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Butler’s List

August 29, 2013

With the livestock judging team getting back into the swing of things there have been many thoughts to cross my mind, but the most frequent thought to pop into my mind has been how lucky myself and my teammates are to be here! Heading into the fall judging season and getting back into the swing of practice every team thinks they ‘ought’ to have that one thing on their mind; winning. And while I believe that it’s up there at the top of the list, I don’t think we should be so quick to jump to forget the rest our list.

2. TEAMMATES

As a team full of different individuals and personalities from every corner of the country it’s easy to forget our similarities and what it means to be a team, but what I love most about MY team is that despite our differences we always put them aside in order to help out and be there for our teammates. The bonds we’re forming in my book are ones that can’t be replicated just anywhere. Despite the fact that we badger each other and pick at each others nerves, often on purpose; we know that at the end of every day we have a team full of friends there to catch us when we fall.

3. EDUCATION

Our team has the good fortune to not only be afforded money to pursue our educations but here at Butler we’re lucky enough to be able to have people around us who truly wish to see us succeed in all facets of our lives.

4. EXPERIENCE

They say that the best education you can give a student is to let them experience it first hand and here we are; given countless opportunities to experience life at its fullest in many different parts of the country. Being a part of the livestock judging team, for many of us, livestock are our passion and we have been awarded opportunity one after another to experience many a show, fair, and workout that not every program nationwide can say the same about. Personally I’ve seen more parts of the country in the past year than I had really thought about in the last 5 years of my geographically lacking life. This experience not only opens doors for us, but our eyes to lessons we hadn’t even stumbled upon yet.

5. COACHES

Despite others’ outlook from the outside we’ve had and have the great fortune to have at our disposable the minds and support of 4 great men who all care about the integrity of our program. As our sophomores said goodbye to Chris  and Brad we have been handed Marcus and Coop. I find myself lucky to know I have so much support and look forward to the year with our coaches knowing that not only will they prepare us for contest day, but skills we will take forward to the rest of our lives. And just like Chris and Brad we will leave here with support that far surpasses the length of contest season.

And here we are full circle, back to the one thing on every teams mind.

1. WINNING

At the end of the day we hope that our teams’ skills and natural talent paired with our stellar preparation from our coaches adds up to a point leading victory, however I think one thing that sets Butler apart is that our team: as long as we remember all of the components of our list; will always walk away winners. So that years from now as our glories fade and our plaques gather dust we’ll still hold true that after each time we were the true winners, the team who left with it all.

Throw Back Thursday!

June 13, 2013

If you’ve gotten into any of the social media sites, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any of the other countless sites out there; you are probably familiar with the common acronym T.B.T or Throw Back Thursday. Today, while scrolling through everyone’s old photos I came across a not so old photo of mine and it got me thinking of where I’ve been, where I am, and where I am headed.

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2013 NACTA Sweepstakes Winners

This picture from back in April represents a lot for me. Present is most of the 2012-2013 Livestock Judging Team, 26 amazing individuals I grew to love and respect; our coach, Chris Mullinix; a man who has given me skills to take forward as I move on and whose given us all the chance of a lifetime, Elissa Mullinix, Chris’ wife, who started as just my  teacher, but as for most of us so far away became like a mom; and Marcus Arnold although our first contest with Marcus it gave us a glimpse of the year to come! Although the year came with some challenges, the long distance spread between Washington and Kansas, the realities of meeting a team full of new people on top of beginning new classes, living with roommates rather than family, and the ever so fun Chemistry classes; it was everything I gained and learned from these challenges that made the year absolutely perfect. I’m still not sure I’m ready to say goodbye to all the fun times and the people we will surely miss. Yet, as we say goodbye to a year spent with the Sophomores, we ourselves will take their place and soon we shall meet a handful of new judgers eager to join our family. Even harder it seems is saying not a “farewell”, but merely a “see you later,” to Chris and Elissa our Kansas parents. Chris who has coached at Butler for 16 years gets to start a new adventure at K-State where just like here, where we won’t forget him, neither shall he forget about us. He’ll still be there when we need him, just a phone call away. And with our “farewells” come our “hellos” we’re as excited as ever to start the year off right with our new coaches in tow and stenos in hand, we hope for a great year and to fill the shoes of those who did it before us. We’re grateful for the memories we have and the ones yet to come!

