Goin' showin' is about more than just taking livestock to walk around a show ring. Much more.
It had been 5 years since I made the trek to the Missouri Dexter Breeders Show out in Marshfield, MO. However, this year I was bound and determined to get animals there. Many many hours of show prep and an 11.5 hour truck ride later and we were there.
The Dexter show-scape has changed a little bit since I last decided to show. Dexters used to be more of a no fit breed. Bathe them and that was really about it. You would have been hard pressed to see any grooming chutes or cattle blowers 5 years ago. Not saying I didn't have that equipment at home, but we just didn't take it anywhere. Now though, to really look good in the show ring we have moved to more of a fitted breed. No adhesives or coloring agents allowed but nearly all the cattle I saw this past weekend were clipped and blown out. Way more work and effort has to go into showing these guys nowadays. Thankfully I was prepared ahead of time.
How we prepare for show though, isn't the main idea behind this post. It's the mentality of the people you meet there. They will just about give you the shirt off their back to help you with even the most trivial task. The Dexter community will welcome just about anyone with open arms to help them be successful. I had mentioned that I hadn't been to this show in 5 years, but that didn't stop anyone from welcoming us with hugs and handshakes. Checking in on our families and genuinely caring about how life is going. It's just a nice feeling and I am sure I am not the only one to feel that way. Dexters are not a cut throat, every man for himself, kind of breed and I think that is what makes it truly special.
Fellowship with your fellow breeders is what really makes the show a success. Putting faces to herd names. We've been in the Dexter circle for just over 30 years so we have met quite a few people over the years from around the country, but there are many newer breeders we have yet to meet. It always nice to get out to do just that. When we go show we bring along our banner, stall cards, and the usual goods. We apparently surprise people when we say we're from Michigan because it's such a hike to that show but in reality that's ok! It shows people that there are Dexters of different types, colors, and genetics all around the country.
We also try and take opportunities like shows to diversify our herd some. In May, if you recall, I bought a heifer from Chaney's Dexters in Tennessee. Well this time, I picked up a heifer at the sale that was held in conjunction with this show. Dalsing's Legacy made her way to Michigan from Iowa to join the herd.
However, a heifer wasn't the only new one to catch a ride home. We had arranged prior to pick up a young bull at this show as well. Norman, Mary, and Makenna Hoover were gracious enough to sell us HC GF Glenn Finn, a black carries red, dehorned yearling bull to replace Morning Star Houdini. We are excited to have these new animals! Legacy will be bred to Finn for a late summer/early fall calf next year.
While I was excited to do well in the show, I was more excited to see the people. The Dexter Cattle community is a strong one. Let's keep it that way.