Monday, February 14, 2011

Life of an Ag Teacher- San Antonio Edition
by Jayson Hill
Thursday, February 3rd
I arrived at the San Antonio show at 10:30am on Thursday because we had a student showing a turkey hen.  We had to check the hen in today. This was going to be the last time that this student would be showing turkeys at San Antonio because he graduates this year. Many turkey raisers are excited because he has done extremely well over the last 5 years. He has “scholarshiped out” at San Antonio by winning Reserve Grand Champion Turkey Tom and Turkey Hen on more than one occasion and finally last year he won Grand Champion Turkey Tom, giving him the maximum amount of scholarship money available to an exhibitor. It was very cold and windy today.
Friday, February 4th
I stayed with my grandparents on the west side of San Antonio Thursday night. The roads iced over and shut down the city’s highways. San Antonio delayed the shows by 2 hours so I was able to wait until the ice thawed a little before heading to the fairgrounds. A drive that normally takes 30 minutes took me an hour.  We ended up 7th place turkey hen out of 208 birds. Not exactly where we wanted to be, but we will take it. We had two students showing cattle at the open show, so my wife hauled all 8 their Simbrah to San Antonio braving the iced roads. She left Wallis around 12:30pm and arrived in San Antonio safely around 3pm. After the turkey show I helped unload and set up the stalls for the open show.
Saturday, February 5th
Today was a day to finish getting setup and allow the cattle to rest.  I got to visit with many Simbrah people and meet some new ones.
Sunday, February 6th
Once again we got to rest. We noticed that a heifer and a bull of ours developed a cough. We put them in the tie outs for some fresh air, hoping that would help.
Monday, February 7th
Today is show day! Today is always fun but also stressful.  I arrived at the barn around 5:30am to find out that some of our students and their families had been at the barn since 3:15am. We got everything washed, dried, and began feeding. We were showing everything from a 6 month old heifer to a 16 month old bull. We had 3 calves in class 1 with one of them placing 3rd in the class. Our next calf was in class 9 and placed 3rd in her class. We then had a heifer place 6th and another place 2nd in her class. The bull placed 4th in his class. All in all, I count it as a successful day. We did not bring home any banners, but we had fun, the kids got experience in the show ring, and hopefully they learned something along the way. We tore down the stalls and I got to leave for the house around 3:30pm. I had to take 4 head back to Wallis and pick up two more. I arrived in Wallis around 7 pm. I picked up two Shorthorn calves around 9pm and headed back for San Antonio to wait in line at Gembler Road. I arrived in line around 1:30am. Today was a very long day!
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
Due to the lack of sleep the day before, the sleep I got in the truck overnight at Gembler Road was actually really good. It is amazing where you can sleep and in what various positions you can sleep in if you are tired enough. We left Gembler Road at 1pm or so and got everything unloaded. We got the stalls set up and settled in for the 3 day junior show. We checked in for the Superbowl show and Junior Show. I had 3 students showing heifers and they each brought 2 head. 4 of those 6 heifers are Simbrah. All four were entered into the Superbowl. Thank you to all of the 30 plus sponsors of the Superbowl for putting on another great event for our students. Cody Witzkoski, one of my students, was sick today. I’m hoping he gets better for the shows on Wednesday and Thursday, as well as the Beef Skill-a-thon on Wednesday. One of my students left the barn early without cleaning up stalls or putting out hay for their calves. I guess we will have to have a meeting with the parent and the student tomorrow about taking care of your cattle as well as the importance of working together as a team on cleaning stalls and tie outs. I have a feeling that the parent is enabling the behavior of the student. I guess tomorrow I will get to find out what the deal is. Not really looking forward to the conversation but it needs to happen.
Wednesday, February 9th
Today was interesting. I caught the parent of the student that I needed to talk to. The conversation was not pleasant but there were some things that needed to be said. As a teacher I take my job seriously. I am very competitive and like any normal person, I like to win. I love livestock shows, Leadership Contests, and judging contests, but I do not get paid any more money to put up with DRAMA. That is the Drama Teachers area of expertise. I conveyed to that parent that if the drama was going to continue then I would not be hauling heifers to the Houston or Austin shows and that everyone would be doing it on their own. I also told the parent that we would not be hauling cattle to shows next year if the drama did not stop. Time will tell. I stayed away from our stall as much as possible today and watched the whole Simbrah- Simmental Superbowl marathon from the bleachers. I did not help much with the cattle today. With all of the drama at my stalls I stayed away to avoid confrontation. Cody Witzkoski made me proud today. He was very sick on Tuesday and then came into the show ring on Wednesday morning and placed 3rd for the second year in a row in a very tough 17-18 year old showmanship division. He then came back with his Smith Bella Bella x Sargeant daughter and placed 2nd in class and then placed 5th in his class with a Nu Approach daughter. He also participated in the brand new Beef Skill-a-thon today. Even though this event is in its infancy, I believe that it will only get tougher as time goes on. I have heard rumor that there might be a scholarship given to the winner next year. This contest should be won by a Simbrah or Simmental kid as it seems to be a combination of Cattleman’s Quiz and Skill-a-thon at the TJSSA Futurity Show and Simbrah Roundup. Lauren Grigar placed 10th in her class with her Nueman Farms heifer, and 10th in her class with her Reavis Farms heifer. She also won one of the 35 $250 scholarships. I was proud of both of my students that competed in the Superbowl today. I would like to thank all of the 30 plus sponsors for putting in the time and money to make the Superbowl possible. I have seen what Simbrah cattle can do positively for a student. You are changing lives without even being aware of it. THANK YOU!!!! I encourage all the Superbowl participants to write a thank you letter to their sponsor to let them know how you did and to thank them for the opportunity.
Thursday, February 10th
Today started early. I arrived at the barns at 7am, to find my students were already there and proceeding with our normal show day routine. I was glad to see that.  We had one of the 43 calves in Class 1 of the Simbrah Show. Unfortunately we did not make the cut and were excused from the ring. I figured that was going to happen so I was not shocked. Our next Simbrah calf was in Class 9 and we placed 4th. Our next two Simbrah’s were both in class 13 and one was 11th and the other was 19th in a class of 23. Neither one of these were big shockers to me either. I was glad to hear that Simbrah was the largest breed at the San Antonio Jr. Heifer Show. Finally, everyone else is figuring out what a select few of us already knew… Simbrah cattle are great and the Junior Programs are even better!!! With the larger numbers and the stakes getting higher, I hope that the breeders as well as the exhibitors remain honest and ethical in the breeding and raising of Simbrah Cattle. Do our breed a favor is you are unwilling to remain honest and ethical, GET OUT! Now that I am home, it is time to finish our Ag Mechanics projects and get our Commercial Steer Exhibitor ready for contests next week.