Wednesday, December 10, 2008


December 10, 2008. 1:48PM. Tricia yells at us from her office,


And what do we do...of course what anyone else would do, right? We grab the camera, run down stairs ecstatic, and out the door we go to catch snow flurries! We can hardly believe it but it's true.

Pam was gracious enough to take a picture for us. Thanks Pam! (we swear there is a snow flurry by the arrow!)

Now all we can do is stare out the window with big smiles on our faces like a kid looking into a candy store! After we got inside we just had to call everyone we knew in Wharton County and tell them! So now it just needs to snow a little more for us to build a snow man.

What a great afternoon!

Written By:
Christa Jo

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


How many of the RHD Loyal Blog Readers rely on technology way too much? I know that I do. For example, I have got to be the most directionally challenged person in the world. So bad that any time I print off directions to a place I had to make sure that it said "turn right" instead of "turn north," because something about the acrostic Never Eat Sliced Worms to remember the directions North, East, South, and West never stuck with me. Thankfully, people who are much smarter than me created a navigation system called Garmin.

Everyone I know has a Garmin, except the old die hards who still think that reading an atlas is cool. These handy little devices can tell you the quickest route from Texas to Indiana and all of the eatin' joints along the way. However, every once and a while Garmin makes a mistake. This September when the Texas A&M Judging Team was heading to the National Barrow Show in Austin, Minnesota, we relied heavily on the navigation skills of Blake's Garmin.
A quick history on the Barrow Show trip. This trip is called the pilgrimage because every university and junior college that has a team all travels together to different hog farms around the Midwest. I once counted 32 fifteen passenger vans travelling in the pilgrimage. This means that if all vans were full a total of 480 students and coaches are all travelling together.
So back to the main story. Due to the large numbers of people we split up for lunch and set a time and place to meet after we finish lunch. So we set the location in Garmin, load up in the van, and we are off. Up to this point Garmin has never got us in any trouble. Well we quickly notice that the roads we are on are getting worse and worse. Finally we reach a point where we cannot go any further. The road we were one was about ten feet wide and about 50 yards in front of us, the road ends in a creek. Hmmm.....what now, the road is too narrow to turn around on and we have a trailer full of our luggage. Our only option is to unhitch the trailer and make a 12343 point turn around. Finally we get turned around, re-hook the trailer and we are off.

This was the first and only hiccup that Garmin has had on our many trips so I will continue to endorse the almost flawless navigation skills of Garmin.

Speaking of great strides in technology, I recently fell victim on the BlackBerry craze. My new BlackBerry can tell me the weather in Banff, Alberta and get me all of the emails that my fans send me constantly. But the best feature of this hand held office is the only game that is comes with, Brick Breaker. Gone are the days of Snake and Brick Breaker is what everyone is talking about. This game has a simple concept of bouncing a ball off of a paddle and hitting the bricks to bust them open and hopefully reveal a secret prize such as an additional life or a laser. As any of you know that have taken a long trip where you are sitting in a car or an airport, you have to have something to do during the down time. On our past judging trips, this game has saved us from certain insanity. Our games range from just comparing high scores to passing the phone from level to level and see how long we can last and how many bricks we can break. Unfortunately, just like Garmin, Brick Breaker has its flaws. Frequently, the ball will slip in between two bricks and not hit a single one. How does this happen? No one knows! Another problem that should be fixed is when you lose all of your lives you must START AT THE VERY BEGINNING AGAIN! I really have to fight back the urge to throw the phone against the wall when this happens, but somehow I think that the next time I will make it past that level and get an even higher score.

So choose carefully when you are selecting your next piece of technology to add to your collection as some of them can get you lost in the backwoods of Illinois or invoke a wild competitive mode that you did not know you had.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

CMA Winner - George

I’m not a big television watcher. I have four children who monopolize the TV, plus I have four children. Who has time to watch TV?

But I settled down in front of the big screen, turned on the surround sound and tuned into the Country Music Awards Wednesday night. And there’s the other love of my life – George Strait – on the front row!

