Family Ties

It’s an exciting weekend for the Simmental breed in Iowa this weekend. Iowa has a long standing history of producing great Simmental genetics, and great families that have roots deep in the breed. The Steenhoek family of JS Simmentals is no exception to that tradition. One of the things you have to love and appreciate about the JS Simmentals operation is how much of a family affair the cattle operation is. It’s refreshing to see an entire family breeding cattle, enjoying time together, traveling the country, and marketing their genetics. 

Today we sit down with Jay Steenhoek, the oldest of Ken & Claudia’s children to learn more about their families over 30 years in the Simmental business.

The Steenhoek’s have been raising Simmental cattle under JS Simmental since 1985.  My Dad (Ken) always used Simmental bulls on his commercial cows & just really liked the breed.  We purchased 2 Purebred Simmental heifers from Brad Sweeney, Truro, Iowa for my (Jay) 1st 4-H project. The purchase that changed our program came from Triple C Farms, Wisconsin. We purchased our Triple C Burning Power donor.  Burning Power is still alive, we still flush her & she continues to run in our pastures.

As they continued to grow and produce outstanding genetics, it was obvious to them it was time to take it to another level. We got involved in a number of consignment sales & felt it was easier to have our own sale about 8 years ago. The Midwest Made Sale hosted at the Hansen Center at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa will be held this Saturday, October 21st at 5PM. They strive offer an elite group of PB & Sim/Angus females that will thrive in the show ring & the pasture.  They want to create a positive market atmosphere at our sale, which is easy to see by their hospitality and presentation of the sale animals. They always want to be helpful to customers anyway possible.

Everyone who has a sale knows that it is not only a lot of work, but it is also very rewarding for your program. The success of our first sale in Ames  stands out as a memorable moment for JS Simmentals.  It encouraged us to continue to strive to produce superior genetics for our customers.

The Steenhoek family hosts their sale at the Hansen Center in Ames, Iowa. This means they have to haul their cattle, feed, tack, and family to the sale. Hauling my mother’s décor (junk) takes up a whole trailer (according to my Dad).  In actuality preparing at home plus transporting equipment & cattle 50 miles to the sale site in Ames can be the most difficult.  The best part is socializing with old & new customers, seeing juniors eagerly choosing projects for the coming year & just the excitement of the auction.

Family ties run strong.  It’s a joy for Grandpa & Grandma (Ken & Claudia) to watch the three grand kids Chesney 11, Coy 9 & Grady 6 excel in the show ring which reinforces their hard work in the barn.  Scott, Amy, Dani & myself share the spotlight as well, each of us assuming tasks that lead to success in the show ring. Ken’s world revolves around cattle & taking road trips to find “that special one”,  while Claudia finds “that special antique.  Jay & Dani love the bull stud business at Nichols Cryo-Genetics, Inc. & also enjoy time with friends, camping, the Iowa State Fair, & taking kids to sporting events.  Scott & Grady enjoy time on the golf course, little league & time with friends.  Amy shares the passion for cattle & shows like her Dad, but also enjoys time with friends & sporting events for Grady.  We all enjoy the athletic events the kids are involved in – travelling weekends to baseball, softball, wrestling, football & basketball.

Our extended family includes these people behind the scenes who help daily or part time making sure JS Cattle are at their best.  Dwayne Bos, JR Spear, Derek Counsel, Jamie Flynn & Ross Anderson.

To the consignors both past & present, we say “Thank You” for sharing this sale experience each year with us & for bringing quality cattle to offer.

 

 

 

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Under the lights in West Point

Growing up as an AJSA member, I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of great people, and make some great friends. As you age out of the AJSA and enter “adulthood” it is fun to carry those people with you as you take on the real world. As a junior member, I met Eric Gerdes from Iowa. Obviously, dad had met and known him for years as he was showing, but I remember meeting Eric has he served at President of the AJSA Board of Trustees. Being an over zealous AJSA member,  I was excited to know a President of the board.

Now years later in the adult world, we have the opportunity to work with Eric Gerdes and his wife Tara, their operation, and sale group with the Buckles & Banners Sale. Eric & Tara are excited, young Simmental breeders working hard to produce great genetics and host a high quality evening of cattle and hospitality. As we have been doing this fall, today we would like to spotlight Gerdes Show Cattle and their upcoming sale on Friday night, the Buckles & Banners. 

Eric bought his first Simmental heifer in 1991 at the Hawkeye Simmental Sale in Bloomfield, Iowa. His cousins and older sister had been showing Simmental steers from a local breeder in Southeast Iowa, so they had already had some success with Simmental breed. In 1995, Eric purchased RS Red Lace from Brad Hook and Denny Drake. This was the first year he was able to go to the NWSS and attended his first Simmental Junior Nationals in Minnesota. That heifer went on to win the Iowa State Fair and from that point on he was hooked on Simmentals. Of course, from my history earlier you know that Eric was a successful and active AJSA member.

They hosted the first Buckles and Banners sale 6 years ago, and it is their favorite time of the year.  It is the completion of all the hard work that comes together for everyone to visit and enjoy the fun and good cattle! Prior to that they had consigned in many sales, including the Midwest Made Sale. Eric and Tara decided that they had enough numbers and were wanting to increase their cow herd, so they choose to have their own sale and created a very beneficial partnership with the Owen family. Owen Brothers consigns cattle to the Buckles & Banners, and then in the Spring, Eric and Tara take cattle to the Diamonds & Spurs Sale. 

