Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Traveling Begins!

Rachel Burton and I pose with western music legend Micheal Martin Murphy at the John Wayne Centennial Celebration in Winterset!

Hello, hello!

My travels have begun! On Saturday, May 19 I traveled to the rodeo town of Leon, Iowa for a Wrangler Division (6-8th graders) Rodeo. I had a great time watching the young, talented rodeo athletes. It was a beautiful afternoon for a rodeo and the little bay and I were glad to be a part of it. I felt somewhat old and out of place watching the young ropers, chute-doggers, and goat tyers, however, I was so impressed with their professionalism and sportsmanship. I couldn't help but feel like I was connected to them because they were all little ladies and gentlemen; I hope I was like that when I was that age!

My next adventure was the John Wayne Centennial Celebration in Winterset, Iowa along with Miss Rodeo Iowa Teen, Rachel Burton. Rachel's horse once again towered above my little bay, but we both enjoyed ourselves in the parade. We appeared to be a bit "from the future" compared to the rest of the parade participants from the John Wayne era, but it was very fun to see all of the stagecoaches, trick ropers, and singers. Rachel and I got to meet Michael Martin Murphy, along with John Wayne movie stuntmen, and even got some lessons on how to crack a bullwhip on horseback.

The Palo Alto Cattlemen grilled some very excellent burgers and steak sandwiches at the Wild Rose!

On Memorial Day Monday I was in Emmetsburg, Iowa at the Wild Rose Casino's bullriding and barrel racing event to celebrate their one year anniversary. (Barnes PRCA Rodeo from Cherokee and Peterson, Iowaa supplied the bull stock for the event.) During the day I toured the casino and greeted people on their way in to let them know about the evening event. The Palo Alto Cattlemen grilled burgers and steak sandwiches for the event, and I was lucky enough to see a few familiar faces from West Bend, Iowa. I had a great time visiting with them during the event, as well as signing autographs for young bull riding and barrel racing fans.

This week I will be in Cherokee, Iowa for the PRCA Rodeo May 31-June 2. We have many fun events planned for the week, and I am excited for the first Iowa professional rodeo for the summer season. Barnes PRCA Rodeo will supply the outstanding stock for the event. Each year the Barnes' send bucking horses and bulls to the NFR, which is another great thing about Iowa that makes me proud to be a representative! I will be sure to get pictures up on this site once I return home from Cherokee!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Graduation and California!

Betsy Hefty (best friend, roommate, and my favorite "cow"girl) and I pictured with a set of Holstein TRIPLETS we witnessed being born on the Joseph Gallo Farm in Atwater, California.
It's official!

On May 5 I graduated from Iowa State University with my Bachelor's Degree in Animal Science. It was a wonderful day filled with family, friends, and fun memories. It still has not sunken in yet that I have finished 4 years of college, but I am glad that I do not have to go back for classes and tests until August!

On Sunday, one of my professors and his two graduate students, along with my roommate and I flew out of the Des Moines International Airport en route to California. We were headed to do one of the graduate student's research project on fetal stress during parturition in cattle. We set up shop at the maternity barn at the Joseph Gallo Farm in Atwater, California. All of the farm's milk goes toward the production of cheese, which they manufacture on-site.

The farm is very impressive because they have a manure digester that collects methane to power 80% of the farm's energy needs. There are 10 different milking sites, each with approximately 1,700 lactating cows that are milked 3 times a day. During our stay, we saw approximately 20-25 calves born EACH DAY!

The highlight of the trip was witnessing the birth of triplets! A very tired, but not any bigger than average Holstein cow gave birth to a 73 pound bull, 68 pound heifer, and a 66 pound heifer . . . that is a LOT of calf to be inside any cow! Way to go, Ma! Most heifers born twin to a bull are considered free martins (~80% of the time) because the male's hormones prevent all of the heifer's reproductive organs to develop. However, in some rare instances, the heifers develop normally, which appears to be the case with these two heifers. It will be fun to try to keep up with the heifers to see if they are able to be bred and enter the milking string.

As with any out-of-state trip, I had a great time, but it was great to be home! Des Moines never looked more beautiful Thursday night--even in the dark! I am excited to be back in Iowa getting ready for a fun-filled summer of visiting all corners of the state. I have added a BOA Bullriding event to my schedule in Emmetsburg, Iowa on Monday, May 28 (Memorial Day). Until then, enjoy the spring weather, and I will write again soon!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Congratulations Jill!