First award: Single of the year

Nominees are: George Strait, “I Saw God Today”

And some other artists.

The winner is: George Strait! I’m thinking, this is going to be a great evening.

He wasn’t the big winner of the show but he still made me proud. His album Troubadour, received Album of the Year honors, bringing his total CMA trophies to 22. That makes him the artist with the most CMA Awards in history. Go George!

My friends and family know I’m a George Strait groupie. Have been since before he even made it big.

New country music stars come on the scene – Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney – and I enjoy their music, even buy their CDs. But there is just something special about George.

My children, especially my daughters, love to tease me about my infatuation with the man. So they took advantage of the situation during the CMA broadcast to give me grief all night long. “Look how old George looks, mom. I think he’s had some work done”, insinuating he’s had Botox injections.

Not George. He’s a country music icon. He just keeps getting better with age. He doesn’t need that stuff.

Then, later in the program the girls start in about how it won’t be too long until people will start saying “George Strait? Who’s that?” Not in my lifetime, I assure them.

I was hoping he would change into his Wranglers before he sang on stage. But, instead he kept his suit on, which was a little disappointing. Something else my girls don’t understand. It’s a little hard to explain to a 15 and 11 year old what’ s so special about a pair of good fitting jeans, and still uphold my motherly image.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

New S2W Spotlight

Do you ever wonder what it is like to own and operate a boar stud? Jon Fisher of Prarie State Semen Supply in Illinois is the new Show To Win spotlight. This is the first professional spotlight to be listed on and it is very interesting. Fisher talks about his childhood, career, and even Facebook. Click here to learn more!

Also, please do not forget if you want to be considered for a S2W Spotlight all you have to do is complete the short form and submit it and a S2W staff member will be in contact with you. All spotlights are archived so you can not only go back and read about others, but if you are selected as a S2W Spotlight you can continually show it off to your friends!

Remember to check back soon to see who the next feature will be!

Monday, November 3, 2008


This past week I was touring the Midwest with the rest of the Texas A&M Livestock Judging Team in preparation for the American Royal. Along the way we had a many stops where we were able to work out on some very high quality stock. Our first stop was Buck Cattle Company in Madill, Oklahoma. They still had some cattle there after their sale, including the sale topper (a big THANK YOU goes out to Jirl Buck for letting us sort through another great set of cattle) So after getting a late start at Buck's, the daylight limited the amount of classes we could see, and when dusk settled in we departed for Stillwater, Oklahoma.

While in Stillwater we worked out at all of the farms on the Oklahoma State campus. The beef unit had all of the steers from either the Tulsa State Fair or the Oklahoma State Fair. We made an entire morning of steer classes and then we got to go to eat at one of my favorite places, El Vaquero! One of our judging team coaches, Blake Bloomberg, introduced this place to me and I think that every time I pass Stillwater, I will stop in for some great Mexican food. The afternoon was filled with hog and sheep classes then we again headed north.

The day before the contest we went to Summit Cattle Company/Charolais Farms. This was the stop that none of us will forget. We thought that we would be working out on some bred heifers, yearling bulls, and maybe some young calves. However, when we arrived at the farm, we quickly noticed that all of the cattle were FEEDLOT CATTLE! The National Western in Denver is the only contest that has actual feedlot cattle, and we were stumped as to why were where there. So our coaches head down the alley to a pen that has some bulls on feed. We are just standing outside the van waiting for the go ahead to come on and judge. We are just watching our coaches try to sort off cattle into a vacant pen from about 50 yards away. What happens next, is what made the trip. We notice that two bulls have ran to the corner of the pen and jumped out! They somehow made it under the steel cable that ran along the top of the feed bunk.

