This post is bittersweet to write now that I'm back in the states (and if anyone was wondering, yes I made it through customs!). I will admit, I missed my truck. No more busses or golf carts now.
This truly was the experience of a lifetime, and I loved every minute of my trip. Everyone was a little disappointed to be parting ways on Wednesday. Some were heading home like me, some continuing on with the post tour heading east, and some were visiting other places.
I can also say that the only people in the Calgary airport at 3:30 am yesterday were the 5 Americans heading home from the conference. The United employees aren't even there at that hour!
I am pretty sure I gained the WHC 15 during the trip. I guess eating 1-2 buffets per day will do that.
If Dr. Moser doesn't pass me, I might have to take up blogging as a profession. I definitely like to eat, see cattle, and travel.
One of the hardest parts was deciding which pics made the blog. Because I like statistics, thus far you've seen 4% of all the pics I've taken. So, here's a sample of what didn't make the initial cut. Or at least I don't think they made it...sorry if there are repeats, it is hard to keep track of them.
Well, I better wrap this up because I have piles of laundry to do and need to get groceries because all I had to eat for breakfast was a can of pears.
I'd like to finish by encouraging everyone to attend the 17th WHC in Uruguay in March of 2016.
The final shout out goes to Linda Swiercinsky and family, WHC, CHA, and my fellow attendees. Again, Linda thank you for this amazing opportunity; it's been the experience of a lifetime! To the WHC and CHA, thank you for your hospitality and congratulations on another successful conference. And my fellow attendees, thanks for all the great memories, and I've very much enjoyed meeting you. For now I am out of time and money, so I should get back to school.
Day 10 was rancher day with an estimated 1,000 people in attendance. Cow/calf pairs and pens of 3 bulls were evaluated by a panel of judges on horseback. This was the first time ever for an event like this to take place during the WHC.
The ladies judged the cows, and the guys judged the bulls. They had 1 judge from each of the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan on each team.
The show looked something like this. It was very well received by all in attendance, and many liked seeing cattle a real world setting.
The champion pair came from Remitall West. That's really the only result I can tell you because the program is in my checked bag somewhere in the Denver airport. The ladies without a doubt got the champion cows right.
I liked these fellas. Again, they are SHF Wonder calves from Remitall West. The judges didn't agree with me though. How typical.
It was a beautiful, sunny, 80 degree day. I'm highly depressed that the forecast in Manhattan for the next week is 100+. That's about 40 Celsius. I'm leaving now that I've figured this out!
You been farmin' long?
And I feel something like this right now. Think people would give me strange looks if I did this in the airport??
So, I was eavesdropping on the conversation a couple rows ahead of me on the bus. The fellow said he had about 10,000 hares running wild on his property. They shoot them from a helicopter. How big does a rabbit have to be to hit from a helicopter you ask. Greater than 10 lbs!
The shout out for today goes to the National Hereford Women and Hereford Youth Foundation of America. Thanks for playing a huge part in financing my education at Purdue. I will always be grateful for the support and opportunities provided by these organizations. The illustrated speech was probably my favorite JNHE contest, but there is certainly a contest for everyone (and juniors - it's not too early to start planning for next year!)
Day 9 was the much anticipated WHC show. There were around 500 head of cattle competing in separate polled and horned shows. It was interesting to listen to the conversations on the bus on the way back to Calgary. Many of the international guests were amazed by the size of the show. One comment was that the largest Hereford show in their area was 160 head. And yet there were probably close to 500 owned polled heifers at our jr. national. We really are fortunate to have such a large jr. association in the US.
The first class was lead in by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The lady holding the Canadian flag is actually a Hereford breeder and co-owned a successful bull today. I probably found it far too entertaining when the big, burly guy on this side started handing out banners!
I thought this was the best heifer I'd seen all day, and she was even in the first class! Remitall West's SHF Wonder calves were by far my favorite sire group which is what this gal is.
