By Jo Young
The idea was to get a group of breeders together to sponsor a steer to auction off at the Ronald McDonald House Benefit in Billings.The purpose was to introduce Miniature Herefords to a large group of people and raise money for a worthwhile charity.
The way it worked was I first called a few breeders to see if they were interested. A group of five of us signed on; Mark & Micheline Campbell, Tom Gingrich, Salt Creek Ranch, David Herman and me, Jo Young. I then went to work to locate the right steer. He had to have good confirmation, a gentle temperament and a high degree of cute. I found “ Little Mac “ at the Campbell’s. We were all busy with the NILE so Little Mac didn’t arrive at my ranch until 3 1/2 weeks before the auction. He was weaned that day and not previously handled. I put him in a stall with a tame heifer and let him drag a halter. I arranged to have Dr. Rollett Pruyn remove his horns. He did an awesome job of cosmetic surgery and donated his services. Daily washing and handling, a donated clipping from Melissa McFaggen and we headed for Billings.
Our first stop, Ronald McDonald House, downtown Billings. The plan was to have a family staying at the house meet Little Mac and have the Billings Gazette on hand for pictures. I left home at 5 AM to arrive there by 12:30 and settle in before pictures at 2:00. I led him around but with all the traffic and people, pretty soon he was dragging me around. The director wanted to know if I could lead him up onto the porch next to Ronald. I decided to tie him securely to the trailer. Little Mac loved and trusted me but was suspicious of strangers so when the little kids came running up to him, he was terrified to the depths of his being! We were able to get a nice picture which appeared along with an article in the Saturday newspaper.
Some people who saw the article called the House to see if they could bring their children by to meet Little Mac. They thought he was staying at the House.
The benefit was held at White Aspen Ranch. The theme “A night on the Trail,” included a trail boss on horseback who entertained us with cowboy stories and handled the auction after a chuck wagon dinner. I set up a display table and a pen for Little Mac. I contacted some standard Hereford breeders, McMurry Ranch who offered to donate the keep on the steer so anyone could purchase him for meat that night and just get a call when it was ready for their freezer. A young woman I located through 4-H, Jenna Wagner, had Little Mac posing angelically while the auctioneer’s horse wanted to head for the next county. But even from a distance he was able to bring in a bid of $1300.00! The soft hearted lady that bought him said he will live to a ripe old age. Even so I spent so much time with Little Mac, I was choked up, giving him hugs and a kiss when I said goodbye.
What an enriching experience. I met such wonderful, generous people. Thank you all. Jo Young