The Winter Festival is always a fun show for us.  We appreciate all the hard work that Cindy Dennis and Melissa Rod put into this show.  It’s always exciting and well organized.  This year was the most exciting for us so far.  We kicked off the day with numerous class champions including:  Naomi with “VNR Starlit Bayou,” Julia with “VNR Dynamic Uno,” Jacob with “VNR Fire in the Hole,” Naomi with “Diamond Q Perfecta,” Phoebe with “VNR Little Romeo,” Jacob with “Diamond Q Texoma,” Joshua with “VNR Freedom Call,” and Hannah with “Hang Em High BCB.”  Jacob went on to win Grand Champion Bull with “Diamond Q Texoma,” and Joshua followed him with Reserve Champion Bull, “VNR Freedom Call.”  Hannah won Grand Champion Steer with “Hang Em High BCB,” and Phoebe followed her up with Reserve Champion Steer, “VNR Mi Amigo.”  It was Phoebe’s first time to win a buckle.  We finished the day with lots of showmanship winners.  We are so proud of their progress!  In the Junior Division, it was a clean sweep with Miriam Grace winning first, Rachel winning second, and Jonah winning third.  In the Intermediate Division, Joseph was first.  In the Senior Division, Joshua placed second.  When the show was over, it was so nice to make it home before dark!!!!

December 4 – 6, 2009 – ARK-LA-TEX SHOW – Lufkin, Texas

With it snowing and freezing outside, we wondered if we’d make it to Lufkin or not!  We arrived on Saturday afternoon, washed our animals in the cold, and headed to the show ring before we could even finish washing.  It was the coldest show we’ve ever been to, but the kids had fun anyway. 


During the TLBT Points Only Show, we had several class champions including:  Joshua with “VNR Lil Bit Naughty,” Julia with “VNR Dynamic Uno,” Andrew with “VNR Diamond in the Rough,” Hannah with “Diamond Q Mariah,” Jacob with “VNR Sonita,” Andrew with “Diamond Q Perfecta,” Joseph with “VNR Little Romeo,” Jacob with “Diamond Q Texoma,” Joshua with “VNR Freedom Call,” Miriam Grace with “VNR Song’s Remix,” and Miriam Grace with “VNR Jitterbug.”  Julia finished off the day with Junior Champion Female with “VNR Dynamic Uno.”  Andrew won Reserve Champion Female with “VNR Diamond in the Rough.”  Julia won Reserve Grand Champion Female with “VNR Dynamic Uno.”  Jacob won Grand Champion Bull with “Diamond Q Texoma.”  Joshua followed him up with Reserve Grand Champion Bull with “VNR Freedom Call.”  Hannah won Reserve Champion Steer with “Hang Em High BCB.”   In the Showmanship Junior Division, Miriam Grace won first and Rachel won third.  In the Intermediate Division, Joseph won third.  In the Teen Division, Julia won first in showmanship.  In the Senior Division, Jacob placed third. 


On Sunday’s TLBT Youth World Qualifying Show, Naomi won with “VNR Starlit Bayou,” Julia with “VNR Dynamic Uno,” Jacob with “VNR Fire in the Hole,” Jacob with “VNR Sonita,” Andrew with “Diamond Q Perfecta,” Abigail with “OL Prissy,” Julia with “VNR Little Romeo,”  and Joshua with “VNR Freedom Call.”  Jacob won Reserve Champion Female with “VNR Fire in the Hole.”  Abigail won Senior Champion Female with “OL Prissy.”  Andrew won Reserve Champion Female with “Diamond Q Perfecta.  Abigail won Grand Champion Female with “OL Prissy.”  Julia won Reserve Champion Bull with “VNR Little Romeo.”  Joseph won Reserve Grand Champion Steer with "Music Man CP." In the Showmanship Classes, Miriam Grace placed second in the Junior Division.  We had a clean sweep in the Teen Division with Julia winning first, Lydia winning second, and Nathaniel winning third.  In the Senior Division, Joshua placed first and Andrew placed third.  It was a whirlwind of a weekend.  We made it home safely Sunday night, unloaded in the rain, and headed to bed.  It was nice to get a good night sleep in our warm beds. 