The layout of this farm was not prepared for escapees. Once the cattle got out they had the rolling hills of Iowa to roam. Everyone on the team looked at each other with the signature "OH CRAP" look and we were not sure what was going to happen. About this time one of the most intense combinations of modern and western ranching was being seen. Five pen riders on horseback appeared from no where and took out after the loose cattle. Then we noticed huge clouds of dust coming from roads that lead to the feed lot. I think that every truck in a five mile radius was called into action. Our position on top a hill proved to be great for watching the roundup that was taking place, and let me tell you it was INTENSE! The cowboys on horseback and behind the wheel quickly cut off the cattle and headed them back towards the pens. But the cattle had a different plan. After running through two sets of fences, an Australian cattle dog finally herded them into a pen of other feeder cattle. After this escapade, we were asked to move inside to a barn to judge the cattle in the working pens which were made out of 6 foot tall solid gates. We all had to stand tippy-toe to see these goofball cattle. We initially thought that one of our coaches left a gate open which would have made a much better blog!

However, what we saw there must have been just what we need, because at the Royal contest, as a team we won cattle, reasons, and were high team overall!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

McMonopoly Baby!

Anyone who appreciates the fast service of a drive thru is all too aware of the latest craze. McDonald's Monopoly! Just like the traditional game this diet friendly version has the RHD office in a frenzy. Our fearless leader Rachel has the official game board with the pieces tucked in their respective pockets. This game board is placed in a safe at the end of each day. Why you may ask? Well, it is because we are not taking this series lightly and utilizing all of our resources.

First, Ranch House Designs has locations in Wharton and College Station. Although both in Texas we have got different pieces from each. Not too far from Texas is Arkansas, a state that Rachel has been visiting often. Again the potential for other pieces is growing. However, perhaps the greatest tool to our winning the million is me and the Texas A&M Livestock Judging Team.
Anyone who knows about collegiate judging realizes that we are on the road more than we are on campus. As our season starts to wrap up, we have two contests that are at great distances away. This next Tuesday we are leaving for Kansas City, Missouri in a van! What does that mean? Lots of opportunity to gain pieces from different states. Also, my family is from Indiana and they are aware of the pieces that we are missing and have been dispatched to track down the stragglers.

Once we win the big bucks and retire from advertising, I will make sure that we remember all of the little people (or big people since we are eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Micky D's, see Tight Fittin' Khakis) who helped us get to that beach house in the Caribbean with servants. Our competitiveness towards this game has reached such heights that we know how many pieces we will get before they even hand us the bag from the window. For example, 4 hash browns, 2 large cokes, and a chicken sandwich yield 14 game pieces and one $100,000 code that must be entered online.

So if anyone has some McDonald's Monopoly pieces sitting at the bottom of their cup holder in their car or mixed in the change cup, please send them our way!

Monday, October 13, 2008

New S2W Spotlight

I took a break from piddling (whatever!) to put up this week's spotlight on So, take some time to see what Cally Thomas of South Dakota has to say. Click here to read more! Don't forget you can also check out our past spotlights archived at the bottom of that page.

If you want to be considered for a spotlight, send us an email using the form on the web site. We're looking to spotlight both current and past exhibitors as well as professionals in the agriculture/livestock industry.

Keep checking back every week to see who was selected as the spotlight!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Check out Sarah Stream

This is a short blog post, but we have a NEW educational spotlight this week on Show to Win...Miss Sarah Stream from Iowa. Check out her insights at!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


I'm spending two days down in South Texas at Mr. Cannon's Ranch near Kingsville. I always look forward to a few days in the RV/cattle trailer as a restful - quiet get a way. Prior to leaving on this trip, I noticed a few little ants in my underware drawer in the trailer. I figured - no problem - I'll just take the drawer outside and dump the ants and be on my way. Surely that would take care of the little pests because if they knew what was best for them, they would certainly not want to be anywhere near my pants during the south Texas heat. I thought I won the battle and retired to bed.

The ants had other plans.

The ants took up shop in my bed. All night long the little @)#*# stung places on my body that I didn't even know I had. I got up about midnight, and smashed - pinched - and killed every one that I could find in my bed. I thought I won the battle ... but I was wrong. All night, they chewed on me.

This morning when Jim got up, his first 'honey do' was to go to the store and buy me a Ant Arsenol. I sprayed all around the trailer and then got into the shower. I thought surely I won the battle.

