Monday, August 13, 2007

Sounds Like Fun--Iowa State Fair!

Four-term former Governor of Iowa, Terry Branstand, Chopper, Kelsey Ford, and I at the Governor's Charity Steer Show at the Iowa State Fair.

I would do it again in a heartbeat!

I am still walking in the clouds because I got the opportunity to show my first steer EVER in the Governor's Charity Steer Show at the Iowa State Fair! I had the time of my life and I relive the show daily so many times that I catch myself holding an imaginary steer's head up with one hand and using the show stick with the other! Thanks to many wonderful college friends, family members, and newly found friends, I was granted the "People's Choice Award" by the amount of applause from the crowd. I was up against Jamie Pollard (ISU Athletic Director) and the athletic director for the University of Iowa, therefore, I believe I was the neutral ground between the Cyclone vs. Hawkeye rivalry because we all got about the same amount of cheers (not to mention the only gal among the group).

My undergraduate college advisor and professor of animal science at Iowa State, Brad Skaar, was the judge who selected the Grand Champion and other top 4 steers of the show based on their structural conformation, condition, and quality. It was great to see Dr. Skaar and to know they had selected a great "Iowa Stater" to be a part of the show. The competition was all in good nature because the steers were sold after the show and all of the money goes to the Ronald McDonald House Foundation of Iowa, which creates a home-away-from-home and supportive community for families of children with life-threatening illnesses receiving specialized treatmentat local hospitals. I give my highest regards to the Iowa Cattlemen's Association and the Iowa Beef Industry Council for supporting such a great organization.

However, the most honorable part of the day is when former Iowa Governor, Terry Branstad, who was the showmanship judge for the show, came up and shook my hand. He told me he had me picked as the showmanship winner, but the show committee told him not to give two awards to the same person, so since I had just won the "People's Choice Award", he gave the Showmanship Award to Jamie Pollard. That comment made my day! I was hoping to receive the Showmanship Award because I felt it was analogous to winning the Horsemanship portion of a competition--so I was very honored to hear it from Mr. Branstad himself (not to mention I have always wanted to meet him)!

Miss Kelsey Ford, Chopper, and I sporting our "People's Choice" Ribbon! Thank you Kelsey!

If it were not for Kelsey Ford of Milo, Iowa, I would not have been able to do as well as I did. She gave me tips and instructions on how to show "Chopper", as well as put all the work into him months in advance of the show. Kelsey (who will be a freshman at ISU--which proves she is a truly great person) and her dad, Mike, have been bathing and blowdrying Chopper for three to four months to encourage the growth of his hair so they would be able to fit him for show condition. Thank you, Mike and Kelsey, for all of your un-sung hard work, and for letting me have the time of my life showing your steer!

I would also like to thank Farm Bureau for sponsoring "Chopper" in the Governor's Charity Steer Show and for letting me be your showperson! Richard Merrill gave me the exciting call to ask me if I would be interested in showing a steer for them in the show which started my two-week countdown for the show! They named the steer "Chopper" after the Farm Bureau sponsored E-85 American Chopper motorcycle that is currently being raffled off at $10 per ticket and will be given away in mint-condition at the Iowa State vs. Iowa game this September. Thank you, Farm Bureau, for all you do for your members (including my family) and creating a memory I will never forget!

Though the steer show was by far the highlight of the Iowa State Fair for me, I also had a great time spending time at many booths and watching the Cowgirl Queen Contest. Congratulations Rachel Burton, Miss Rodeo Iowa Teen, and faithful Tank for placing in the Top 5 at the contest! During a radio interview about the Governor's Steer Show with Mark Pearson of WHO Radio at the Cattlemen's Beef Quarters, I was shown the "veterinarian's handshake" by Mr. Pearson that mimics cattle palpation, and got to meet Iowa Congressman Steve King, who represents Southwest Iowa at the Fifth District!

King, Julie Buddenberg's 4-year old, 18 hand, 2000 pound pride and joy!

Much to my suprise, I ran into Miss Julie Buddenberg of Decorah Iowa and her beautiful Belgian team! It was great to see Julie again, and she let me ride one of her horses bareback! She atttached two leadropes on King's halter, showed me a stool to climb up on, told me to use commands just like I was driving him, and to have fun! It was great! All 18+ hands and 2,000+ pounds and I took off and went for a little pleasure ride. Julie is an amazing person, and I wish her the best of luck in school this fall!

Another great person I spent time with at the fair was Sherry Davis of Adel, Iowa. Sherry asked me to sit in the WW Livestock Systems booth, for which she is a dealer of quality livestock panels and rodeo bucking chutes. Sherry was one of my judges during the Miss Rodeo Iowa pageant and also sponsored a weekend stay at her beautiful Calico Bluffs Cabins in Arkansas! It was great to see Sherry again because I have not seen her since the John Wayne Centennial in Winterset!
One Word: Beautiful--both the horse and the gold dome of the state capitol!

To round out my Iowa State Fair appearances, Pepper Ann and I kicked off the fair by riding in the Iowa State Fair Parade down Grand Avenue in downtown Des Moines. We were lucky enough to be the first horse-related entry in the parade! Even though it did rain during portions of the parade, we still had a great time and got a few seconds of fame on t.v.! The parade route took us right by the state capitol, with its dome shining bright as ever. I had a wonderful time at the fair, and hope you will make the trip to Des Moines to take everything in before it's over--August 9-19th!

Seeing the state capitol got me thinking and reminiscing about this past year and all of the opportunities I have been granted, great places I have been, and wonderful people I have met. I feel very fortunate to be representing the state, and have begun to realize how much it has done for my future career, appreciation of Iowa, and personal development. This title has been a "coming of age" event for me, and I feel very blessed to be surrounded by the many great people in the Miss Rodeo Iowa Organization that have built the program and title to be what it is today--especially Bobbie Hinds and Paula Jameson. Thank you, gals, for all the blood, sweat, and tears you have put into this organization to allow great things to happen that turn young ladies into women.

This week, I am back to school in veterinary school orientation, with classes beginning next week! I do not know where the summer went, but am excited to go back to school and a little nervous! I will be spending time with my friends of the Heartland Rodeo Company again in Nevada, Iowa on August 24-25th, and then heading to Ft. Madison the next weekend to attend the special rodeo, youth rodeo, visit schools and sponsors, and prepare for the Miss Rodeo Iowa 2008 Pageant! Good luck, girls, and study hard because this title is the opportunity of a lifetime!