Along with his wife, Dr. Tara Gerdes who owns Lee County Veterinary Care, they have 2 young children, Jaren (7) and Brystol (3), who keep them very busy! A great blessing to Eric and Tara are to have their parents and families close and involved in the cattle business. Tara’s dad Dusty Wellman is also a consignor to the Buckles & Banners, and Eric’s mom is lead decorator for the sale.  Anthony and Ami Walton joined Gerdes Show Cattle 4 years ago and have become a major part of their team and extended family, their hard work and dedication is greatly appreciated!

Eric and Tara are both St. Louis Cardinals fans and enjoy trying to make it to a few games every summer. Eric also  enjoyed hunting and now Jaren has started to enjoy it, so he is looking forward to spending more time teaching him.

We hope that you can join Eric and Tara along with the rest of the Buckles & Banners consignors on Friday evening in West Point, Iowa. Make sure you come early for dinner and plan to stay for the great fellowship and hospitality after the sale. It’s a truly unique event of the fall, and they work hard to offer the sparkle and shine you need to add to your operation.

 

 

 

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Online at Windy Ridge

The blog today jumps from the live auction world to a world centered around the click of the mouse; online sales! With the growing response to online bidding, and being able to serve our customers no matter how large or small operations; we decided to jump into the world of online sales. Tom and Kristi Rathje of Windy Ridge Simmentals have been great clients to DP Online Sales, and we enjoy working with them for their online sales twice a year in March and October. Their online sale Oktoberfest at Windy Ridge Simmentals opens today on DP Online Sales, and closes tomorrow evening at 8PM EST. They had a great open house this weekend at their farm with lots of visitors and great hospitality. 

Take a moment to get to know Windy Ridge Simmentals, their program, and their online sale open now.

Windy Ridge Simmentals was founded in 2004 by Tom and Kristi Rathje, along with their children Katie, Grant and Josie.  As youth, Tom and Kristi were both involved in their family’s purebred cattle operations and were anxious to begin their own operation that not only afforded their own children the experiences associated with livestock production, but also assists other youth in this industry.

Both Tom and Kristi attended Iowa State University and the University of Nebraska, with Kristi completing her B.S. in Animal Science and Tom his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in livestock genetics and an MBA degree. Kristi is the operating manager for Windy Ridge and is the primary contact for sales and customer service. Tom spends his daytime hours as the Chief Technical Officer for DNA Swine Genetics where he is responsible for the genetic improvement program and implementation of new technologies in the nucleus herds. Improving genetics is a part of everything we do and a lifelong passion.

After becoming discouraged by the lack of land availability and affordability near Seward, a neighboring community of Lincoln, NE, Tom and Kristi took a leap of faith and purchased their first two Simmental heifers in the fall of 2004 in the hopes that God would provide a solution.  Within a month, a 40 acre piece of land became available and was purchased!  The first and most notable donor purchase that changed our operation was KA TCF Independence S30L, who carries on her legacy as one of the highest number of progeny registrations in the Simmental breed.

Windy Ridge strives to produce cattle that have the ability to help you achieve your goals. Few things are more important to us than customer success. Whether you define success in the show ring, the donor pen or in fulfilling your production goals, we produce the type and kind of cattle that will help you to be successful. Customer service, earning your trust and ensuring your satisfaction are very important to us. At Windy Ridge Simmentals, you will be treated with respect and will find a group of people who love to talk cattle and find ways to help you be successful. We recognize and support the youth that are the future of our industry and do our best to assist them in any way possible. We stand behind all the cattle and embryos we sell, so you can buy with confidence.

Tom and Kristi aim to stay very progressive in their operation, and utilize social media, advertising, and marketing to promote their operation. As their operation continues to grow, the online sale avenue began their sale journey. They started the ‘March Madness’ online embryo auction in 2011 and is still held every March, now hosted by DPonlinesales.com.  The inaugural ‘Oktoberfest at Windy Ridge’, featuring mostly open heifers with some embryo, bull and donor lots, began in 2016 and is held the 3rd week of October. Taking the online sale route is not without its obstacles. They find that the most difficult hurdle with an online sale is gaining exposure and awareness since a full-scaled catalog does not get delivered to your target customers.  The advantages of an online sale are that it is a better-suited sale format for businesses that have smaller numbers of select genetic opportunities and, buyers have the convenience of viewing the sale and bidding from their home or on the go. Online sales are an excellent platform to market genetics for all sizes of operations, but are a real advantage over live auctions for small to mid-sized producers. Reduced sales costs and the ability to have several marketing opportunities throughout the year are the most notable advantages for our operation.

We all know that the cattle business is much more enjoyable when you can share it with your family. Tom and Kristi have three children: Katie, Grant and Josie, and two grandchildren: Charlotte and Samuel.  Katie and her husband, Kaleb, live in Orange City, IA where she is a nurse at Orange City Area Hospital and he is a Sr. Marketing Manager with Staples Promotional Products.  Grant is a field rep for Elanco Animal Health and remains very active in Windy Ridge’s daily activities.  Josie is a Freshman at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and loves to work with the cattle when she has free time. Besides attending as many cattle sales and shows as time allows, we enjoy spending time at the lake and boating during the summer months with family.  Grandchildren are a great source of joy and we always look forward to spending time with them, watching them learn and grow.

Tom, Kristi, their family, along with their herdsman Stewart Hardin invite you to contact them at anytime to discuss their operation whether it be the Oktoberfest or future genetics. Also check out their newly updated website (www.windyridgesimmentals.com) and find them on social media under Windy Ridge Simmentals.

 

 

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23 and counting

This weekend we are once again celebrating a sale and operation that has been in the Simmental business for over 20 years. Saturday, the New Direction Sale and the Sloup family will be hosting their 23rd sale at the farm in Staplehurst, Nebraska.