So, for my Hereford peeps who want some show results here it is...
Champion polled female - that same cow/calf from yesterday and day 1, WLB bred Beyond daughter
Reserve polled female - another WLB cow/calf sired by Traveler
Champion horned female - a Big Gully cow/calf sired by KSU Bounty Hunter
Reserve horned female - Triple A Herefords Feb 2011 Domino 9121W daughter
Champion polled bull - Remitall West and the Bacon family with an April 2011 SHF Wonder son, this bull was also champion yesterday in the jr. show and deserved to be there!
Reserve polled bull - Cayley Brown (owner of ch polled female) with a Jan 2011 son of Can-Am
Champion horned bull - Hirsche with UPS Uptown an April 2010 son of About Time
Reserve horned bull - Hoffmans, Holden, and Churchill with a Jan 2011 bull, Domino 144Y, sired by Domino 994W
The show also featured bulls 2 years and older. These were by far some of the most competitive classes of the day. I really liked this fellow, Big-Gully 611 Bounty 517U. He's a March 2008 son of KSU Bounty Hunter who is lying beside him. If I was judging, he would have been the champ horned bull, but I'm pretty sure no one wants to pay me for my opinion.
Now, no one panic. Tomorrow's blog will probably happen in an airport on Thursday. Dad was concerned one day when it was like 8 am in Ohio and I hadn't finished the one for the previous day.
The shout out today is for Melinda Braun, Columbia, IL. Melinda was my mentee for the NJHA mentor program in Denver. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see her this year at the jr. national, but I hope you had a great week. Congrats to the Braun family on the Champion Jr. AI Bull!
The start to day 8 was a bit interesting. I slept through Mom's alarm, Mom leaving, my alarm, and finally woke up when the maid came in. But no fear, I got dressed, braided my hair, grabbed my sweatshirt (good thing, I needed it and had no clue what the temp was!), and was downstairs in 15 min. I also almost got on the bus that was going shopping all day; so, that could have been disatrous. You'll understand if you've ever been shopping with me! I am a heavy sleeper but can't say that I've actually slept clear through my alarm. This did remind me of the fire alarm going off at the HQ hotel for the jr. national in Louisville. I was half asleep wondering why Mom wasn't turning her alarm off! Ooops.
I have noticed that my fellow pre-tourers are also slowing down. I think the 1-2 buffets per day are starting to catch up with us!
The Bonanza show has been aerosol free for a number of years. I expected they would use alternatives, but the show was essentially no fit. I also thought it was interesting that the bulls didn't have to be bred & owned.
Now, remember this gal from day 1?
Well, she put her show clothes on today and was named overall champion female in the Bonanza jr. show.
If you've looked through the website at all, you've probably noticed that I have a serious addiction to P606 daughters. This happens to be the reserve cow/calf and P606's only daughter in the show. She does have a stout little heifer calf at side too.
Wait a minute, am I in Ohio??? Well, I guess it would have to actually rain for this to happen. Just when I thought we should have brought cattle, I reminded myself that I didn't bring my rubber boots.
This is a showmanship class, and I don't think I've ever seen such a straight line! I don't think I saw any heifers out in the middle of the ring when they were lined up head to tail either. These jrs. should be commended for that.
Funny moment of the day...while eating supper with the Americans and Aussies, we discovered that the Americans had been to the Great Barrier Reef but the Aussies had not.
Today's shout out goes to my Boilermakers. Hi to all my friends from my years at Purdue as well as fellow alumni Jack Ward, AHA COO and Director of Breed Improvement, and John Meents, our AHA regional fieldman. I had the idea for this blog because my roommate, Lisa, was the American Honey Queen and blogged about her travels across the country. Boiler Up!
Day 7 was a free day to check out the Stampede. Naturally, we were mostly excited about the fair food, but the livestock events were very good as well.