The kids always enjoy the State Fair of Texas.  We loaded the cattle as the first cold weather of the year moved into our area.  Our trip to Dallas was uneventful other than another blow out on the big cattle trailer.  We arrived, got set up and bathed all the cattle on the first day.  The following morning, the kids showed in the TLBT Youth Show.  It was Olivia's first day of showing in a regular TLBT class.  She showed one of our twin calves that was born last January, VNR Belated (See January 11-13, 2009).  Four of the kids won first place buckles:  Jacob won with VNR Sonita, Andrew won with Diamond Q Perfecta, Joshua won with VNR Freedom Call, and to our surprise, Olivia won her first buckle with VNR Belated!  It was an exciting day for Olivia.  Her smile was the size of Texas!  Miriam, Joseph, Samuel, Hannah, and Jacob all placed in showmanship.  We didn't show any animals in the Open Show on Sunday.  We spent the day enjoying our family, trying out all the interesting foods of the State Fair, and taking care of the cattle.  We were released to come home that evening, but stayed overnight so that we didn't get home so late.  


We arrived in Tyler at 12:15, and waited for a police officer to open the gate to let us in since it was the middle of the night.  We unloaded our cattle and got them settled in for the night.  To our surprise, very few were dirty and needed a bath.  I think the Lord was looking out for us because we were super tired and no one felt like washing!  We headed to the hotel room and our heads hit the pillows at 3:00am.  We were up again at 6:00 and headed to the fairgrounds by 6:15.  We were the only people there!  We didn’t realize the show started at 9:00am instead of 8:00am.  Well, at least we had plenty of time to get our animals groomed and ready for another fun day of showing.  Jacob kicked off the morning with winning TLBT Junior Champion Female with “VNR Fire in the Hole.”  Joshua followed his lead with winning TLBT Grand Champion Bull with “VNR Freedom Call.”  Then Jonah took the cake with another win with “VNR See My Buckle!”  After a win in Tulsa the day before, Jonah and “Buckle” won TLBT Reserve Champion Steer a second time!  I think the child is ruined after so much success his first two days of showing as a youth.  Miriam, Rachel, Lydia, Julia, Jacob, and Phoebe finished up the day with showmanship placings.  It was a great day, and even in all the busyness of the day, we still found time to visit with good friends before heading back home.

October 2, 2009 – A BIG DAY FOR LITTLE JONAH…….and OTHERS!

After a grueling drive to Tulsa with a tire blow out, calves that kept deciding to lay down in the trailer, and several wrong turns, we finally made it to the Tulsa State Fair.  It was so nice to see our good friends and “adopted grandparents,” Steve and Bodie Quary.  They were the ones that drew us to Tulsa and it was well worth the drive.   We washed animals late into the night and headed for bed about 1:00 am.   The following morning, everyone jumped out of bed early and headed to the show ring full of enthusiasm.  It was Jonah’s first show as a Junior, which meant that he could not have the assistance of an adult or older sibling.  Jonah made the decision to leave the Pee-Wee division and start Juniors so that he could show his steer, “See My Buckle,” during his last year as a youth steer.   Jonah is still five, but has been in the show ring as a Pee-Wee so many times that he was prepared for this moment.  The day was super busy and the kids had an opportunity to show more than just the animals we brought to the show.  They loved the excitement of showing so many times.  We ended the show with a big surprise!  Naomi showed “Music Man CP” and won TLBT Grand Champion Steer and Jonah won TLBT Reserve Champion Steer with “Buckle.”  It was so much fun to watch.   “Buckle” was lazy from the long drive and decided to lay down in the show ring twice!  Jonah just shook his head and said, “Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, now what?”  In spite of "Buckle's" laziness, the judge still chose him as a winner.  It was an awesome day!  We ended the day, with a long drive to the East Texas State Fair.  This was our first time to ever hit two shows in one weekend.  It was exhausting, but a lot of fun too.



