Archive for December 2012

Family and Food

December 24, 2012

The best part about Christmas is not the presents, but the time spent with family. Oh, and let’s not forget about all the wonderful food we stuff ourselves with! Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas from Indiana!


A Wicked Wonderland

December 20, 2012

A Wicked Wonderland

I snapped this picture as I was driving down a scenic Kansas backroad. Dreams of a White Christmas have come true for many in North Central Kansas after the first snow of Winter 2012-2013. This was also my first experience with snow in Kansas. There may not be a lot on the ground, but man was the wind wicked!

A weekend in paradise

December 10, 2012


I snapped this pic this weekend while helping Josh Laflin clip sale heifers. As I stood back taking a look at our newly created art, I came to a realization. I have formed a passion for cattle that I cannot get away from. My weekends are always based around cattle. The best part, great people come in the package too. Whether it be working at a farm or enjoying a show, I am surrounded by a family like environment called the Cattle Industry. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to spend my weekends any other way.

The trials of an Ag kid…

December 8, 2012

It’s not news to anyone that everyone has their share of quirks, and it wasn’t until recently that I realized one of my biggest ones! As members of a collegiate livestock judging team we spend a fair amount of our time looking at livestock. With each class set up in a way that its hard not to compare-although as Chris always says, individual evaluation is key!- but even with Chris’ advice in mind we don’t always listen and this is where our quirks begin!

Trial # 1

The search for the PERFECT animal

With the majority of us growing up in, or around the show industry and with a large majority of contests made up of show animals it’s hard not to  get swept up in the notion that a perfect animal does exist. Yet, it’s this idea that while most of the time harmless, can get us into trouble. Whether it means we over analyze every heifer we come across on the most current online sale, or we rail on the 4th place animal in the reasons room. Our search for perfection leaves us over critical and instead of seeing a good animal, instead we see how far they are from our checklist for perfection!

Trial # 2

The compulsive need to correct people on the proper sex title of an animal

Whenever you hear people talking about livestock its real easy to get excited and want to be a part of their conversation, but there’s no faster way to get their input than to say something about those “cows” over there, when in fact they happen to be bulls! It’s a personal pet peeve of my own when people who actually know the distinction still choose to refer to all cattle as cows! It makes no sense to me! Never have I ever come across people who feel the need to call every hog they see a sow, or every sheep a ewe, or every horse a mare! C’mon people it’s not that difficult! If you don’t know just simply refer to them as cattle, then no matter what you’ll be correct! Although I know this gets on the nerves of a lot of Ag people my quirk goes a little to far. I’ve found my self in situations where I’m even correcting little kids! I realize it’s silly, and ridiculous, but every time I tell myself not to my mouth opens without my permission and out come the words! The biggest problem with this is mothers tend to glare when a stranger corrects their child!

Trial # 3

The belief that drawings should be a reflection of a true show animal

This happens to be a new-found quirk of mine and I’m not sure why, but as of lately it drives me nuts when I see a drawing of a steer I now care about his structure, his length of body, and how much muscularity can be seen in the drawing! Case in point Allie, Bracy and I  just ordered an ice cream cake for Jackie’s birthday and of course we asked for the drawing to include a show heifer!  The lady miss understood and informed us she would have no problem depicting a cow, we let the mix up go and hoped for the best! Instead we got this…

18704_559946757353881_199918814_n We were less than impressed with her topline, how high her tail head was, and her thick unfeminine neck among other things! To remedy the situation Bracy took a candle to her to make her into a much more presentable female (:


The finished product!

All in all it’s pretty harmless and it’s really not all that hard to be an Ag kid, but next time I correct someone for calling a steer a cow they might understand why (:

What’s your flavor?

December 7, 2012

I believe people are like coffee, just like each flavor has its own unique taste and aroma, each person no matter how similar they may seem is unique in their own way. Personally, I like to switch flavors, one day it may be a skinny caramel macchiato, another a dark Columbian roast, the next a smooth white chocolate mocha! I can always turn to coffee in almost any situation, yet as I quickly found out on my arrival, not everyone is so quick to relate.

When I first arrived in the small town of El Dorado I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the teammates I had yet to meet. I knew very little about them other than the fact that we were all coming from Ag backgrounds and just like when people tell me coffee is coffee, I was having none of the usual “an Ag kid is an Ag kid” talk! And boy was I right! I proceeded to meet my 26 very different teammates who clearly showcase the definition of diversity within the world of Ag. My teammates and I span across 15 different states most of which I’ve never even visited.

Growing up in Washington state I had very little to do with agriculture by choice, my family has always been involved in the world of Ag, however as a youngster I wanted little to do with any of it! I would have much rather have been doing a number of things I still find embarrassing to admit to this day, yet as I got older I began to appreciate my background a lot more. In high school I became an active member in the Medical Lake FFA chapter competing in just about every contest my chapter had to offer, stopping of course at Meats Judging! You may be wondering how Riley Shines, of Medical Lake, WA ended up out west! Honestly sometimes I have to ask myself the same question, although I really enjoyed Livestock Judging I didn’t start seeing results of my hard work until my junior year and once I did I realized I wanted to continue. Now while I will probably never be able to pin point why or how exactly I made my decision, I do know I’m glad I did!

I’ve had a blast since I’ve gotten here and have learned and am continuing to learn a bunch from my teammates and believe it or not have actually been able to teach them a thing or two, well sort of! Apparently being from Washington I don’t have a funny accent! However, this lesson came with a price, I found it’s not polite to ask your new teammates “if you sound as funny to them as they do to you”. I also discovered you can’t turn left on red lights in Kansas, that Maryland is NOT in the far north-east corner of the country, and that for my teammates BEEF is usually whats for dinner (:

The differences between my teammates and I are quite obvious, yet, the similarities are there as well. We may come from different places, but judging still remains within our hearts. I’ve only been in Kansas a few months and already the state, and my team have found a place in my heart that can never be forgotten and while I shall never be the same, I’m also certain that I will always be the coffee ecstatic, slightly eccentric Washingtonian who first arrived in El Dorado.

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