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2013 Sophomore Judging Team

Instagram AGvocate

April 23, 2013

Like many people I use various types of social media including Facebook and Instagram.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Instagram, it is a way to connect with people all around the world who also have Instagram accounts by the use of posting pictures and art that people can comment on.   Yesterday, I had an interesting conversation with a girl from back home in Virginia who is a member of my 4-H club. She too has an Instagram account with over 1600 followers and she posts multiple pictures a day. She shows her own sheep and dairy goats and owns a variety of other animals. She uses her Instagram account to be an advocate for agriculture and I think that it is great; however we have different views on many hot topics in agriculture such as GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and the use of implants in beef.

Yesterday, I decided that after days of seeing pictures about her personal opinions and what I saw to be misconceptions about agriculture, I would stand up for what I believe in and try to be an AGvocate.  She posted a picture of a steer that was standing between two trees and left a comment with the picture talking about how her family had gotten a few steers and said “Apparently they are of show quality. Oh if only my county 4-H didn’t allow steroids & hormones in the cattle, I would show them.” One of her followers commented afterwards, asking why farmers use steroids and hormones in cattle so she replied by saying “It’s to make them grow larger, faster and at times have more marbling (the white bits in a steak) it’s really not good and I think that if people get disqualified in the Olympics for them then people at 4-H shows should as well. We don’t use any hormones or steroids on our animals and that’s why I won’t show them.”

Here is the picture:

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After her comment I decided I needed to try to set the situation straight so I left a comment stating “Cattle that have been implanted that are used for meat consumption offer far less hormones when compared to many other types of food such as cabbage where estrogen is thousands of times more ppm than a regular serving of beef. I challenge you to do more research about this subject. Eating beef that hasn’t been implanted is a choice and I respect that but in order to meet the growing needs of the world’s population while doing it in the most efficient way, we will have to involve the use of implants, as well as many other technologies.”

There were over 25 comments to follow my comment all continuing to get deeper into the subject and by the end of the day, while I knew I had probably not changed the mind of the girl from back home, I was proud of myself. Not only did I, by the end of the conversation, have three other people from accross the country who agreed with my comments, back up my argument; but I had been able to exchange information in a polite manner and felt I was able to get my point across. This was an advocating experience like no other for me as it was with someone on a one on one basis. It was not in a classroom, it was not on an airplane, but it was on Instagram: a social networking site for mobile phone users that over 1600 of her followers could read. I was glad that I finally stepped up to the plate and gave the true facts about the situation and I deeply encourage everyone else out there who might be self-conscious or nervous to do the same thing because at the end of the day it is an extremely rewarding feeling!

Share the Love, Even If Only For a Day!

April 11, 2013

April 10, aka yesterday. Anyone know what makes this day so stinking special?…. If you don’t, shame on you (especially if you have siblings!!) but no worries, that is why I am here. April 10 is known nationally as National Siblings Day. That’s right. For all of you that had no idea you had a day where you were nationally recognized, guess what?!? You have to wait a whole 364 more days to have it again. Those of us who are lucky enough (some days are questionable!) to have siblings would not be the same person we are today without ’em. Think about it…wether you want to admit it or not, there is SOMETHING that you can tell your sibling(s) thank you for.

As I was avoiding studying for a test by scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed yesterday, I began to notice how many people were recognizing their siblings and posting pictures of them together! Of course I joined in on the fun as well. Here is the picture I posted…

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The caption: “Happy National Siblings Day! Y’all are the best… Well most of the time anyway!”