The Sloup name is familiar to many of you watching sale reports and attending to listening to sales. It is without a doubt that Sloup Simmentals is one of the most supportive operations when purchasing cattle. No matter if it is a junior member selling a heifer or a big time operation; from New York to Colorado and everywhere in between Sloup Simmentals’ supports the Simmental breed while assembling some of the top genetics in the breed.

The research began many years ago for the Sloup family as they were deciding what breed to purchase. Being from Nebraska, they looked at Angus and Red Angus before purchasing their first Simmentals in 1982 from Bruce Winther and Mike Loy of Iowa. In 1994, Sloup Simmentals decided they had enough numbers to justify having a sale each year, and the New Direction was born. Today, the Sloup program hosts two live auctions; the New Direction in October and the Spring Turnout in May with partner Hilltop Simmentals. Throughout the year, they host 3 online sales: The Sloup & friends Winter Event, Sloup’s Summer Splash, and St. Nicks Eggstravaganza. The goals of Sloup Simmentals continue to be the same, assemble some of the top cow families, to offer top genetics both percentage and purebred, and for their buyers to have great success with their purchases.

In 2005, Nick purchased SVF NJC Magnetic Ldy M25 from Sunset View Farms, and elevated their program to a whole new level. Magnetic Lady; who is Nick’s third love after his wife and kids, is the cornerstone of their program. She has 151 progeny on report with the American Simmental Association, and they have had great success with daughters, granddaughters, and bull progeny for many years. This year they are offering a flush or IVF cycle on SS Windsong, daughter of Magnetic Ldy.

Though it may seem like after 23 years, one might get in a routine after having a sale at the same time, same place every year, but that’s when one becomes complaisant. It takes a lot of preparation and narrowing down what to offer; which for Nick is hard. He is always thinking of what to do next, what to market next, and unique ways to do that. At the 20th anniversary of the New Direction, we had a surprise lot that was unveiled on Friday afternoon before the sale; she too was a daughter of the matriarch Magnetic Ldy. As soon as the sale is over on Saturday, Nick will begin brainstorming and preparing for the 24th annual New Direction in 2018.

So when you have had nearly 23 sales, how do you pick a moment or sale that sticks out in your mind? Questions like that are always easy for Nick Sloup. The 20th anniversary New Direction Sale was very special. We had a great crowd, great sale, and beautiful weather. 20 hand picked donors and cows led the first 20 lots in the catalog, we sold Red Jewel for $46,000 and even pulled off a surprise live animal lot.

It’s not all hard work and no enjoyment though. Meeting and visiting with customers is what Nick says is the best part of having a sale. Unless you travel to Seward, Nebraska you probably won’t meet Nick Sloup. He is always busy working on the farm, and attending the activities of his 5 children (and soon to be first grandchild). Though Nick doesn’t attend many Simmental functions in person, many of you might have talked to him on the phone. Nick believes greatly in customer service and the best person to sell your cattle and operation is yourself because you know them the best. I’d hate to see his phone bill the month or two leading up to the sale.

Gosh, with 5 sales and purchasing cattle from all over the United States, it must take a small army to keep things running. Good thing the Sloup crew is a small and mighty army lead by matriach of the Sloup family, Shirley. Shirley Sloup is Nick’s mother and cattle partner. Not only does she provide endless love and support, but she is a great heat checker too! Nick’s brothers Scott and Bill are fixtures on the farm daily, and both own cattle. The Sloup men are lead by a great sister Susan. Of course, Nick needs someone to keep him straight and that is where Andrea comes in, and 5 children Shane, Shelbi, Brevin, Natalie, and Haylie to keep him hopping. In December, Nick and Andrea are expecting their first grandchild for Shelbi and her husband Jackson. 

Nick is a positive advocate and cheerleader for the Simmental breed; perhaps the biggest I know. When fads run through the breed, Sloup Simmentals continues on the course to raise cattle that meet their three goals, and market top genetics across the country to a large number of buyers. No one likes or remembers a story they read once and never again; the same goes for buying cattle. Customers who become repeat customers are the story of your operation as they continue to come back year after year, sale after sale. That is what makes a book a classic, and that is how you have a sale for 23 years.

 

 

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Celebrating 20 years

I love celebrating. Events, birthdays, anniversaries, good news; whatever it is, I love to celebrate it. I’m known to send a lot of cards, random presents, and flowers. I get it from my mom, Debbie. She has always been a great customer of our florist sending flowers when someone passes away to show she cares. I think that celebrating events in our life is a great way to be fully engaged in what is going on around us, and to those important in our life.

It isn’t everyday that you find a cattle operation or sale that has been going on for 20 years. In today’s world, people get interested in something and then shortly thereafter they move on to something else. Though there has been many changes over the year with the Belles of the Bluegrass, the same principals are still valued by everyone involved in the sale.

What I think we don’t do enough is recognize the people involved in the sale. Potential buyers and customers come to sales; many times to someone’s farm, but they don’t get the opportunity to learn about the people; the families involved. Therefore to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Belles of the Bluegrass tomorrow please take a few minutes to learn more about the families that make up the Belles of the Bluegrass. Their families invite you to join us tonight for dinner at a presentation by MultiMin USA at 5PM, and tomorrow to celebrate 20 years of selling Simmental cattle.

Reality Farms :: The Jackson family

Reality Farms is a family beef business spanning four generations of beef production.  Our primary focus is to provide quality cattle with data to enable customers to evaluate and decide the best selection for their herd.  We A.I and Embryo Transfer most of our cattle.

We are a typical farm family that has been involved with 4-H for decades.  Our three children competed with cattle all over the USA and we managed to get them to the events.  Team work is the essence of our business; AI, checking cows, delivering calves, chores, baling hay or whatever it takes to keep the business productive.

Matt is the only one to graduate in Ag. but our daughters are teachers and they never miss a chance to enlighten their class about agriculture and cattle.  Traci, Matts’ wife is a dental hygienist and has a captive audience while she works on clients.