Sorry to disappoint, I am coming home without a cowboy hat. That definitely puts me in the minority. The streets of downtown Calgary are a sea of cowboy hats of all types.
We happened to arrive right before this exceptional lady competed in the working horse competition. She's now a 3 time Stampede champion in this event.
The mounted police put on an excellent show to begin the rodeo. The amount of time and practice really showed. Even when one of the riders fell off his horse, the horse kept going and stayed in line. It turned into where's Waldo. Can you find him?
I promise he really is there! That's his rider holding the flag at the bottom.
Today is the 10th and final day of the Stampede; so, that means we got to watch the rodeo finals. It was very evident these were the elite competitors. Almost all the broncs were rode, calves roped, and steers wrestled. Unfortunately, it started raining near the end which seemed to make the bulls muddy and harder to ride.
I was impressed with how supportive the Stampede was in promoting the WHC. This is the entrance to the livestock barn. The educational display depicting common beef production practices also featured Hereford cattle.
Note I am wearing a sweatshirt....and it is July...and I wore it all day!
Looks like everyone's trying to get to their next class!
There are no words...
Can I drive??? We ended the day with the heavy horse pulls. The final 3 teams were very close, but the winning duo pulled a Stampede record 13,400 lbs.
Up next...the junior Bonanza show. (assuming I manage to snag a seat on the early bus!)
Today's shout out goes to the Eastern Ohio Hereford Association and Switzerland of Ohio Polled Hereford Association. Thanks to these organizations for their support throughout my junior career and continued support of the Ohio juniors. We are very lucky to have these groups in our state. We sincerely appreciate your potlucks/meals during your shows as well.
By my count this is about day 6 which involved the technical conference for most of the day. The theme for the conference is "Come Celebrate the New Hereford," and it has been a celebration of the resurgence of the breed and cattle markets in many countries.
The country flags were paraded in by bagpipes, the mounties you see standing at each side, and juniors from each country. Country representatives, including AHA President David Breiner, were "white hatted" during a ceremony where they were presented with the signature white cowboy hats.
My take away from the technical conference is that Hereford breeders need to be submitting DNA for genomic evaluation on their young animals. The genomic tools are most beneficial for evaluating the genetics of young animals because this improves the accuracy of their EPDs. The tools we have for evaluating the genomics of our cattle are not as accurate as those commercially available for Angus. Thus, the association needs your help by sending in hair samples for genomic testing AND performance testing those animals and their progeny. Due to the foresight of the AHA leadsership, the samples you send will help us make the genomic test more accurate, aid in the discovery of new traits, and improve the genetic evaluation of our breed so we can continue to move forward.
This is the drive for the overall champion 4-H female in the purebred (closest side) and commercial (far side) shows. Both Limousin females were selected as champion overall (immediately behind the herfs).
The Canadian Hereford Association sponsored a $10,000 grand prize for the champion Hereford steer. The 1,320 lb steer was slapped reserve champion overall by judge Brandon Callis. The steer champions were paraded in front of the grandstand between chuckwagon races.
The chuckwagon races were fantastic! It's basically complete chaos when the horn blows. This is the starting position. They run in heats of 4, and as you can see, they have a wagon hitched to 4 horses.
So, why are those random guys down there holding horses?? They are the outriders. The guy at the back throws a barrel in the wagon and jumps on his horse. The one at the front steadies the team and runs beside them before jumping on his horse. Everyone has to make a figure 8 around the barrels.
Smashing a barrel results in a severe time penalty. Also, the riders must finish within a certain length of the wagon they belong with or there is another smaller time penalty.
And the whole ordeal looks something like this...
The horses are retired Thoroughbreds. There are literally hundreds horses back in the barn.
A grandstand show followed the races. There were many dance, areal, and musical acts including hometown boy Paul Brandt. It's definitely been a celebration of the 100th aniversary of the Stampede.
And imagine this....I took part in a flash mob!
Today's shout out goes to the K-Staters including...
