Monday, September 1, 2014

Why showing livestock matters.

Fair season is about over.

Tie outs have been pitched out, stalls have been torn down and the trailers are headed for home.
Market animals have been sold, and breeding stock are ready to be turned out to pasture.
Tack boxes are soon to be emptied, trailers will be unhitched and the ribbons & trophies will be displayed.

And as the show sticks, halters and grooming products are put away for a few months before the next season, one thing remains.

Youth who matter.


I wish I could describe the feeling of entering a show ring.

Or the competiveness that opens up when you grab the halter of a show heifer.
The intensity that takes over as the gate to the ring is opened, and you drive your hog in.
What the heft of a lamb bracing against your leg feels like.
Or the fluidness of a goat who walks with you in the ring as you lightly lead them by their chain.


It's a fair question.

Showing livestock doesn't come with a cheap price tag.

First you have to purchase the animal and feed it.
Then there's the nights in a motel, the meals on the go, and the snacks & beverages that filled the coolers. 
The diesel bill and how it probably rivals the Sullivan's bill... 
The entry fees, the registration fees and the health check fees.
But can you put a price on the life skills a child gains while showing livestock?
The child who forges friendships that span species and states.

The way parents can let little kids run around the barn, knowing a community of friends are watching over their well being?
The trust that is developed between a youth & their animal.

Showing livestock is more than just a great feeling or a number in the budget.

Showing livestock is a matter of teaching children life long skills.
Hard work.
Honest ethics.
A willing attitude.

We ask a lot of kids who show animals. 

Think about how much is asked on just show day alone:

We ask them to show up to a ring on time,

To multi-task getting an animal ready with preparing themselves and mentally staying in the game.

To balance leading or driving an animal with paying attention to the judge and others in the ring.
We ask them to win humbly, and lose with grace.


All of these things that we ask of a kid who shows livestock; eventually we expect from adults.

Teaching it now in the show ring prepares youth to practice those skills that will be required and desired when they're grown.
That in itself can explain right there why showing livestock matters and why it's worth it.

The ability of a child to balance all that is asked in & out of the show ring?

You can't put a price on that.

And that's why the cost of showing livestock in the long run is worth it....because it creates youth and future adults that matter.

And we need people that matter.

Showing matters.

It really, truly does.

See you next season...

Sunday, August 31, 2014


The summer's bounty has been good to us.

Good friends, enough grass for the cattle and even a few days of play.

'Til next year August...

Friday, August 29, 2014

5 on Friday.

It's Friday - woot woot!
Have you had a great week?  Mine's been a little all over the place, challenging mentally (in a good way) and has involved a bit of travel, which I'm always up for!
Today's 5 is a bit random - kind of like this week!
1. My favorite small moments of the week.

 An evening drive with my handsome husband to feed the horses, a cold screw top Coors Light, our little dog Leo chilling in the back of the Camry, and an order of iced teas from Starbucks for the crew at my office.
It's the little things in life.
PS - I am LOVING Starbucks Peach Green Tea Lemonade and Blackberry Mojito Green Tea Lemonades - they are delicious!  Of course, the Passion Tea Lemonade (without sweetener) is pretty darn good too!
2. My least favorite thing of the week.
Our dishwasher water drain line started leaking two weeks ago, and as a result it caused a portion of the linoleum flooring in our kitchen to lift.  I know, major bummer huh - and the frustrating thing is the line isn't even a year old, and didn't even crack at a bend.  Grrrr. 
The bubble in the floor isn't super big, but if we have to replace the floor it's a lot of square footage.  After pricing 300 square feet of new floor - I was looking at tile, which is super durable and practical but it is expensive - we realized that it might just make more economical sense to just re-glue the floor for now, if it was possible.   The flooring guy we're using is super popular and busy, and he just had a chance to look at the floor yesterday.  Any repairs would happen next week at the earliest so I've been hand washing our dishes....booo....and ordering a lot of take out so we don't have dishes....haha!  Hopefully he'll get back to us today and tell us he can just glue the floor back down, then I'll replace the water line and we'll be back to normal!
Fingers crossed.  :)
3. I'm a proud aunt.
My sister in law emailed me pictures of our niece and nephew this week, and I love getting to {see} them!   They are growing up so fast, but we are so dang proud of them!

 Jace and Jacobi had their county fair the first week of August, and did really well with their livestock and shooting.  They also started school this month, and have been to a jackpot show in South Dakota.  We just couldn't be prouder of the {big people} they're becoming! 
4. More of the fam-damily!
Look who I got to have dinner with this week?!?

  Since I was in Tualatin for work, my mom and Lindsay came up to Bridgeport and we had dinner at Twigs.  It was delicious, and a lot of fun to visit over a meal together.  And we may have done a bit of shopping too....haha, it's hard to stop the Vial girls from finding good deals on shoes!
5. My favorite photo of the week.
I thought I'd just leave you with this - I don't know why, but I just love it.
Happy Friday friends!
Keep living the dream!

I'm linking up with Andrea, Erika and Narci again this week - be sure to check out their blogs and the other fun blogs that are linking up this week!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The people behind the brand.

They say you should work to live, not live to work.
But when you live on a ranch, living your work comes with the package.  Cows don't follow an 8-5 schedule, and neither do ranchers.  It's a lot of long days, cold nights, hard work, and a schedule that can change on a dime.
So why do people do it?
Some might say the lifestyle makes it worthwhile.
 I'd agree to that.
Some might say it's the freedom and ability to work outside that makes it worthwhile. 
 I'd agree to that too.
But if you asked me why I like this lifestyle so much -
I'd say it's because of the people.
There are super people involved in the cattle industry, but it's the people you work with and live with each day at the ranch you're on that can really help drive your motivation. 
We get to live around and work with such great people here at Double M.  Mike and Patsy are just great people to work for, and they really make you feel like you're a part of the brand.  Their son Jack and Clint work well together, and each have different strengths which they let each other play off of.  And the rest of the support crew in place on the cow side right now - Ty, Jesse and Duane and Deana - click well and work together to get the job done.
So today I thought I'd highlight the people behind the Double M brand - the UR on the right hip - because they're pretty fabulous!
All pictures below were taken last Friday while we were pregging and preconditioning calves.

These two have the best mother-son relationship....

This picture is out of focus, but it's such a great representation of Patsy that I included it.  She's always smiling, multi-tasking, on the phone and keeping track of data - all things she does well!

And we can't forget the dogs....
They're a part of the family here too! :)