While it may seem silly that it takes a “special day” to show siblings love, it really got me to thinking… “Hmmmm… I wonder where I would be today if Flinton, Ethan, and Hannah weren’t there with me..?” While there is no possible way to answer this question, I think back to the time, especially the summers that we have spent together and how even on the days when we didn’t always see eye to eye, we still were able to accomplish tasks around the farm. Want to see a little “day in the life of…?” Of course you do. The American Angus Association, I am Angus did a story on our family! That’s right, we were on TV! Check it out for yourself: McCabe I am Angus

With there being four of us with about a 10 year age range, we each have different areas where we succeed and areas where as much as I don’t want to say this, Hannah might be better than the rest of us. (Just kidding, we love Hannah. But seriously…) Growing up on a family farm makes everyone pull together just a little more especially through the hard times and cold winters. While my dad taught us almost everything we learned growing up (from castrating and feeding pigs to assisting heifers calving and everything in-between) each one of us found the areas that we liked the most. It just so happens to be that it was a little different for each of us.

Flinton has started to become the brains behind McCabe Genetics (feel free to check our website out!). Of course dad is still the man in charge and tells Flinton when his ideas could be better. While Flinton is gone for a couple weeks at a time visiting customers someone has to be at home to help my dad! This is where the cool brother comes in… But first a couple of pictures of Flinton “in action.”

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Looks like a pretty tough job, don’t ya think??? Don’t worry. I have a couple pictures to save the lad. He really does occasionally work believe it or not.

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Now back to the cool brother, Ethan. Ethan is more behind the scenes when it comes to daily work. He can do anything if you ask him nice enough. This includes changing brake pads when he pretends he sometimes can’t even air a tire at home. Bless his heart. He loves to travel with a couple families and go to cattle shows to help them “fit” their cattle. Don’t know what that means, check this out!: Fitting Show Cattle. Want to see him in action? (I couldn’t find any pictures of him sitting around by the way!)

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Except for one time, but I have to give him credit. He did some creative thinking to be able to operate the hydraulic chute without ever having to move.

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Like I said, bless his heart.

My sister Hannah is the shortest sibling we have. Even though she pretends to be helpless from time to time (but come on, who doesn’t right?) but she is the hardest working girl I know. She does things that no one ever thinks about doing around the farm but need to be done to make everything run properly. On sale day at our farm, she operates the computer system that tells who bought which lot. She is the best sister anyone could ask for!

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It takes every person in a family to make what they do a success and ours is not any different. Even though sometimes the road gets a little rocky and you may not always like your siblings, I bet your parents have the same thoughts as my dad. He has said time and time again, “I am the happiest when all my kids are getting along.” Dad doesn’t always have the same image of his kids getting along as we do. Not sure what I mean? Check out these two links. Don’t have time? Seriously, take a peak at them! They will make your day so much better with a laugh!!

Flinton and Hannah (Do keep in mind, she was willing to let him do this and laughing!!)

Ethan and Flinton

Here is a couple of pictures to show my families National Siblings Day love!

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Even Ethan gets scared sometimes! Good thing Hannah is there to keep him safe.

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God’s gift

March 7, 2013

It’s been a while since I have been on here so I thought I would blog before I went home. Tomorrow I am flying home, to lay to rest one of the greatest guys I know. Justin (Skinny) Hinen is one of the biggest livestock advocate that I know. He showed at a very young age and loves show steers and pigs. His brother Jeremy and sister Jennifer also showed and that is how I met the Hinen family. Justin though, I am really close too. You see he was the kind of kid that was always about getting work done… while still having the most fun doing it. For instance at the state fair this past year Jennifer exhibited in the grand champion drive with her steer Coz. I was hanging around when it was time to get Coz ready so naturally I helped. Now usually things are pretty intense when the big show at the Pepsi Coliseum is about to take place, but with Skinny around it didn’t matter. He would rush around, but would always stop and point out the crazy kid beside us, or the weird lady walking by that was wearing sandals into the beef barn. With him time was endless and there was no care in the world other than to have fun.