My fellow breeding & genetics grad students, Kari and Kerri (thus, I have been affectionately named "not Kerri")
The genetics profs, Drs. Moser, Bormann, and Weaber (who spoke at the technical conference today)
Also, the physiology grad students and profs who put up with us genetics students
First off, happy Friday the 13th to everyone! We've made it to Calgary, Alberta, and I'm happy to be staying in the same hotel for the remainder of my trip.
Today, we heard brief presentations from each of the member countries of the World Hereford Council. They were also excited to announce the addition of Kazakhstan and Switzerland to the council. So, we learned a little more about each piece of the pie. What kind of pie you ask? Coconut cream pie of course! Is there any other kind??
Uruguay, host of the 17th WHC in 2016, has a national beef herd comprised of 61% Hereford, much different than the US. They are also one of several countries whose cattle are 100% traceable.
Kazakhstan has 10,000 head of Herefords and plans to import another 72,000 more by 2015. A large portion of the countries, including the US, have already exported cattle there.
Argentina presented an amazing video about Herefords in their country that was very well received by the audience. If I find a link for the video, I'll be sure to add it.
I now appreciate that the Hereford World is published monthly. I would probably go crazy if I had to wait a year for the next issue like some countries do!
They saved the best for last as the US was the final piece of the pie. Craig Huffines had the pleasure to announce that the largest Hereford show anywhere in the world took place at this year's jr. national in Grand Island, Nebraska where 1,351 head were exhibited.
We've been cruising around town in...would you believe... a Volkswagon Golf. The golf cart has served its purpose even though we are a family of truck drivers. It's certainly not my F250, 4 door, 4x4. Mom's not too attached to it though because she tried to get in someone else's golf cart!
Mom had the chance to look through the rest of my pics from earlier in the week. She was quite impressed with the improvement in my bus photography skills. This is from the first day...
Reflection? YES. My shirt clearly says Purdue.
Large trees blocking the river? YES.
Power line? NO.
At least I didn't violate all the rules of bus photography (see Diversity post).
And now that I have a handle on this vital skill, I'm basically done riding the bus.
We ate breakfast at the White Spot. Many places in town are decked out in western decor.
Yum! Why haven't I thought to put ice cream on my waffle before now?? Waffles without ice cream will not suffice anymore.
Fun fact: this is a wildlife overpass. There are several of these in Banff National Park. They are wider than a typical overpass and allow the wildlife to safely cross the divided highway.
The highway itself is fenced on each side to keep the wildlife out, and there are cattle guards at the exits to keep the deer that wander around downtown banff from entering the highway. And we thought they didn't make woven wire fence anymore.
Tomorrow is the technical conference and chuckwagon races at the Calgary Stampede where total attendance will exceed 1 million. That means I should have some more cool pics to share too!
The shout out for the day goes to Keith Houser. Soon, Keith will be taking his first 4-H Hereford steer to the county fair. Good luck with Albert and Tank, and I hope it's a fun week!
Today's been a great day in Banff and Lake Louise. We've done everything from visiting a secluded mountain lake to being tourists in the gift shops. Banff is certainly a one of a kind town.The national park is some 2,500 square miles, and we could have easily spent a week here.
This is the view down Banff Avenue with all the unique storefronts. It is definitely a tourist town. People can only live in town if they also work here to prevent an infulx of summer homes.
So, I might have gone a little overboard with the pic taking here. Mom eventually just left me taking pics of basically everything. I could give Google Earth some assistance with the street views in Banff!
Despite the crowds, the only place we had to stand in line was at Cow's for brownie explosion ice cream. And yes, it was as good as it sounds! Yet, we somehow managed to not enter any of the chocloate shops in town. That's some serious self control.
We traveled north to Lake Louise, one of the widely popular lakes in the region. The Fairmont Chateau sits at one end of the lake and is easily the largest hotel I've ever seen.