Jill Perkins, Miss Rodeo Iowa 2002, and Nick Neumann were married on April 21 in Omaha. Pictured with Jill above are Lori Bortner (MRA '03), Kimber Metcalf Dall (MRI '03) and Lindsay Ahrenholtz (MTRI '03). Also on hand for the festivities from the MRI Family were Megan Wiemold (MRI '04), Bobbie Hinds, Aleigh Beahm (MTRI '05) and her mom Christy Wainscott, Nicole Watkins (Woodbine Rodeo Queen '04), Irene Blazek Pauley, Doug Dall and Lindsay's mom Laura Shelton (who asked if Lindsay could give back the boquet!). The ceremony and reception were beautiful and we wish Nick and Jill all the best as they begin their life together.

College and High School Experiences for Doc, the Little Bay Horse

(Doc and I awaiting the VEISHEA parade with the shiny Sunshine "S" Trailer Sales trailer in background!)

Beautiful weekend weather and faithful alma mater support brought thousands of Cyclone Alumni and other visitors to Ames for the 150th birthday of Iowa State University and the VEISHEA Celebration on April 21. The little bay and I were colorful participants in the Saturday morning parade as we made our way through the route waving and smiling at all of the red-and-yellow-clad bystanders.

As we were waiting for our turn to enter the parade route, Doc (the little bay) told me that he had never been in a parade before and was not quite impressed with the loud bands and huge helium-filled creature balloons, but since he did not know what to expect, he would give it a shot. He did really well and didn't seem too phased by all of the activity and commotion, so I am sure he will learn to love parades as much as me! The VEISHEA parade had an estimated 75,000 people in attendance, so it was nothing like breaking the little bay into his "PR" job at a "small" event . . . or so I told him!

(Rachel Burton, me, and Holly Soucie awaiting the grand entry in Sidney--yes, I do have a little bay, but Rachel's horse Tank proves true to his name and is REALLY TALL!)

Saturday, April 28th I attended the Sidney, Iowa High School Rodeo for another "first" for the little bay. Doc has never been to a rodeo, so I wanted to have a trial run with a large crowd, flapping flags, blowing fence banners, and the PA system of the announcer before we get ready to attend the professional and amateur Iowa rodeos. Before the grand entry I ran into two of my most favorite high school rodeo competitors and beatutiful queens, Rachel Burton (Miss Rodeo Iowa Teen) and Holly Soucie (Iowa High School Rodeo Queen).

I did not participate in high school rodeo, but after spending the day in Sidney, if I could go back in time I would have added it to the list of activities I participated in. All of the student directors, judges, and contestants were very helpful and cordial to one another. The atmosphere of the rodeo was the epitome of why people refer to rodeo as "one big family." I felt very fortunate to witness the camaraderie, healthy competition, and sportsmanship that contributed to a successful rodeo.

Doc and I got to help the pick-up men chase out calves and steers. The little bay proved true to his Doc O'Lena lineage by being very keen and serious about his bovine-tracking and cutting duties during the rodeo. I am looking forward to spending the summer on the road at rodeos with this little horse because I think we will have a lot of fun, and he will turn into a very handy horse to have!

On Sunday I traveled to Knoxville, Iowa to put on a small "Cowgirl Queen Clinic" for a group of girls vying for their local title. We had a lot of fun practicing how to sit, stand, and pose properly, as well as how to create "queen hair" and "horse show make-up." The last part of the clinic we spent in the arena practicing how to sit on a horse correclty and tuned-up thier horsemanship. I hope the girls enjoyed themselves as much as I did because it was a wonderful experience for me. Best of luck in June, gals!

May is somewhat of a slower time for me for traveling as Miss Rodeo Iowa, however, I get to travel to the Gallo Dairy Farm in Merced, California the day after graduation from Iowa State. I was selected to go with a group from ISU to help with a reasearch project. I am very excited to return to the farm (we were there last spring and this fall) because it still amazes me to see a farm with 40,000 dairy cows! We will spend most of our time in the maternity barn, but it is an impressive operation, nonetheless.

My Miss Rodeo Iowa duties will resume the weekend of May 25-27 for the John Wayne Centennial Festival in Winterset, Iowa. As far as I know, the little bay and I will be participants in the parade, along with a few other events. If you are even the SLIGHTEST John Wayne fan, you should mark it on your calendar to attend because they will be opening a new museum, you can tour the house he was born in, hear singers such as Riders in the Sky and Michael Martin Murphy, as well as watch trick riders and other performers. Check out the website: http://www.johnwaynebirthplace.org/centennial/index.html . . . you KNOW you want to go!

Until the next time for more adventures with the little bay . . .