Each year after the World Show, the new TLBT officers and directors attend camp to work on parliamentary procedures, planning for the upcoming year, brainstorming on new ideas and making tons of decisions that will affect the TLBT.  This year, the camp was held at the historical YO Ranch, in Mountain Home, Texas.  Of course, there was plenty of time to enjoy the beauty of the ranch.  The YO gave the kids a tour of their exotic, Murph shared the history of the YO and their involvement in preserving the Texas Longhorn breed, and each night we sat on a beautiful cliff that overlooked the animals feeding below.  The kids enjoyed the swimming pool every day, and we all enjoyed eating at the Chuck Wagon!  We stayed in beautiful, old historical cabins.  All the girls stayed in a log cabin that used to be a school many years ago.  We had a great time and also got a lot accomplished for the upcoming year. 




Several of our kids have taken the Texas Longhorn steers that they used in the show ring and turned them into riding steers.  Each child broke the steer themselves and spent many hours riding up and down the road in preparation for riding them in parades.  Last year, we attended the Fourth of July parade as spectators, and when they saw Mr. Bob Dube riding by on his Longhorn Steer, "Buckaroo," I knew we would be returning the following year with the kids riding in the parade.  Over the last year, they have been in contact with Mr. Dube, preparing for this year’s parade.  So, on the morning of the Fourth, we headed to Round Top.  Jonah rode David and Kathy Adams’ steer, “Buckie,” assisted by Samuel walking along side him, Rachel rode “Battle Song,” assisted by Julia walking along side her, Lydia rode “Cajun Blue,” Tabitha rode “JPact Lee,” Nathaniel rode “Totsy-Turby,” Sarah rode “Champ,” Hannah rode “Proud Patriot,” and Jacob rode “Rev Lee.”  For several of the steers, this was their first parade.  They did a great job for being such young animals.  A few of the other kids rode horses behind the steers.  Andrew and Olivia rode “Gabby,” Joshua rode “Ruby,” and Phoebe rode “Dixie.”   Josh Calbo also came along and rode “Ace.”  It was a lot of fun.  Some of the steers were so tired and hot as they walked up the last hill of the parade.  It was a good experience for them and the kids too.  Everyone is already talking about riding again next year. 

June 2009 - World Show - NEW TLBT OFFICERS ELECTED

Each year, several of our children come to us wanting to run for TLBT offices.  This year, we had seven children who campaigned and ran for an office and all seven were elected.  It takes a lot of courage for some of them to run because not all of them have a bold, confident personality.   This year, Jacob was elected to the office of TLBT Vice President, Abigail to the office of Secretary, Sarah will be the new TLBT Reporter, Samuel was re-elected as the Treasurer, Joshua is a Senior Director, Lydia is a Teen Director, and Miriam and Rachel are both Junior Directors.  It was an exciting day for the kids and they are already working hard on TLBT tasks. 






March 2009 - HOUSTON LIVESTOCK SHOW & RODEO - "Different Winners, Grand & Reserve AGAIN!"

We never dreamed it could happen again, and so soon after the Fort Worth Stock Show.  Houston is always a show that we look forward to because it's close to home, but get a little frustrated with because there is usually so much chaos in the way the Longhorn Show is run.  This year, it was a little smoother than years before, but there was still some kinks to work out.  Once we were settled in, we had a BIG day of showing.  Joshua won two buckles with "Diamond Q Trinket" and "VNR Freedom Call."  Sarah won two buckles with "VNR Rio Grande" and "Nada Mirage."  Abigail won a buckle with "HD Antares."  Jacob won a buckle with "Rev Lee" and with "ST Vaquero."  The most exciting news of the day was when Hannah won Grand Champion Steer with "VNR Proud Patriot."  Then Jacob followed her lead with his first Reserve Champion Steer title with "Rev Lee," a steer that he won from Rex Mosser at the TLBGCA Brenham Show.  If you could see what all Jacob went through the get this steer broke, you would understand the excitement we had when he won.  I'm not sure many people would have stuck with this steer as long as Jacob did, but it was worth the work it took to get him halter broke.  We finished the day with several of the kids placing well in showmanship.  We look forward to returning to Houston again next year. 