The view looking onto the lake is amazing! I'd been hoping to get some great pics here, and it certainly didn't dissappoint. Lake Louise is a stunning teal color and is fed by the snowy mountains on the horizon. The Banff park area has more lakes than the rest of the world combined.
Don't forget the bear spray!
I faced my fears. How could I use bear spray on this guy???
I'm pretty sure canoeing here would be great therapy! It's soooo peaceful.
Mom wouldn't go rock climbing with me. I guess being afraid of heights will instill a fear of this activity. So, I'm going to have to recruit more adventurous travel buddies if I ever want to do this.
This brings an end to the pre-tour portion of the conference. So, I'll be giving you a break from mountains, trees, and water. For someone who can't swim, I certainly take a lot of pics of bodies of water.
Today's shout out goes to Bob & Karen Morrison, Lexington, OH. My bus number is 242; so, I've been thinking about you! They've been nothing but supportive and helpful throughout my junior career. The first heifer I ever bought came from Bob & Karen, and my girl Mattie turns 11 today.
Sorry, I couldn't resist using this title. Some of you may remember my "Are We There Yet?" speech from Wisconsin. Boy did I enjoy giving that speech!
Day 3 is an all day ride to Banff National Park. Banff is the oldest national park in Canada, and I've really been looking forward to exploring the town. But, I have to be on my best behavior now because Mom joined me in Banff.
To get to Banff, we took the Trans-Canada Highway, aka Hwy 1. This is the 2nd longest paved road in the world. There is a road that circles Australia that is longer, but driver Mike argues that road doesn't actually go anywhere because it starts and ends in Sydney!
We made a pit stop a the Last Spike. This is where they drove the final spike in the Canadian-Pacific Railway. The man in the beard drove the spike in but bent the first one, pounded the second in, removed the second as a souvenier, and a third and final spike was driven.
The big stop of the day was Three Valley Gap in B.C. The area was originally a swamp, and it was filled in with the dirt and rock from building the highway.
This ghost town was brought here building by building. I'm pretty sure I could have taken pics here for another hour.
They have a collection of classic cars from back in the day. There were everything from early Cadillacs to Model Ts.
Some of the buildings inculded a blacksmith shop, jail, barber shop, pharmacy, and church. The insides had items reminiscent of the period as well.
Today I'm adding Switzerland and Northern Ireland to my list of countries. I had a great steak lunch here with another group from Australia. Are you begining to see a trend?? The Aussies have been working on getting me to visit their country. Although I've been warned that I might not want to leave once I get there!
I am absolutly in love with this pic! It WILL be framed when I get back. Apparently Mom wants one too!
And this is the view from the front of the hotel and restaurant. Again, I could live here, but there aren't any cows which might be a problem.
And this is the hotel overlooking the lake. Red and white seem to be the color theme for the trip.
So, today I sat with Leanne from Australia on the bus. They have about 200 registered cows, mostly horned but shfting more towards polled. The cows are more of a hobby becasue they also own 3,000 sheep which is an average sized flock for their area. I was also fascinated that there are some 300 kangaroos livng on their ranch!
This is the Canadian-Pacific Railway which spans the country from coast to coast. The trains can be nearly 2 miles long. The part I found fascinating is goods are shipped from China to Vancouver and the containers are stacked 2 high on trains. The trains take them across Canada, and they are unloaded onto ships headed for Europe.
We made it to Banff, and this is where Mom and I ate supper. Spaghetti and meatballs...mmmmmm. I'm going to leave you in suspense until tomorrow when I'll bring out the town of Banff pics.
Just an update of what's to come, they are expecting 1,000+ people for Rancher's Day which is the final day and invloves pen shows.
The shout out is for the Duncan family (WIngate, IN). Thanks for being my home away from home at Purdue and providing my Hereford fix on the weekends. Also, I learned many life lessons...and thanks to David the most important being the real meaning of the word Dodge. Pass the message along to Lawrence that visiting the ghost town at 3 Valley Gap in British Columbia should be on his bucket list.
