Gelbvieh and Open Hereford shows. The Metro Park facility is very nice, and Jennifer and her team do a great job putting on the event!

Select Sires is a sponsor of the show, so it was fun to have their logo in the picture backdrop!  We also got to meet Jay (he works for SS in Montana, and is on the NILE board) and his crew in their booth. Isn't the pumpkin his daughter painted cute?

Clint got done judging in the early afternoon, so we grabbed a bite to eat and then headed to ORIgen to look at a few bulls. They house S Chisum 255 and Still in the Rough, both of which Clint wanted to see in person. 

255 did not disappoint!!!

We also saw 4008, which ABS has, but who sold in the Rollin Rock sale at the sale barn last year. He was in his working clothes, but looked good.

The coolest part about the day, was that Gary Wall was who showed us around. Midway into the tour, I asked him where he was from....and he said Western Iowa. I said, "Oh, you probably haven't heard of Pomeroy or Havelock, but that's where my parents grew up." 

Turns out, he went to school in Pomeroy with my mom (he was one year ahead), and my grandpa Leo was his 4-H leader. How cool is that??? It was neat to meet him.

After our tour, we ate dinner at Applebee's and ran into Kelby, who lived with us last year when she interned with Genex. We loved getting to see her, and introduce her to Chandler.


Friday, October 14, 2016

In the barn with All West Select Sires

I've mentioned it on the blog before, but Clint began working with a new AI company - All West Select Sires - in September as a Large Herd Specialist.

We think it's going to be a great career for him, and for our family.  Over the Columbus Day weekend was his "first" project with AWSS, in Lakeview - and since it was a holiday, Chandler and I got to go help!

When we got there in the morning, the crew was sorting off the first set of pink patched heifers.  These heifers were set up with a 7 day CIDR protocol, in two groups and patched with Estrotect patches.  We really recommend using Estrotect patches on all of our projects, because they give a great visual to us (and the owner of the cattle) and allow us to know what the heat rate is, and whether the synchronization is working as we expect it to.  It also allows us to make some management decisions in when to AI.

The box had been delivered the night before, so we had some time for Chandler to inspect it.


Then it was just a matter of getting the box put in place, hauling in all of our stuff we needed to get started, and in no time - we were rocking and rolling!

Chandler LOVES to be in on the action, and is quite content to be carried on my back while we work.  These pictures were taken while we were AI'ing the first set of heifers, and he had a ball....

Until he fell asleep, lol.  But we just carried on while he took a little snooze.  :)

Tyler & Clint bred, while I thawed, and the Houret crew did a great job bringing the cattle.

The heifers came quietly to the barn, and left the same way.  When that happens - it allows us to maximize our efficiency, and pace in the barn.  Where everything clicked along, we were able to average AI'ing about two heifers every minute. 

I thought these were funs shots of the crew horseback bringing the heifers in - they were so quiet, and just went right where they needed to without ramming/jamming.  That helps equal reproductive success, because when heifers come to the barn quietly they have lower levels of cortisol running through them, which allows the sperm to more effectively do it's work.

This is what we like to see - LOTS of pink patches!  That means heifers cycled, came into heat, were ridden (which is what makes the patch turn from silver to pink) and were ready to AI.

Research shows that with timed AI, the more heats you have has a direct correlation to higher conception rates.

And look who fell asleep, supervising on the job.  ;)

A big thank you to the Houret family for letting us come AI your heifers this year, and for the wonderful hospitality you provided!