Matt has always loved working with cattle and people.  He has started a new business to market cattle. He and his dad manage Reality Farms herd of about 200 head.  We have a spring and fall calving program.  Matt also provides cattle photography for catalog sales and ring man services at various breed sales.

Matt and Traci added a new generation to our family last January.  Her name is Maddox.  Our Grandsons are in high school and college and the eldest just graduated and married this summer.

We have been involved with the Belles and Bulls of the Blue Grass sales for several years.  The Simmental consigners are very easy to work with and have a genuine interest to provide good quality cattle for the sales.

Misty Meadows Farm :: Rondal & Judy Dawson

Misty Meadows is owned by Judy and Rondal Dawson. We have 177 acres. The farm is located in Shelby County between Frankfort and Shelbyville. Judy and I worked for Kentucky State Government. I worked as an engineering technologist for 36 years and Judy spent 33 years in personnel management. We both have been retired for 16 years. We have one son, David, and two grandchildren, Ben (15) and Abby (13). My hobby is raising Simmental cattle and Judy is involved in activities at church. This will be my 12th Belles of the Bluegrass. I still thank Dr. Fred Swain for inviting me into the sale. I have 42 purebred Simmental cows. You could describe my herd as being production cattle. We try to sell cattle that will calve easily, put on pounds and are docile. I enjoy being part of the Belles group. I think this is a group of breeders that sell high quality cattle and back up what they sell. I like talking to the buyers and have made some really good friends over the years. I hope with our new location, we will bring new interest and new friends.

Ratliff Cattle Company :: The Ratliff Family

Ratliff Cattle Company; I have been with the Belles’s group for three yrs ; I run 25 Simmental females and 35 angus females ; I try to concentrate on improving overall genetics by seeing what each female needs to increase her offsprings EPDs and choosing AI sires that may help these numbers : Trying to maintain a good body Size at the same time : watching calving ease and trying to get as much weaning as possible. I’m a Dentist and cattle producer. I have a Great wife Beth Ann that is also a Dentist and my business partner. I enjoy being apart of the Belles group because of the great Breeder involved with that program. Good bunch of men and women.

Swain Select Simmentals :: Fred & Phyllis Swain & family

This is our 20th with the Belles and Bulls of the Bluegrass as one of the original founders.  The Belles and Bulls sales were initiated with the intent to provide a quality  group of cattle with sound pedigrees for both the purebred and commercial programs.  The group of participants are interested in our customer’s success. Swain Select Simmentals have about 35 select cows calving yearly with an emphasis on cow families.  We focus on select production cattle and a balance of good phenotype and EPDs.We utilize some donors and embryo transfer for selection of superior performance.  Our focus is with production of females and bulls to move the Simmental and beef industries forward.We utilize primarily AI breeding, again, to produce the best and to bring new genetic superior markers to compliment our females.  We like caving ease but with growth for our customers.I enjoy the Belles/Bulls because the group is cooperative and tries to support each other as a common bond with consideration and respect for the advantages of each individual program.  We have an intent to bring our best to our customers.  Each participant brings their own unique cattle advantage to the group. Phyllis and I enjoy the practice of pediatric dentistry and what I feel is the advantage to the child.  We blend that passion with our second passion occupation of the cattle, the people of the cattle and probably most importantly the Simmental youth family. We are interested in and try to support the Eastern Junior Simmental youth.  The Eastern Junior Classic Funding Auction at the NAILE is one of the important projects we participate with to provide, along with others, support for our youth.  I invite all of you to come and enjoy this event with us.

Kaiser Simmentals :: Bill Kaiser

Kaiser Simmentals is a small operation located in Shelbyville, Ky , we run around 25 cows . We take advantage of A.I. And embryo transfer to produce the best genetics available .i have been involved with the belles group for several of years and am happy that I was given the opportunity to market my cattle with such a great group of breeders . After coming home from western Kentucky university , I was given the opportunity to move on the family farm and got interested in breeding registered simmental cattle , I have a beautiful 13 year old daughter named Mally Shea which helps me with weekend chores around the farm , we also enjoy anything to do with the outdoors, hunting, fishing etc .

Wayward Hill Farm :: Dr. Henry & Lou Ann Allen & family

Wayward Hill Farm is one of the original founders that started the Belles & Bulls of the Bluegrass. The Allen family runs about 150 registered cows.  90% being purebreds the remainder being percentage.  We focus on producing performance based cattle that excel in the pasture and still can be competitive in the show ring.  We also focus on producing and developing bulls that last for our commercial customer base.  We make it a point to purchase our customers calves to use in our feeder cattle backgrounding operation.  It is always a good place to visit with past customers and friends we have made over the years in the simmental cattle business.

Dr. Allen is a veterinarian focusing on strictly cattle.  LouAnn manages the book keeping aspect of Allen Vet Service and helping out with the Grandkids on a daily basis. Dr. Allen started in the Simmental business in 1974.  Sons Paul and Chris are still involved in the cattle business.  Chris is a partner and runs the daily operations of Wayward Hill Farm.  Chris and his wife Sara have 2 daughters Ann Lawrence (3 years old) and Addison (6 months old).  Paul is a partner and manager of A & S Cattle company.  Paul and his wife Michelle have 2 boys Reese (9 years old) and Gage (6 years old). The Allen family is involved in almost every aspect of the beef cattle industry.

