Where to Show Up
Charlotte Williams 3/5/2011
Where can I show my Miniature Hereford? I am often asked this question, but the answer is as varied as the animals and the people who show them. However, there are some options you can consider in your search for the ultimate show year with a trip every week!
The most obvious answer is the Miniature Hereford Breeders Association sanctioned and sponsored shows. Currently there are eleven scattered throughout the year and across the United States: Denver (January), San Antonio (February), Houston (March), Austin (March), Des Moines (August), Oregon (September), Amarillo (September), Dallas (October), Billings (October), Kansas City (October), and Louisville (November). As information for each of these shows becomes available it is posted on our website at www.mhbaonline.org or you can also talk to your Regional Director or other member of the MHBA Board.
But there are other show options, too. Remember, your mini is a Registered Hereford, so any show that allows Herefords should allow your animal to show. Sometimes, you just need to show up! For example, there was not a class specifically for Miniatures at the Tri-State Fair in Amarillo, so a couple of us got together for moral support and took on the big guys. We didn’t end up at the top of our classes, but we had a lot of fun, the kids had some extra experience in the show ring, and this last year they included a show specifically for us that promises to go and grow into the future. By demonstrating there was interest in the area, and speaking respectfully but persistently with show organizers, we have opened a new opportunity.
Aside from the national American Hereford Association, many states also have branches that are active in showing and promoting the breed. They can be another great resource for expanding your show horizons. In fact, last year the Texas Junior Hereford Association contacted us to tell us that they would have classes for Miniature Herefords at their annual state show. We had been talking to their representatives at other places, and they decided it was time to welcome us in. Again, for a small membership fee, the kids had a good time, and we all made some new friends that we will see again.
Young people have more options when it comes to showing cattle. There are excellent organizations such as the 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) that are often administered by your local school district and the county extension office, and have opportunities at the local, state, and even national levels. Talk to these folks! You can become involved as a volunteer or participant and encourage inclusion of the minis. Even if there is not a class specifically for minis, join in. Often they can show against the standard animals, until you can demonstrate enough interest to justify a mini class. But be aware that many shows have weight limits for steers – for example, there is a 900 pound minimum in our county show – so be prepared to deal with an animal that may not “make weight”. Knowing your animal’s genetic background from the breeder can be critical, but even the best predictions may fail. Again, doing your homework ahead of time can make or break a situation.
These organizations can open doors to a variety of shows, from the county fair to jackpots to informal get-togethers. Often jackpots are particularly welcoming to new animals. The whole point is to draw in as many entries as possible, so the show is bigger and better. And you can always throw your own show for the local kids in your back pasture. Communication with youth organizations – both ways – keeps these programs alive and well.
Perhaps driving cattle around the country is not an option for you. How about a Virtual Cattle Show? Yes, now you can “show” your cattle over the internet! Our friends in Australia had the great idea to use technology to expand our Miniature Hereford show horizons to a global extent. They have invited us to participate in their electronic show in June, and it promises to be a winner. For more information on this exciting new event, go to “Events” on the website and check it out.
Respect and persistence are the keys to success. Wherever you go, talk to anyone who will listen. Promote your breed in a variety of venues, and help get out the word that the minis are coming! You never know who may be the pivotal person that hears your message and wants to help. Ask, and you may receive! When talking to a specific venue, be sure to do your homework and find the right people, but remember that they have been doing this work for a while – often decades – and may not be eager to change a program they have established with a lot of sweat and tears. Know what rules are already in place and how your animals can fit into the schedule. Be prepared to make positive suggestions and to pick up some of the extra work that will be required to make the show a success. Also contact your Regional Director to keep them informed and to gain access to guidelines and other assistance from the MHBA Show Committee.
But can you win? You bet! Kirstie Kasch showed her steer, Rocky, at county last month and won the light-weight British class. The next weekend she ran him over to a nearby town that holds an FFA/4-H show covering about twenty surrounding counties. They are eager to grow their show, so last year they added a Miniature class, and Kirstie and Rocky won! Leah Stroud showed her heifer, June, at county and took Grand Champion! Their hard work all year long paid off. Again, knowing your genetics is important, but even with a lesser quality animal, a person can learn a lot from spending a year feeding, grooming, generally caring for another living creature and finally showing off the results.