After getting out of the shower, I see the ants have now invaded a unforgiveable place. All bets are off now. They were in my box of apricot kolaches. At this point, I'm going nuclear on the little commie @#*) ants.

Jim and I spent two hours taking everything out of the trailer, and hunting down the little hilters and his queens. Now, I have ant bait everywhere in the trailer and I have sprayed every non-human crack possible. There's no way osama ben ladin and his ant army is alive in this trailer.

I am now retiring to bed- I have fought the good fight. I don't think there is a ant within 10 yards of this trailer. My luck - there will be some pesky skeeter buzzing around my head tonight. Ugh..

Monday, September 8, 2008

RHD Book Club

Oprah ain't got nothin' on us.

Somehow, the RHD office has created an unofficial book club. The funny thing is though, we don't really try to be diverse with our books. We don't try to read a mix of contemporary and classic authors, or mix genres like chick lit and suspense. Our book club centers around one single author: Jodi Picoult.

I should preface this by admitting that Rachel and I have always been a little bit on the bookworm side. When we were kids on car trips, we would always get to pack our own little bags with Barbies, cards, crayons, and coloring books to keep us entertained. But after a few trips with melted crayons in the car, we started bringing books on our trips and reading them to pass the time. It has always helped that we're both super fast readers.

I've always been a little behind the current cool book trends. Rachel on the other hand, even as a elementary school kid, has always been 'with it.' While I was still reading the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary, Rach had moved on to The Baby-sitter's Club. When I finally, caught up with those, she was into Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield and Sweet Valley High. When I finally started reading about the SVH drama, she'd moved on to R.L. Stine's Fear Street series.

Well it has happened again. On any plane ride, I always visit the airport bookstore and pick up whatever mindless chick-lit fiction is available. My favorite authors of past have been Jennifer Weiner, Jane Green, and Sophie Kinsella. Well, probably about May, I was at an airport looking for my latest read, and I wanted something with a little more substance. I happened to pick up Plain Truth, by Jodi Picoult. The author's name sounded somewhat familiar to me, but I couldn't place it. Upon reading the back of the book, I found out that she is the author of both My Sister's Keeper and Nineteen Minutes, both of which were New York Times bestsellers. Well, I bought the book and could not put it down. This book happened to be centered around the Amish culture, which I found fascinating. On my plane ride back from wherever I had been, I picked up another Jodi book, Salem Falls. Same thing... I was hooked.

When I got back, I couldn't wait to tell Tricia and Rach about my new favorite author. Well, of course, Rachel was like, "Oh, I've read Plain Truth already." She beat me to it! Of course she did, though, because at this point she'd been laid up with that broken ankle for 2 months, so she'd been catching up on her reading. Well, during our aimless conversation at the office one day, we discovered Tricia is also a fan. She loved Nineteen Minutes.

For those of you who aren't familiar with her work, I would say these books are a combination of several genres. The main subject is usually something that has been in the news recently. For example, Nineteen Minutes is about a school shooting. There's always something law-related in it. Usually, a trial takes place, so there's courtroom drama. And of course, there's always a fair share of romance. But my favorite part of these books is that they always leave me thinking about what would each of us do when placed in similar difficult situations that her main characters are placed in.
Of her books, here's the ones that, between us here at the RHD office, we've read:
  • Harvesting the Heart
  • Nineteen Minutes
  • Perfect Match
  • Salem Falls
  • Plain Truth
  • The Pact
  • The Tenth Circle
  • My Sisters Keeper

There's a whole other part of this Jodi Picoult fascination that I haven't even gotten into yet, which is the the fact that a lot of her movies have been made into made-for-TV movies by, you guessed it, Lifetime TV. So, I really am looking forward to a lazy Saturday afternoon where I am flipping through the TV and stumble upon the familiar title of one of my favorite books.