Welsh Simmentals :: Jeff & Teresa Welsh

Welsh Simmentals is owned and operated by Jeff and Teresa Welsh with assistance from our son Adam.  Currently Welsh Simmentals is a 70 Cow operation focusing on raising the highest quality Simmental/SimAngus genetics possible. We continue to build strong genetics by utilizing embryo transfer, IVF, and AI breeding to high quality bulls. This will be our 12th year in the Belles of the Bluegrass. We have made many friends thru this sale and hope to continue to build more friendships.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Goldmine of Louisburg

At the moment, we are traveling west toward St. Louis headed toward the 15th annual Head of the Class Sale. Though the drive from Louisville to St. Louis isn’t very scenic, it seems that everyone always travels to Louisburg, Kansas with great anticipation. It is always exciting to drive through the gates of Sanders Ranch onto Steve Sander’s property and be present for another Head of the Class sale. 

Steve began raising Simmentals in 1974. If you look back through the memory books you might even find a few red Angus photos in the Sanders Ranch album. Steve is always the attentive observer. He recognized that the Simmental breed was really gaining some ground, and having Angus cattle decided to cross them with Simmentals. Steve’s attention to pedigrees and outstanding operations, he purchased cattle from Bud Finch, Breck Ellison Farms, Woods Knoll, and Latta.

Though a purchase in 2000, changed the game of Sanders Ranch. Steve purchased SVF Breath Taker from Cheryl Wagner. A few months later she went on to win Grand Champion Female at the American Royal. A few weeks after that she claimed Grand Champion honors at the NAILE. Could it happen? Three in a row? The triple crown of cattle showing? In January 2001, SVF Breath Taker won the National Western Stock Show, and clinching the third show needed to succeed the triple crown. You might remember back to this ad designed by Connie Barbour, wife of Sanders Ranch manager and owner of Barbour Marketing created to showcase this prestigous title. Still one of my favorites to this day.  I remember vividly the day they ran Breath Taker on the screen shavings of the Head of the Class ring. It was quite the emotional sell as an iconic piece of the Sanders Ranch herd was headed to her new home in Maryland at Anvil Acres. 

In 2002, Sanders Ranch purchased herd sire SS Goldmine from Nick Sloup. Upon arriving in Louisburg, Goldmine was re-pictured, semen collected, and within a few weeks of promotion had paid for himself. ABS leased Goldmine, and he continues to sell semen. He was featured on a print by CJ Brown for the American Jr. Simmental Association as one of the most influential bulls in the breed. Today he has found his final resting place at Sanders Ranch, and will always be a very important part of the history of Sanders Ranch and the Simmental breed. For more on the Goldmine tribute – read here.

Steve attributes the success of a sale based on two things: having GOOD cattle for that sale, and GOOD people to be in it with you. If you have ever been to the Head of the Class you will find that very true. The consignors at the Head of the Class, lead by Steve and Margaret Sanders are always opened armed welcoming you and inviting you to view the cattle, have a drink, and eat some great food. We all know that hospitality is one of Steve Sander’s finest qualities. He enjoys meeting people, having a good time, and eating well. The eating well is the help of his good friend Greg Toller who cooks the meat for the Friday night meal. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Head of the Class without mentioning the blow up slide and kids activities on hand for the family. It is truly a well rounded, family cattle event.  Steve’s goal is simple: satisfied customers because those become repeat customers purchasing a type of cattle they can make money with. This combined with the experience they have at the sale; how they are treated, and the atmosphere bring people back to Louisburg year after year.

Of course, Steve isn’t superman. He has a great team and support system around him. His fabulous, fashionable, sweetest wife Margaret (who I adore), his daughter Daydree and son-in-law chiropractor extradionare Brian, daughter (and soon to be author) Keylee, and the three KLD’s, his granddaughters Kodie, Karsen and Kanyen. Steve has a great family who share in it welcoming personality and generous hospitality.  We can’t leave out his long time manager Darrin Barbour, his wife Connie, and their two sons. 

When Steve isn’t chasing the ladies in his life around, he enjoys fishing and traveling. Steve and his family is a great family, and long time friends to our family. Steve and Margaret have opened their home up to us, attended our wedding, and I have even attended one of Steve’s birthday parties.

I’m sure that as we near St. Louis Steve is already waiting at the ranch to welcome each of you to the 15th annual Head of the Class Sale. I can already smell Greg’s meat cooking for Friday night. See you in Louisburg!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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KenCo Cattle Company

This week we aren’t headed too far home; just 3 hours south to the town of Auburn, Kentucky for the Family Matters Production sale hosted by KenCo Cattle Company. The cattle will start arriving today, Wednesday, and be available for viewing until the noon sharp sale on Saturday. It looks like all of the hurricane weather will be getting out of the area and it will be a warm, beautiful day for the sale. 

Ken Butner is one of the longest Simmental breeders in the state of Tennessee. Tennessee is a very rich state in long-standing successful Simmental operations. Ken and his partner Wallace Harris bought their first Simmental together in 1994 and formed H&B Simmental. It’s really interesting how Ken’s partnership with Wallace Harris has come full circle because Wallace’s grandson is Tyler Kreger of Tylertown Simmentals. Him and his wife Sloane are members of the Family Matters Sale. Long before Tyler was thought about, Ken and Wallace started the goal of having a sale. Of course, it took several years and planning to make this happen, but the Family Matters Sale was born. Ken credits the purchases of SAFN Glamour 11J from Sue Ann Fletcher Nichols as one of the best and herd changing decision he has made. If you are looking for a history lesson for some of you younger Simmental, breeders you can click the link to learn more about 11J, and her genetic history. A few years later Ken purchased SAFN Shes Glamorous 299L, a full sister to 11J. As you look through this year’s catalog you can still see the influence of these great Simmental cow families in the KenCo herd. In 2012, one of the most notable females to go through the ring was KenCo Steel Magnolia; who caught the attention of a lot of breeders. She was purchased by Silent Night Farms in Texas, and has been of their lead donors and has produced many sale features.

