The Key to Finding Success in the Ring
As a stock show exhibitor, we all have dreams of bringing home the coveted purple banner, and on some days, we think about what it would be like to win grand champion in all species. For the Shelton family, this dream nearly came a reality.
This August, the Sheltons took home champion steer, reserve grand champion lamb, reserve grand champion hog, master sheep showman and champion pair of lambs.
Kevin and Laura Shelton of Frederick, Maryland, along with their kids CJ (15), Kaylie (12), Holly (9), and Chad (8) and the woman who they credit with their start in 2010, their grandmother, Laura Tessier, still are in awe with the kind of county fair they had this year.
“We never imagined coming here and winning like we have this year,” Laura said. “Although, winning isn’t everything, we are so glad to see our hard work paying off.”
While this generation has been slaying the show ring since 2012, the tradition is deeply intertwined into their family. In fact, Laura first entered a show ring with cattle in 1965 and Laura started showing hogs in 1991."
The country fair is only the first stop on their successful livestock show tour. In the past few years they - as a family - have taken reserve at Kansas City and Louisville, respectively; reserve national champion in the mile high City; showed the 2013 Show Heifer of the year; and, won Grand and Reserve Grand Champion Steer for the past four years at the National Junior Hereford Show.
How do become as successful as the Shelton Family? The Shelton crew is sharing a few of their tips and tricks they've learned from others along the way:
This is so important, especially during the summer months! If it is hot outside, cattle need to be rinsed, dried, and put under fans.
Training your livestock is crucial. When you get to a show, it will be a breeze for the both of you. By walking them at home, training them to set themselves up, working on them for a few hours a day, are some of the things the Sheltons do daily to prepare for a show.
A typical day for the Shelton family at the barn goes a little like this:
Get up with grandma early in the morning to feed. After they're done eating, start rinsing and blow drying. All are cleaned and ready to be tied down by 11. At 4 p.m., rinsing and drying starts again until feeding time at 7 p.m. During the summer, the cattle get let out at 11 p.m. Repeat.!
Even though the water tank is full, doesn’t mean it is clean. Check the water, whatever kind you use, everyday to make sure the water is clean enough for livestock to drink. Also, make sure there is always fresh hay for your livestock.
Whether or not things went as you wanted them to in the show ring, always come out with a smile on your face and congratulate other who were in the class with you. It is the time and effort that counts at the end of the day.
Most importantly, make friends who will last a lifetime. Sure the winning is nice, but at the end of the day it’s the memories that matter the most.
The Sheltons know they could not be successful in the show ring without the help along the way. Some in particular would be Laura Tessier, Jeff Paulsen (Paulsen Cattle Company), Bill Widerman (Foggy Bottom Farm), Randy and Jaime Mullinix (Purple Reign Cattle), Ethan Hanold (Hanold Show Cattle), and Brent Schnettgoecke.