February 2009 - Jacob and Suzanne (mom) recieve their Artificial Insemination & Bovine Palpation Certification

Jacob has always been interested in genetics and reproduction of cattle.  While working on his speech for the TLBT World Show in May, Jacob stumbled onto a website for Bovine Elite in College Station, Texas.  After gathering his information and research, he discovered that Bovine Elite offered classes in Artificial Insemination and Bovine Palpation.  It was a fairly expense course to take, so it took some convincing Mom and Dad before we made a decision to let Jacob take the classes.  Jacob saw many benefits in gaining this knowledge and looked forward to being able to have the experience that would enable him to choose a specific service sire for each of our cows that we would not have access to within our own herd.  Because Jacob was so young, only 16, Mom decided to take the course with him.  The course was a week long starting at about 7:00 am and ending in the evening each day.  We had the opportunity to palpate and AI about twelve cattle each day.  There was also a classroom portion of the course each afternoon and evening.  There was about 30 people in our class, some even from other countries.  It was really interesting and we learned a lot!  After the course was complete and we received our certification, we purchases a semen tank, semen and all the equipment needed to give it a try on our own cows.  The following weekend, we palpated all of our cows to determine pregnancy.  In March, we synchronized the cows we intended to breed, and artificially inseminated them on April 1st.  We are expecting our first AI calves in January 2010. 


January 2009 - FORT WORTH STOCK SHOW - "Twice As Nice!!!"

Well, it isn't every day that you win Grand Champion Steer and Reserve Champion Steer at the Fort Worth Stock Show, but that's exactly what Miriam and Lydia did!  We had an awesome show, with many of the kids placing well in their classes and showmanship, but the highlight of the day was when Miriam Grace won Grand Champion Steer with "VNR Battle Song," followed by Lydia winning Reserve Champion Steer with "VNR Cajun Blue."  This was our first time to for this to happen.  In all the excitement, we forgot to take the girls and their animals to get championship pictures, so we had to take some ourselves the following day. 



January 11-13, 2009 - "DOUBLE TROUBLE" - Twin Calves Born at Vida Nueva Ranch


On January 11, 2009, one of our young heifers gave birth to a beautiful little black and white heifer calf.  There was a problem though, it was the first calf born at our new lease pasture and the donkey who had lived there for years did not like her!  As we pulled in the pasture, we saw the donkey attack the calf and fling her into the air.  We immediately jumped out of the truck and ran to help her.  Then we put her in the trailer and lured her mom in with her.  We took them both to another pasture where they could be safe and where we could watch them closer.  We named the little heifer "VNR Mayday," because of the flight and crash she took only hours after she was born.  We check on them on the 12th and both mama and baby were doing well.  Then when we went to check on them on the 13th, we could not find the little black and white heifer.  What we did find was her mother, "OL Dark Dreams" giving birth to another calf!!!  This time it was a little bull calf.  We didn't even know it was possible for a cow to have twins born two days apart!!!  Our vet explained that when this happens, the second calf rarely makes it.  We named the little bull calf, "VNR Belated" since he was born two days after his sister.  After searching for a while, we found the little heifer back.  We loaded the twins and their mother into the trailer and took them to a stall at the ranch.  The following day, we took the mama and both calves to the vet.  The little bull calf was given colostrum milk since he missed out on nursing those first few days.  We tried to supplement the calves with bottle feedings, but they were not interested at all.  We ended up taking the mama and both babies to the Fort Worth Stock Show with us so that we could keep a close eye on them.  While we were there, it was suggested to us to let them nurse off a different mother since their mom was so young.  Beth Tanner helped us to see if this theory would work by letting the twins nurse on one of their mature cows at the show.  The bull calf loved the idea!  It was really neat to see the Tanner's cow allowing the baby to nurse.  Longhorns are really amazing animals!  Trigg and Traci Moore told us that they had used a dairy cow to help supplement babies in times of need.  They offered to take them home and put them on their nurse cow.  We were so crazy about the babies that we didn't want to see them go and we wanted their mother to have a chance at raising them too.  When we returned home, we made a visit to "The Jersey Barnyard," and purchased "Lisa," a five year old Jersey cow.  "Lisa" and "Dark Dreams" have paired up in raising the twins, and the two of them have done a great job of it!  Both babies nurse on both mothers, and they are equally loved and cared for.