Of course with putting on a great production sale for many years takes a lot of hardwork, dedication, and planning. Randy Favorite, manager of KenCo Cattle Company has been with Ken since the days of the H&B Simmental partnership. Randy’s daughters Macey and Megan have shown a number of KenCo females to great success at shows across the country. When preparing for a sale, Ken says the hardest thing is deciding which ones to sell. You always want to offer your best to your customer, but its difficult to decide which to let go. It is worth it though sale day, as you are visiting with new and old customers who have made the drive or phone call to bid on your cattle.

Ken and his family live in Nashville, but their farm is located about an hour south. Ken built a house on the farm to escape the hustle of Nashville, and escape away to the farm. Ken has a son Kenny and a daughter Kelley, but his real prize is his 7 grandchildren; Alexandria, Amanda, Allison, Annalise, Christian, Daniel, and Lillian Rose.

Ken along with guest consignors Tyler and Sloane Kreger, and Steve and Kevin Sieg would like to invite you to the Family Matters Production Sale this weekend in Auburn, Kentucky. If you can’t be with us in the seats, the sale will be broadcasted online on DVAuction. There are videos of the offering which you can find on our website , along with the catalog.

 

 

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The chant heard round the world

There some of the most interesting people in the room. Their fast talking skills command your attention, and you better pay attention or you might miss your chance to bid. No matter what you are selling whether it be equipment, crafts, cakes, or cows the auctioneer is a vital part of the auction process.

This Friday night, the North Carolina Simmental Association will host their annual meeting and fundraising auction the night before the Fall Harvest Sale on Saturday. The North Carolina Simmental Association does a great job welcoming members both new and old, along with out of state consignors to join in on their meeting. It begins with a great meal (make sure you try the potatoes) and is followed by a short business meeting, and then the auction. This year we have a great treat for the auction. Dustin Rogers; NCSA member, Simmental breeder, and International Auctioneer champion will be joining us to serve as our auctioneer for the fundraising auction. Items are sold to benefit both the adult and junior associations. We are very excited to have Dustin join us on Friday night.

Allow me to introduce you to Dustin and discover what its like to be a International Auctioneer champion!

