County Fair 2013

Menard County Fair

clipping heiferAfter a very cool summer, at least the first part of summer, it once again was very hot for the Menard County Fair.  The boys had almost all the cattle clipped out before the fair except for Paloma the calf part of Theo’s cow/calf pair.  It sure is nice and less expensive since the boys have learned to do some of the clipping.  Theo won champion cow/calf.  This county fair and State Fair we took all Bred and Owned cattle even the cow.  Bred and Owned means we raised the cattle and did not purchase them from anybody else.

county 4h fair simmental steersThis is the 4-H Simmental steer show. Theo was Champion Simmental steer and Zadok was Reserve.  There was a total 18 4-H steers.  Besides the steers and the cow/calf we only took 2 other heifer calves,  and both of them were reserve champions in their breed in the 4-H show and won their classes in the open show.  We kept the big heifers at home it was just too hot.  We even put up misters in the barn.

Resv Champion 4h SteerTheo was Reserve Champion 4-H steer and 3rd overall in the open and junior show.  We have had 4-H Grand Champion steer before, but this is the first time we were close to the top in the Open show.  The judge liked Theo’s steer.

4H Steer saleTheo sold his steer in the 4-H livestock sale.

Graffs after the steer saleThe sale is at the end of the fair.  Here we are ready to go back home with the animals.  All three will split the proceeds equally from their livestock sale.  The last several years we have only been showing 2 steers and selling only 2 also.  It was still hot, but a cold front came in that night.  Just remember some of the hottest days of the year will always be during the County Fair.

State Fair 2013

Illinois State Fair

practicing with cow calf

Zadok and Theo getting Theo’s cow/calf pair ready for the state fair.  Most people do not understand how much work that has to be done to win at a major show.  The kids and Judi started with over 10 head that they worked with just to show 5 animals at the state fair.  They also started with 4 steers that was whittled down to 2 that they showed at their county fair.  That show finished less than 2 weeks before the state fair.  Lots of cattle to be worked to then just “turn them out” to pasture if we decide they then are not “good enough” to go on to the show.  They also get ready the spring born calves for the state fair and the county fair, which means  not only breaking them to lead, but just getting the calves over weaning and getting them to eat well and making sure they are just “show ready”.

  on way to showring

Going to the Open % Simmental show at 7:45 a.m. on Friday morning.  We were up, out of bed and heading to retrieve the cattle from the tie-outs by 4:45 a.m.  to show in the first class of the day for the second day in a row.  Pressure was off Theo, since the day before he was successful in having the Champion Performance Cow/Calf pair in the junior show which means he was awarded the “Governor’s Punch Bowl”.  He was sweating it since both Zadok, and Isabella had already won the “Punch Bowl”.  The Graff kids have now won it three out of the last five years.  And by the way, this was a good morning.  Grand Champion % Simmental Cow/Calf, Theo was second in his class and Z was third in a big class, not bad when we were done by 8:17 a.m. in the morning.  And if you ever hear us say look at the a$$ on her we are talking about a cow or heifer not a person.  But, man that cow does have a nice, well just look at the picture.  Our bulls would agree with that also.

state fair resv div

Isabella had a good State Fair.  This is her with a calf she raised that was calf champion in the Mainetainer show.  We are really excited about this girl’s future.  We think this heifer has what it takes to be a big time show heifer next year.  Everybody else thought she was good too.  We had numerous people try and buy her from us while we were at the fair.

Grand Champion Age Cow

Here is the picture of the Junior Show Grand Champion cow/calf pair.  The two boys, me, the husband/wife judges and Larry Wilson Junior Show superintendent holding the silver bowl.  In the Junior show once a cow wins and once a kid wins the “bowl” they are “retired” from winning it again.  So we have 3 cows that are retired and 3 kids retired from winning the Aged Performance Cow/Calf award.  They could go for the “young” cow which is a cow that has only had 1 or 2 calves.  The aged cows have to of had at least 3 calves.  The older one is harder, since the cow has to have had a calf every year of it’s production life and then has to have good performance records with each calf and then has to have a good calf by her side the year you show her, and last but not least she has to look good.  So Duchess, Ellyon, and now Padmay are “out to pasture for good”.

champion percentage simmental cow calf

Here is the open show cow/calf picture.  Isabella was also the 2013 Illinois Junior Simmental Association Queen.  The kids Grandfather really likes this cow.  She is better than her calf.  She is a half blood Simmental whose sire is Dr. Who.  She has about as good as you can ever have performance numbers for a club calf type cow.  Last thing about this cow, she never lost a class when Theo showed her as a heifer, and she never lost a class this year as a cow.  She won 13 classes in her life and retired a champion in 2013.  That’s a very good show career.

races state fair

We relaxed the second week of the state fair at the horse races.

state fair ribbons and bowl

Like I said Theo was happy.  He was counting down the years before we headed to this years fair.  He was saying “I only have 5 more years left after this one”.  He was wondering if he did not win if he would stay with this cow or try with another one.  In the end it did not matter, he won the “bowl”.


Posted by a very proud father, pictures by a very proud mother.

If National Geographic Followed Us Today

Inside Secret America:

Cattle Farm

National Geographic channel feels it needs to get the truth out about handling of livestock. Are animals treated humanely?

I do wish they would have been with us today with their undercover cameras to witness how we handled our cattle. A little of it may be shocking if they haven’t been around large animals. But mostly it’s a family trying to take care of their cow herd.

As we were feeding the cows this morning, a few of the younger heifers we show that have had a cough and diarrhea were still coughing. Today Z treated them with sulfa boluses or large pill. The bolus is given to the calf with a boling gun that places the “pill” in the back of the throat. That way it isn’t spit out. The heifers should be getting better by tomorrow.

caring for sick calf

Later this morning, Betsy had her calf. Isabella went out to the pasture to make sure everything was okay. Since both cow and calf looked fine, we left them alone. Betsy is one of the oldest cows on the farm. She knows what to do.

Animal Undercover

Checking on another pasture of cows, we saw they decided to go for a swim in the pond. It was rather cool today. So these cows aren’t skinny dipping because of the heat. I think they just like it. Later they went to dry off in the grass.

skinny dipping cows

Don’t they even look like they were caught doing something.

This afternoon it was time to treat a three week old heifer that has a navel infection along with a hernia. Our vet would like the infection cleared up before fixing the hernia. Theo and Isabella followed his instructions on getting her healed up.

All this might not be flashy enough for National Geographic Channel. There weren’t any “caught on camera” moments. And nothing really to keep secret. Just a day of taking care of cattle on our farm.