Monday was Presidents’ Day, happy Presidents’ Day. We did normal ranch work and got ready for the upcoming week of going to Fort Worth for the AQHA Convection. We checked mares to see if anyone would foal while we were gone. Got heavy cows in, put out hay. Because this was a bonus day off for me and the kids, we really tried to get a bunch done. Kade rode his horse Stormy again, the kids caught their steers, I took lots of calf pictures. It was cousin Jay’s birthday so we had to harass him a little about getting old. He is one of the younger cousins.
Tuesday I drove to Reno with John from work to go to the Family Farm Alliance conference. I had a great time while we were there. We went to a lot of great conferences. The roads were good on the way. We went to a Western Store a few miles from the Silver Legacy Casino, D Barn M on 4th st. They sold me some shirts on the cheap to wear to the AQHA Convention, including one for Dad. They were great at that store so if you are in that area, you should check it out.
Back at home the kids went to school. Jaxsen wasn’t too happy. The other kids probably weren’t either but they are less vocal about it. Toni was back to checking the cows. She had some client meetings so had to go warp speed through checking. Everyone came home after school and normal chores got done. We have tried to really pair down chores as 2 people will be house sitting and doing the chores that 6 people do normally. So all foals that could be turned out are turned out. Water troughs are as full as they can get. Anything we could get done ahead of time was done.
Wednesday the stress of all of us leaving for the first time in approximately 18 years was getting high, but everyone was doing ok. Mom was still worried about her dog, but she knew Marlo would take good care of him. Everything was normal for a Wed. No new calves. We have really slowed down on calving and are at the tail end. All of the calves are getting big and look really good. Due to the constant weather fluctuations, we are still on watch for any pneumonia. Oreo, my belted Galloway cross still hasn’t calved and has been in the heavy pen for awhile. I was hoping if I was gone to Reno she would calve immediately after I left, but she didn’t. She is still just fat and happy in the heavy pen.
Thursday everyone started doing their last-minute packing. Re-check of all livestock. There were a couple of heavy mares, but nothing that was imminent. Hay got put out for the cows to last them a couple of days, with other bales loaded on the trailer for feeding if they started pushing the fence. All horses were checked again. Everyone and everything was in good shape for the trip
Friday everyone tried to fly to Forth Worth for the AQHA Convention, and we had Marlo and McCall house sitting and doing chores. It is a real production to get everything arranged for travel for everyone. I flew from Reno to Fort Worth and was supposed to meet everyone down there. However, things did not go as planned. It was snowing in Reno, but I flew out and got down there on time. There was NO SNOW in Pasco, but they DID NOT leave and were at the airport all day. 10 people traveling in one big group- so Toni, Kicker, Kade, Jaxsen, Ben, Anna, Kaine, Camas, Mom and Dad. Everything was looking great then they announce that a battery is dead in the plane, so we had to wait for a new battery. Then they announced they were driving it up from Portland. After a couple of departure time changes, scrambling to get hotels in Minneapolis for an all-night layover, it was announced after 12 hours in the airport that the flight was canceled. More scrambling to get hotels canceled and go over options. There were only 4 seats available on Saturday from Salt Lake to Ft. Worth that would get 4 people in to Ft. Worth at 11 pm. We had no way to get all 10 people to Ft. Worth. It just wasn’t possible without way too many connections and hours in airports. It was very frustrating. I was feeling pretty down, we all were. And I walked into the hotel in Fort Worth and our good Friends Cameron and LeAnnne were sitting at the bar. So I went to dinner with them.
Saturday, with only the 4 tickets available, Toni, Ben and Kicker came down. LeAnne and I went to the Stockyards and hung out. We had a great time. We went to a social at the AQHA Convention, then out to dinner with Ward from AQHA and Ethan Lane, the lobbyist for NCBA. After all of that we went to Pete’s Dualling Piano Bar a few blocks from our hotel, it was awesome. The three got down there around 11 pm and rallied and met us there. We shut the bar down and had a great time. It was great to have Cameron and LeAnne there, they really made my part of the trip great.
Sunday all 6 of us went to the Stockyard. We watched a cattle drive, gun fight, and bought LOTS of stuff for everyone that did not make it so they had a piece of Fort Worth. We went back to get ready for the breeder awards banquet. We all had a great time, Toni gave an outstanding speech and we missed mom, dad and the kids terribly since they did not make it.
To be the 2022 Heritage Breeder of the Year for AQHA and be part of such an outstanding group of breeders is an honor that cannot be replicated. It makes all of the ups and downs of livestock ownership feel validated. To be recognized for our program and the emphasis we put into raising AQHA horses in our ranching operation was really a pinnacle that will be hard to top. We also got to meet Cassy Anderson from the AQHA and have her at our table for the dinner. Cassy has been our lifeline at AQHA for about 15 years now, getting us through all of the questions, concerns, and frustrations with AQHA through the years. This is the first time we have met her face-to-face. We also got to meet Lisa Gardner our AQHA director from WA and have her be part of the dinner. We got to meet so many truly great people and have the experience of a lifetime. Now we get to fight over who gets to wear the buckle that we received.