Day 2 started off with breakfast of eggs, potatoes, and bacon at a Chinese restaurant of all places. I joined a pair of lovely British ladies who were extremely happy to have a good cup of tea with breakfast. And they informed me that Brits really are as obsessed with tea as we think.
During the bus ride, I sat with a gentleman from Sweden whose granddaughter was the champion showman in their country and also earned a trip to Bonanza. She's been in Canada for about 3 months helping a breeder get cattle ready for the WHC shows.
First stop, the Quilchena Hotel owned by Guy & Hilda Rose and located in the Nicola Valley, B.C. I took this pic for Dad. If the tractor had been green, I definitely wouldn't have taken so many pics of it!
Here we have an old fashioned general store. The Rose family has taken advantage of the tourism industry as another source of income in addition to their 1500 cows.
Antiques lined the top beams around the general store. The decor above my kitchen cabinets certainly can't compete!
This hotel is 100+ years old and has a classic charm to it. It functions as a working hotel, restaurant, and bar. Their fed cattle are sold electronically, and the sale is broadcasted at the hotel.
The sitting room is decorated in the same period theme as the general store. Give me some credit on this one; I took a pic of something that wasn't a cow, body of water, or mountain. Does that make me cultured??
This is the view out the clubhouse where my bus ate lunch looking out over the golf course. Lunch was of course fantastic, and I sat with Australians and New Zealanders. The Aussies were half retired; they downsized from 800 to 400 head!
Douglas Lake is situated in an Indian reservation next to our final stop, a ranch named after the lake. We are just southeast of Kamloops, B.C., and this ranch is owned by a US businessman but has changed hands a few times. We've been wondering if some of that haze you see in the background came from the US wildfires.
I always feel the need to take pics of these. Our neighbors would think we were crazy if we put one at the end of our lane. This is one of the largest cattle ranches in Canada. They run about 7,000 females, all Hereford and Hereford cross.
The farm crew was busy making hay and silage. This pic was taken inside the silage bunker from the bus. It was mostly empty, and it was large enough to easily make a U turn in the bus. The farm has access to over 750,000 acres. Across the road from here is a small lot where they winter around 300 bulls ranging in age from 2-8 all comingled together.
Here's the ranch office. All the buildings are white with the red roofs and trim. And the driveways were lined with white board fence; so, I was feeling right at home.
I seriously wanted to take that little wagon with me! Unfortunately, it wouldn't fit in my luggage. And look Mom, I even got the pretty flowers in the pic!
Can't say I've ever seen this in Ohio! The Ranch backgrounds all their cattle and sells them as around 1000 lb stockers. They have a feedlot to background cattle and didn't need any permits to build it. The regulations in Alberta are much stricter.
And here's another for any guys who might be reading this. It has wheels and rust; so, it should get Dad's approval.
If you're wondering why there aren't any pics of cows, they are all up in the mountains grazing summer pastures. But the area was certainly cow country. They live in an arid climate and receive about 12 in of rain annually. The area looks similar to the Kansas Flinthills but a little steeper hills and considerably less grass. This is a pretty typical scene in this area and is actually part of the Indian reservations I mentioned earlier.
They turned us loose in the city of Kamloops, B.C. last night for supper on our own. Unfortunately, most of the small shops nearby were closed, but I did manage to have sweet & sour chicken for supper. That automatically makes it a good day. I blame the Purdue dining courts for my obsession! It really is amazing that I didn't gain the freshman 15!
The shout out today goes to Ken, Rhea, & Connie Shaw (Newcomerstown, OH) and Paul & Marsha Farno (Eaton, OH). Wish you all were here! If you ever want to take a road trip, this is the crew to go with. I can guarantee you'll have a good time! Our most notable trip was the first time we went to Harrisburg, PA for KILE. I don't think I've laughed that hard since!