Tell us about yourself.
My name is Dustin Rogers.  I was born and raised in Mount Airy, NC or better known as Mayberry.  I grew up as the third generation in my family’s real estate and auction company.  In high school I wanted to be a large animal vet and concentrated all my effort between showing cattle and trying to spend time with a blue eyed beauty across town, who is now my wife!  Britni and I have two children, Kenedi Blaire (9) and Hudson (6).  Soon after graduating high school in 2004 I attended Mendenhall School of Auctioneering in High Point, NC.  From then on there was no question I wanted to be an auctioneer.  Today I work serve as the Lead Auctioneer for CAT Auction Services, Auctioneer for Ritchie Bros Auctioneers and do contract auctions of real estate, automobiles, livestock and fundraisers.  When I’m not traveling conducting auctions, I spend every minute I can with my family on Turner Mountain Plantation in the rolling foothills of Northwest North Carolina.
Tell us about your Simmental operation.
I have been in the Simmental business since 2001. I started with Simmentals when I was 15 years old.  I had been around cattle my whole life and raised a few Angus/Hereford steers with my grandfather as a kid.  When I entered high school I wanted to be more involved with cattle and start a herd of my own.  A family friend, Jeff Brinkley of MagMar Farms Simmental, invited me to his house to work and help halter break show calves.  I think they thought it would also break me of the desire to show cattle.  I loved it.  Jeff introduced my dad and I to Alan Belcher of Black Ridge Simmentals.  Soon after I owned my first two Simmental heifers, BRS Krystal K66 and BRS Kiwi K300.  Krystal was a bald faced calf sired by HC Power Drive 88H.  She and I became best friends.  After a successful local show career she became a productive brood cow for us and stayed on the farm until 2009.  Our operation went from 2 heifers in a barn that I built on my grandfathers farm in Spring of 2001 to purchasing 6 more females from the In The Black sale in Rockbridge Baths, VA.  There we met Doug Parke who helped us learn what to look for.  From 2001 to 2009 I raised Registered Simmental Cattle and sold locally and in the NC Fall Harvest Sale.  In 2009 I was traveling more and more for work and the cattle operation became a struggle.  I sold my entire herd.  It only took about a month of not getting to see cattle grazing to miss it bad.  Spring of 2010 I teamed up with a friend in the commercial cattle business and placed a group of bred heifers on our place.  I enjoyed it but missed my Simmentals.  I bought and sold some cattle for a short time but finally made our way back into the Simmental business in 2016 after Britni and I closed on our dream farm.  We had purchased a farm in 2012 with the intent to someday build, but God had other plans.  Today we own both farms and also lease a few surrounding farms.  We have worked with Extention, Soil & Water, NC Cattlemen’s, NC Forage and Grasslands Council and other producers to improve water quality, soil quality and establish the best grass we can for our cattle.  Our Simmental operation now consist of black and red Simmental and SimAngus females.  We are enrolled in THE and trying to retain all our heifers for the next few years to build our herd numbers and build a program.  We sell some freezer beef locally and see that as a market we will continue to expand.  Our kids are starting to show some interest in showing so hopefully our involvement in Simmental will only grow in the future.  Along with cattle we also raise Tennessee Walking Horses, Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Laying Hens and Grassfed Feeder pigs.
Where did you get your love for the auctioneer chant?
My grandfather got in the real estate business in 1964.  In the early 70’s he started an auction division to what is now Rogers Realty & Auction Company.  I grew up watching my father and his team conduct real estate, farm and estate auctions around Northwest NC and Southwest VA.  At least part of me wanted to be an auctioneer from the time I was a kid.  I remember going to the National Auctioneers Association’s Convention as a kid and watching the International Auctioneer Championship.  Hearing the chant of some of the best in the world planted seeds for my future long before I ever realized it.
What does a typical week look like for you as an auctioneer?
I have conducted auctions in seven countries and across the US.  Our schedules vary during the year so it’s not always the same wide open pace all the time.  During our busy season which is getting ready to ramp back up, a typical week would involve flying out on Monday, doing 2-4 sales during the week in different states and then flying home Thursday night or Friday morning.  I typically do 5-10+ fundraising events per year on Friday or Saturday nights and sometimes work auctions on Saturday mornings.
How did you get involved in competing as an auctioneer?
I started competing in auctioneer competitions in 2005 in the NC Rookie Contest.  You can enter that contest twice, in 2005 I got Reserve Champion and 2006 i was able to win Grand Champion Rookie. In 2007 I competed in the first ever International Junior Auctioneer Championship in San Diego, CA.  I finished 3rd in that contest which at the time was for 21 and under.  That contest really got me hooked on pursuing something bigger and not competing against other competitors but competing against the me I was yesterday.  In 2009 I competed in my first International Auctioneer Championship.  In 2010, I made the finals for the IAC.  In 2011 I won reserve champion and placed in the top 3 every year after 2011 until finally winning in 2017.
What does your contest involve? What is the exact title you won this year?
I am the reigning Men’s International Auctioneer Champion.  My friend Sara Rose Bytnar from Florida won the Women’s Division this year and will serve with me as Ambassador’s for the National Auctioneers Association (NAA).  The International Auctioneers Championship is hosted by the NAA at their annual Conference & Show, which travels around the country every July.  The contest is open to any auctioneer who is a member of the association, attends the conference and is at least 18 years old.  All contestants sell two items in the preliminary round.  Contestants find out their order and what they are selling in a roll call meeting at 7 AM the morning of the contest.  Each contestant is judged on their initial command, poise, stage presence before they sell their first item.  Each auctioneer is judged on clarity, speed (too fast or too slow), rhythm, effective auctioneering and salesmanship.  The Top 15 Men and Top 7 Women are taken to a sequester room before the interview round.  Finalist order is drawn and the first contestant is escorted to the stage.  The interview consists of three questions, the contestants do not know the questions ahead of time.  Two questions tend to be association or industry related and one tends to be a personal question or one that requires the contestant to think and dig deep to speak from the heart.  The Interview portion counts for 40% of the final score.  The IAC Champion is the Ambassador for the National Auctioneers Association traveling to state associations speaking, judging contests and more.  The interview portion allows the judges to see past the bid calling portion and identify a professional that could represent the industry well whether being asked questions by the media, a potential seller or buyer or another auction professional. Click here for article about Dustin’s title
What advice would you give to a young person who wants to become an auctioneer?
I have been able to work with several younger and beginning auctioneers on their chant and also on finding work.  First step to become an auctioneer is to attend an Auction School.  I attended Mendenhall School of Auctioneering here in North Carolina.  There are several excellent schools across the United States.  I’d be glad to discuss choosing an auction school with anyone whose considering taking that step.  Auction school, much like your formal education, gets you prepared for a licensing exam and helps you establish the basics of being an auctioneer.  It’s what you do with that knowledge that will help you become an auctioneer.  I have been a licensed auctioneer since 2004.  I still practice my chant almost every day.  Networking is also a critical key to being a successful auctioneer.  Join your state and National Auctioneers Association.  This will allow you opportunity to meet the best of the best.  Whether you want to sell cars, cattle, estates, real estate, equipment, benefits, etc you can meet the men and women who champion those fields at those association meetings.  Put your name out there and be willing to earn your spot.  I started by pushing boxes and loading vehicles at estate auctions when I was young.  I’ve been the bottom man on several totem poles in my career.  Make the most of every opportunity and treat every interaction like a job interview.  I stay pretty wide open, but always glad to talk with an aspiring auctioneer and do what I can to help them be successful.

 

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Grown with love

If you keep up with us on Facebook or Instagram, you might have noticed we have been doing a bit of traveling. The DP Sales Summer Tour 2017 left Kentucky and headed west over a week ago. 9 days later and nearly 2,800 miles later we pulled back into the driveway. DP usually does the summer solo, but this year he had some passengers along visiting breeders. Of course, Knox took home the popularity prize of the vehicle.

Here is what I love about traveling to people’s farms. When you pull into their driveway, you get to see what they love. Landscaping, machinery, playground equipment, peacocks, chickens, a cat or 10, kids, cows – its all there.

But let’s head to Auburn, Nebraska.

I am sure most of you know who John and Gwen McBee are that work for Bill Fulton at BF Black Simmentals. We have known them for many years, and I have known that they are avid gardeners . John is quite the cook, and I’m talking like awesome, outdoor, chuckwagon kind of cooking. Gwen brings the homemade jams, jellies, relish, and pickles to the table. Gwen and I share life through SnapChat, and I had recently been sharing with her my adventures in canning from our own garden. Hello, cucumbers who became pickles! So, on the Summer Tour I knew we had to make a stop at the McBee Ranch to check out their garden. Warning: pictures will not do it justice. 

If there was a HGTV show on gardening, John and Gwen would be the stars. It starts with a perfect little garden house complete with front porch and darling antiques. The building resembles a greenhouse and serves much the purpose. Gwen can bring her plants out when they are nearing planting, and let them enjoy the wonderful sunlight through the windows. The floor is natural so that helps it hold heat, and there is wood stove in case the temperature drops. Its dreamy with its large farmhouse table inside great for sorting vegetables or a Mother’s Day lunch. 