Whenever we were getting ready to head to a show Justin would always give orders of things to do and he said he would be back in 10 minutes. If you spend at least one day around him, you already know that 10 minutes means an hour. He always had people to see and places to be. As I sit here and think about him tears flood my eyes knowing I lost a really good friend.

I used to get frustrated because he was always late, but now I know I would spend all day waiting for him if it meant he would come back to us here on earth. The lord above has received a beautiful angel, and I am so thankful he is where he needs to be. I know that God has the best show steer waiting for him to work on and even a pig or too that he can show off.

Because of Skinny, I am confident and know that I have no one to impress but myself. I know what it takes to win, and I know how a smile can fix any bad day. The last memory I have of him is one that I will keep to myself, but I am so thankful we left on a good note. My plan was to go home next Thursday for spring break and go see him Friday morning, however now I will see him this Sunday with his friends and family all gathering around, crying for the great young man that we lost.

Justin I know you’re there and I can feel you wrapped around me. This baby heifer was out of your favorite cow at my place and was born only 3 hours after you passed. In your honor I named her Justin. Although I never told you, please know that I love you ❤
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Hangin’ Tree: The Old West or a Cattle Dog?

February 25, 2013

As time tells, we no longer have many trees around for this use even though they are a major part of our history. During the slave days, they were a common sight to see. Now days however, the term “Hangin’ Tree” has a whole new meaning (thank goodness!)

Many ranches today use Heelers, Collies, Shepards, etc to move cattle from one location to the next. While all these dogs have their strengths, they also have their weaknesses which made it difficult to see them as the “perfect” dog. A guy by the name of Gary Ericsson (with a little help from his son Choc) one day decided to develop the PERFECT cattle dog. You might be wondering… “what is the recipe for this dog?” Brace yourself!

Gary and Choc’s recipe:

– 3/8 Border Collie

  • for their intense herding instinct and intelligence

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(This is Maggie, my best friends Collie who just happens to love cows!)

– 1/8 Catahoula

  • for the ability to trail and find cattle, also for their toughness and slick hair coat

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(Catahoula dogs can come in various patterns!)

– 1/4 Kelpie

  • for endurance and also herding instinct and short hair

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(Kelpie’s can be a range of colors)

– 1/4 Australian Shepherd

  • (only a dog named Hangin’ Tree Black Bear went into this breed. Bear was a super dog with courage and ability to handle any kind of cattle)

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(This is the actual Hangin’ Tree Black Bear who was used in the breed development)

*These dogs are registered with the Hangin’ Tree Cowdog Association Inc.

With a recipe like that, it seems the end product could turn out many different ways, right? And it does! The puppies born can be solid black all the way to spotted blue and EVERYTHING in between! The great thing about this breed? They have the desire to work cattle. (There are many slang terms used in production agriculture that I will try and explain the best I can when I use them in my blogs! Work cattle– move from one location to the next, a broad term used when you will be doing something with them that requires effort (tagging, vaccination, many other things)) These dogs are “fearless” and have the endurance to work all day long rain, snow, or shine.

I know, now you are probably thinking, “How does she know all this?” “She just looked up the breed on the internet, did a little research, and now is trying to pretend she knows everything and is an expert on the breed.” (Or something along those lines!) I actually did have to look up the breed and do a little research on the history of it but back home in Elk City, KS we currently have two of these dogs! My inspiration for the blog? This past weekend, I spent Friday afternoon with Jim and all day Saturday with Top!

Jim and Top are our second and third Hangin’ Tree dogs. They are even half brothers to make it better! Our first was Rooster. (A dog named Rooster? He came to us named, don’t worry, we aren’t that crazy!)