So, next time you happen to be in your local Barnes & Noble, be sure and stumble over to the fiction area and look for all the Jodi Picoult books. After all, you can't go wrong... the RHD book club recommends it!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

School Bells Ring in 12 Days

Technically it's 12 days and about 18 hours, but who's counting? School starts for most schools in Texas August 25. And it's time. In fact, it may be past time. This is the first year for a long while that school hasn't started in the middle of August. I was one of those parents who thought starting later in the month was a good idea. Now, I'm not so sure.

My younger kids are bored. My oldest daughter is in athletics so in reality her summer ended two weeks ago and my oldest son will be a senior. "Hurry up and get this over with" is his attitude. One of his many attitudes.

And now school won't be out until June. I'm betting the month of May is going to drag by ever so slowly.

I'm sure that we will adjust. A few years from now this will be the norm -- school starts in late August, school finishes up in early June. About the time students, parents and teachers condition themselves to this routine, our legislator will, no doubt, take it upon themselves to tweak the system once again.

At least when school starts my kids can't call me 27 times a day with their random questions. Like what can I eat for lunch or do you know where my tennis shoes are?

On the other hand, I'll missing having our college students here at the office around. While they're taking classes, their work schedule and my work schedule don't often overlap, so we don't see each other much. It's been fun being around them this summer and getting to know them better.

And once summer ends, it will be time for football! Followed closely by Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then Spring Break, then it will be summer again -- yea!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Our first Texas Music client...

Last week we got to work on a pretty exciting project, for an up-and-coming Texas Music artist - Brandon Dobbs. I'm betting that within 5 minutes of reading this post that my friends Shane & Gretchen Richey will find him on iTunes and download his music.....since they seem to know more about the latest Texas Music Artists than me, and they live in Indiana :)

So back to my story, I met Brandon back while we were both at Texas A&M in the animal science department. Brandon (or "Dobber" as we called him) transferred to A&M our junior year to be on the livestock judging team. We were both in Block and Bridle together, and spents lots of time together in the fun-loving town of College Station, whether it be working at the Saddle & Sirloin Show Futurities, dancing at the Hall of Fame, or hanging out in the Rolling Ridge Trailer Park where myself, Dobber, and all the "COOL KIDS" lived at that time.

Of all the times I spent hanging out with Dobber in college, never once did I hear him sing or play guitar. And trust me, there were LOTS of opportunities for this, such as our weekly Karaoke nights at the Kolle's house where I distinctly remember lots of singing by myself and Cassie to anything and everything sung by Cher, and the most memorable song -- Ralph Stokely singing Sweet Child of Mine. Did I mention most of this was occuring sometime between the hours of 1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m??

Last year at the Texas A&M/Tech football game weekend, which also coincidentally was the "reunion" of the Habanero Hotties (me, Cassie, Tara, Kim, and Anne) 1st Place Chilifest Team....I ran into Brandon and we started talking about his music. He picked up singing and songwriting after college, and he has really taken off lately. Last week, he hired us design his ad that would be in the Lone Star Music catalog, and also some promotional posters to use around town where he can write the dates of his upcoming shows. I was totally excited to do it - since I'm a huge fan of Brandon's and also I've never done anything in the music industry.

If you like to be in the know of Texas artists, check out Brandon Dobbs on iTunes or also on myspace at My favorite songs he sings is Boomtown, Outside of My Mind, and the title song on the album Time Will Tell.

And, keep in mind this famous person is just like a lot of us -- grew up showing and judging livestock, was a normal, down to earth, good ol' guy in Aggieland, and how he's making it as a Texas music singer!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

World Pork Expo and more

Hey all! So I know I am way OVERDUE on my blog status. Lots of things have been going on in the Cooper household that have been keeping me busy! But, most importantly, for those of you that don't know yet, Aaron and I are expecting and are due around December 7th. Although, the doctor warns me that the baby is HUGE and don't go anywhere after November 1st, because most likely it will be early growing at this pace. So we are way pumped and just thinking of more names every day! AND, We just had the most wonderful nephew, Kaden Wayne Mason, born on May 28th, 2008!