Step out on the porch and if you continue past the rocking chairs you are just a short walk to the garden oasis. You are welcomed by zinnias and marigolds, and then you can’t see over because of the HUGE tomato plants. Let me break this down for you: tomatoes; multiple varieties, eggplant, 3 varieties of potatoes, 2 varieties of beans, 2 varieties of squash, zucchini, cucumbers, horseradish, asparagus, garlic, beets, onions, leeks, okra, strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries, and an impressive 10 different types of peppers. I’m sure I missed a vegetable, and did I mention they start almost all their seeds. All of which is planted neatly in a compact space. We’re not talking a huge garden, but every inch of space is used perfectly. Hello garden envy.

After the harvest is gathered and sorted in the garden dream house, it moves to the outdoor, garage kitchen that Gwen sets up shop in to can. Now I’ve only adventured slightly into canning, and it is hard, tedious work. Gwen had already canned over 100 jars when we were there, and by her SnapChats I know that she has been living and breathing canning since we left. Of course, she doesn’t just can things they grow in their garden, but also peaches and apples that they get as well. I’m pretty sure she could kick Martha Stewart’s butt. 

Their garden brings a sense of community to their property. Friends stop to pick up vegetables on their way home from work, and are able to enjoy a cold one on the painted benches or those wonderful rockers. I loved hearing both of them talk about the process of their garden, the labor of love the soil has been since they moved to Auburn, the wonderful varieties of fruits and vegetables, and of course, their favorites. We see people at cattle events and shows, but if you want to really know someone it takes going to their home and seeing what they are passionate about other than cows. It was evident as we spent a few hours at their home picking cherry tomatoes off the vine that this was most certainly grown with love.

Though I am sure I will never be the gardener and preserver than John and Gwen are, I did walk away with a bigger appreciation for how we can utilize the garden space at our house, and the need for an electric water bath… and a dreamy garden house.

 

Enjoy some of the photos of their wonderful garden paradise.

 

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Service with Style

Earlier this summer, a great member of the American Simmental Association retired after years of service to our breed and association. As a young junior member and then an AJSA Trustee Paulette Cochenour took the reins of organizing the junior program, our activities, and meetings of the Junior Board always dressed impeccable and classy. 

Paulette and I had a great relationship and friendship during my time on the junior board. We shared a love of good eyeliner and lots of laughs. Aleesa Hege Dickerson, Michelle Colgan Hall, and I shared a lot of laughs during our time on the junior board. I am very grateful for her service to our association and the past junior boards. Though I was sad to see her retirement from the ASA come, I know she is ready to be able to spend lots of time with those precious grandkids and all the activities she is involved in. As Paulette’s time at the ASA came to a close, Paulette took to social media to announce her retirement, and it was great to see all the ASA members, past AJSA members, and others congratulate her and share memories. P, you are definitely one of a kind!

When did you start with the ASA and in what capacity?

I was officially hired in May 1991. Brian Kitchen hired me for the specific purpose to organize and raise funds to host the World Simmental Federation Congress in October 1992. Brian told me that I would have a job for at least 18 months, but after that, there were no guarantees. That worked just right for me; and then, of course, you see that I was still hanging around in 2017.

Over the years what roles with the ASA have you fulfilled?

After the World Congress was all buttoned up, I was assigned to work with the youth program, international marketing through US Livestock Genetics, ASA Board, and ASA Publication, Inc. I have been lucky in my professional life to always be engaged in interesting work situations.

What’s the biggest change(s) you have seen in the breed and/or Association you have seen?

Breed acceptance and financial security are the most prominent. Having neither a livestock nor agriculture background, I quickly learned that not everyone was as excited as I was to be involved in this national association. ASA was besieged by lawsuits from members and our reputation in the commercial beef industry was at its lowest; however, for me, I thought I had the best job in Bozeman. Because of the variety of job responsibilities, each day was different ~ I had freedom to work and be creative in each of my areas.

What is your most memorable moment, event, from your time with the ASA?

I think it’s safe to say, that the 1992 World Congress during The State Fair of Texas in Dallas, is the largest, most comprehensive and challenging project I have every been involved with during my work lifetime. You have to remember, this was before cell phones, and easy communication, plus there was no online registration (everything came directly to the ASA office) ~ eight ASA staff members spent 10 days in Dallas managing 10 buses; nearly 900 attendees representing 28 countries. All the meetings were simultaneously interpreted so that attendees could listen in their own language. The registrants visited area ranches, attended cattle shows, social events ~ it was huge.

What do you believe is the biggest strength of the breed and/or association?

The members, the programs, the staff ~ all work together to make ASA the progressive leader in this industry. My experience with members has always been productive. I find ASA members to progressive, forward thinking and willing to embrace new ideas to make their cattle better.  Although, ASA isn’t the biggest in cattle registrations, I’m confident that we have the most progressive and innovate programs and have a more educated view of the bigger picture. ASA has a dedicated staff ~ I feel like the programs and the status in the industry will continue to be strong.

What are your plans now that you’re retired?

This summer has been crazy busy with my family ~ keeping up with them requires a shuttle service ~ from horse riding camps, golf, tennis, children’s theatre, basketball and swimming, there’s hardly any time to work; however, lunch with the nice glass of wine with my friends is always in order. I do a good bit of hiking and golf, though and after school starts, I will get in more of that, too.

What have you enjoyed most about your time with the ASA?

Without question, the best part of working at ASA has been the people.  To qualify that a bit, I’m talking the people who I met as little kids. I love seeing how happy they are as adults, their success in their careers, their darling children, and knowing that we will always be friends. I love Facebook, just for that!! My parents instilled in me that if you were respectful and nice to little kids and old people, you would always have friends. Now that I’m that old person, I find it to be true.

 

 

 

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