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A show family
Martsching Farms in Moulton, Iowa raises, sells and shows quality beef cattle. Kalen and Shayla Martsching talk about their experiences growing up on a family farm with their parents, Brent and Susan, and give insight to what it’s like to take care of their show cattle.
Kalen began showing at open shows at seven-years-old and is now a sophomore at Iowa State University, majoring in agriculture business and minoring in animal science.
He says that growing up on a farm and being involved in the livestock industry influenced his decision to pursue an agriculture degree, and even made the transition into college a little easier.
“Going to cattle shows allows you to network and meet different people,” says Kalen. “When I began college, I already new other students and saw a lot of familiar faces from showing cattle.”Date Published: February 20, 2015Date Updated: August 20, 2015
- Martsching Farms
Kalen’s favorite memory showing cattle is when his sister, Shayla, won Grand Champion Steer at the Appanoose County Fair in 2014.
“That steer was out of the first heifer I’d ever shown at the county fair,” says Kalen. “It meant a lot to me that it came from my cow that I’d raised as a heifer.”Date Published: February 20, 2015Date Updated: August 20, 2015
Behind the scenes
A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to achieve such honors. Kalen and Shayla work on their cattle everyday, washing, brushing, grooming and training their show calves’ hair. This all comes after first breaking the calf by working with it on a daily basis—getting it use to the halter, the chute, being lead, and use to you, the showman.
Having these responsibilities means you may not get to do as many social activities outside of the farm.
“You do make some sacrifices when it comes to doing ‘fun things,’ but I know I’m getting a lot out of what I’m doing," says Kalen. "I know it's bettering me as a person, and I will benefit from it in the future."Date Published: February 20, 2015Date Updated: August 20, 2015
- Martsching Farms
Shayla is currently a sophomore in high school at Moulton-Udell Schools. She has been involved in 4-H since she was 10 years old, and became an FFA member last year. Through FFA, she has participated in career development events and shown cattle.
Recently, Shayla attended her third Iowa Beef Expo in Des Moines, Iowa to exhibit her crossbred steer. Shayla and her family plan to attend upcoming cattle shows such as the 2015 AGR Classic in Sedalia, Missouri, the Block and Bridle Cyclone Classic in Ames, Iowa, and the Northwest Missouri State Block and Bridle Spring Showcase in Osceola, Iowa.
This February, she participated in her FFA chapter’s career development events at sub-districts, placing silver in parliamentary procedure. She is excited to attend the Iowa FFA Leadership Conference with her FFA chapter in April.
“Through FFA, I’ve learned leadership skills, how to talk in front of people and how to run a meeting,” says Shayla. “I believe being involved in FFA and showing cattle has taught me responsibility and work ethic.”Date Published: February 20, 2015Date Updated: August 20, 2015
- Sebolt Farm
Cendra Sebolt lives on a Simmental and crossbred cattle farm in Seymour, Iowa, and has grown up showing cattle with her two older sisters, Catie and Cortney.
Cendra and her sisters are a part of a family tradition as her dad, Chris Sebolt, and granddad, Curtis Sebolt, both grew up showing cattle, as well.
This year, Cendra has two heifers, JorGee and Brystol, that she plans on taking to the Appanoose County Fair, the Iowa State Fair FFA Show, and a few jackpot shows in Iowa.
Cendra exhibited at the Iowa Beef Expo this year for the first time. Her heifer JorGee, a Foundation Simmental, placed second in its class.
(Pictured: Cendra at the 2014 Iowa State Fair FFA Show)Date Published: February 20, 2015Date Updated: August 20, 2015
Besides working with the animal on a daily basis, the process to get the calf ready for the show ring is a tedious task that involves clipping, fitting the legs and tail head, and working the hair so the calf looks its best when entering the show ring.
Cendra watched and learned fitting techniques from her older sisters, and likes clipping the most.
(Pictured: Cendra is clipping on her heifer’s legs for the show.)Date Published: February 20, 2015Date Updated: August 20, 2015
- Sebolt Farm
Continuing in agriculture
Cendra is a senior in high school this year, and plans to pursue a degree in agriculture. She says being a part of her family’s cattle operation from a young age has influenced her desire to continue working with animals.
“My FFA advisor, Stephanie Lukavsky, has played a big role in my FFA involvement,” says Cendra. “She pushes me every day, and her guidance has taught me lessons that I will carry on throughout my life.”Date Published: February 20, 2015Date Updated: August 20, 2015
- Sebolt Farm
This past year, Cendra also participated in the Iowa Cattleman’s Foundation Beef Scholarship Extravaganza, a contest that quizzes you on your overall beef knowledge.
Topics include beef health, nutrition, job interview, management, reproduction, meat grading and more. Cendra and her partner, Anthony Furlin, received second overall and won the reproduction, health and presentation stations.
“The Beef Extravaganza is a great opportunity for not only scholarship money, but to test your overall knowledge of the industry and see what you’re capable of,” says Cendra.Date Published: February 20, 2015Date Updated: August 20, 2015
Choosing a show calf
Dr. Blake Bloomberg, Oklahoma State University Livestock Judging Coach, weighs in on what to look for when choosing a show heifer or steer.
“When we look at breeding animals, we look at structure, soundness and flexibility,” says Bloomberg. “You’re looking for that overall balance, making sure all the parts and pieces go well together.”
Bloomberg believes that right now, judges are selecting the most functional animals they can—animals that can also be useful outside of the show ring.
It can be hard to choose a show steer or heifer and predict what it’ll look like in six months. Bloomberg advises against selecting a show calf that has extreme features such as heavy muscling or is overly stout.
“It’s kind of like looking into a crystal ball—sometimes you’re wrong, sometimes you’re right,” says Bloomberg. “I suggest choosing a calf that has good structural integrity from the start, and has features that can be enhanced and fed into it as it grows.”Date Published: February 20, 2015Date Updated: August 20, 2015
As a livestock judge himself, Bloomberg also judges showmanship classes. Showmanship is a combination of how the exhibitor handles themselves and their animals. It is also a time to show off your knowledge of your animal to the judge.
“I like to visit with the kids and let them tell me about their product,” says Bloomberg. “I look for an exhibitor who is calm, relaxed, and can show me they’ve worked with their animal a lot at home."
For kids and families just starting out, make sure to ask questions, whether that’s to your local Cooperative Extension or to another family that’s had showing success.Date Published: February 20, 2015Date Updated: August 20, 2015
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