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(This is Rooster. He was a great dog even though he had a short life. He was hit by a truck near our house 😦  )

Jim is my brother Flinton’s dog. He is much calmer than Top as well as stouter.

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Aren’t they cute? He absolutely LOVES Flinton.

On Friday, we used him to gather bulls so we could work them. There are several commands that these dogs learn when they are being trained. Here are the ones that we commonly use:

Come By– send the dog clockwise from you to bring cattle

Away To Me– sends the dog counterclockwise from you

Down– lie down (the dogs can get a little excited and it is used a lot around our place to stop and “reset” the dog to listen again)

Get Back and Bring ‘Em– sends the dog to the back of the group and brings the cattle to you or the rest of the group

There– used to tell the dog that is where he needs to be (can be used along with Come By and Away To Me), also to turn cattle

Get Ahead– exactly what you would think it means, go ahead of the group to turn them which ever way is needed

Look Back– means to literally look back behind at one that was missed or one that is starting to go the wrong direction

That Will Do– we are finished with that, good job

Go To Water– find water and get a drink

When we gather big groups, we use both the dogs together and it is amazing how they can work together, feed off each other, and get the job done much more efficient than with just people working. They can actually replace people and one person can go out and gather the group with a dog and not have trouble. We have learned that if it can’t be done with a person and a dog, more people won’t be able to do it either.

Here is a couple of pictures of Jim working on Friday.

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Top… Top is a whole different story. He is very energetic and needs lots of reminding to slow down and just be calm. He is my other brother, Ethan’s dog.

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They love each other. While Top doesn’t really like to listen to Flinton, he thinks Ethan walks on water and will do almost anything Ethan wants (with reminding every now and then!). They came most of the way trained to us for working in a pasture setting. Ethan has other ideas though… He wants to be able to have a dog help around the chute and move cattle through the system.

Quick Vocab!

Chute– a device used to cradle, hold, and keep the cattle as well as us safe while working them

The System– at our place, we refer the the lane and the chute as the system

Lane– ours goes from outside to inside the barn and the cattle walk through it to reach the final destination of the chute

Here is a couple of videos so you can see exactly how helpful Top is around the system! (Click on the link to view, please excuse poor quality, I took it on my phone!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pgn2ft4eRR8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhTptkthjOM

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Even when he is not able to help, Top watches and keeps an eye on Ethan to make sure nothing happens to him!

Since we have pasture gathering and working the system down, Top has a new idea of what he wants to learn…Any guesses…?

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He thinks it is time to learn how to drive… I will let you know how that one turns out!

Best Friends

February 22, 2013

The past couple of days have been rough. I could write this post about all my life drama, but instead my idea for posting was because of the friendships I have made while at Butler. At the beginning of the year I was scared of my roommate to be, Allison. We are both from Indiana so I knew of her, but didn’t ‘know’ her. The only thing I did know was the fact that she scared me. In fact I tried to ignore her at cattle shows…even at the State Fair when I knew we were going to be roomies. Another friend I have made is Miss Riley. Although she tends to spend many hours at my house (When her own living space is two doors down) I really do appreciate all she does. Whenever a dull moment I can always count on something interesting to come out of her mouth. While in the van today, on our way to Kearney, Nebraska, I had a special moment with one of the other girls. For her sake I will keep her name unmentioned. After some talking with the boys I could tell she was upset. And after texting her a while about what was said, I knew I wasn’t the only one going through some troubles. If she reads this I hope she knows how much that helped me and my feelings. Logan is another one I am so thankful for. He has made my transition to college so easy, by understanding some of the things I go through. It is even better knowing he lives only an hour and a half away, so I know we will always be best friends.Through the past few months I have made 26 new friends. I can count on all of them whenever I need anything. Some of them I will call for homework help, others for a good laugh, but I consider them all special. Being apart of the Butler Livestock Team has changed my life forever. I can’t wait to spend more time with these fine people, and hopefully enhance our relationships 🙂