Well, in the midst of all of this, Aaron and I made a very eventful trip up to Nebraska and Iowa last week and spent several days at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines. We flew in on Monday afternoon and visited a few friends in Nebraska that we haven't seen since we moved back to Texas in December! We had a great time looking at pigs and cattle and visiting with friends. Aaron and I enjoyed our rental car so much that I think I need a new car to welcome the baby!

We visited RW Genetics on Tuesday afternoon and bought a couple Dallas hogs for some friends in West Texas. Then Rick proceeded to tell me that he would like to turn all advertising services over to RHD, which is GREAT news and we are so excited to get him and his great pig operation on board with us!! On Wednesday we headed into Des Moines to enjoy the most relaxing, competetive and fun national swine show ever!

We first delivered the Hoosier State Banners to Daniel and Telynda Hendrickson and by the wa their daugher, Hadley is the CUTEST, I love her!!!!!!! They hung the banners right east of the ring where if you were sitting in either stands you could see them. I might add that they looked AWESOME and RHD received numerous compliments about them! Also, saw the Clay Farms catalogs that we designed a few weeks ago and they looked really neat too...he said that he handed out 2 boxes in a couple hours. We then watched the show and I had at least 50 and maybe even 100 people tell me they saw me in the Seedstock with RHD advertising, which made me feel very proud and I told all of them how much I loved my job and how great my co-workers are!!!! The show was wonderful, it is always interesting and very rewarding to watch Dr. Kim Brock evaluate swine and hear his way of talking them!

In addition to RW Genetics, we gained lots more interest in RHD and now have several potential customers! We are happy to have Clay Farms, Winning Enterprises, Kneese Show Pigs, Knight Show Pigs, and Wintex Farms already on board as new pig website customers for summer 2008.

The week at the Expo was long, because I was more tired than usual being pregnant and all, and Aaron might have considered me a fuddy-duddy, but I couldn't help that if I wasn't at the show, I wanted to be sleeping!! We were in bad weather most of the week. The town we visited first in Ceresco, Nebraska had two F1 tornadoes pas through there on Wednesday night and flattened some of the town and had numerous roofs gone and trees uplifted. The folks we stayed with had all their windows blown out and all the surrounding houses beside them were levelled. So, we were fortunate to have left on Wednesday morning. Then on Thursday night in Des Moines, there was a tornado spotted less than a mile from the hotel, sirens were going off and we had to go to lobby hall and wait for what looked like a hurricane to pass. Once again, before flying out in Omaha, on Saturday night, sirens prevailed and we went to take cover for the final time! I was never so happy to be out of the midwest and tornado alley and was glad to see that the weather didn't follow us home, although the rain would be nice!!!

Until next time, this has been our life for the last couple weeks! See ya soon! OH and My Birthday is tommorrow, I will be 25 big years old!!!! Adios!


It seems to me that in the winter, especially at times when I am freezing to death at Denver in January, I can't wait for summer to get here. At cold times of the year, I always think back to fun times by the pool, or cooking out in the yard, or going to the beach. Then, sure enough, about 5 months later, summer sets in, and I'm envious of times when I have to break out my puff coat and gloves and run the seat warmer in my car. Now its so hot that when I get in my car I have to be careful to not get branded by any metal object that had been in there heating up!

I'm also envious of those areas of the world that get 4 seasons a year - summer, fall, winter, and spring. For you northerners, here in Texas, we really get only 2 seasons: "hot" and "not-so-hot." Winter isn't that cold at all — maybe we get about a month of cool (not cold) weather. Then we get about a week of what most people call "spring," and pretty soon, it starts heating up, and before long the air conditioners are running and we're griping about the humidity and heat. I've been thinking it is summer since about March this year. Now we're in June, and there's no question about what season we're in.

To celebrate summer, yesterday I purchased my first lawnmower. I'd been paying a person to mow my yard for the past 3 years that I have lived in Boling, and since I really do enjoy mowing on my mom's lawnmower, I decided to bite the bullet and enter the world of lawnmower owners. I decided on a Snapper Zero Turn Mower... which I fell in love with at first sight when I entered Wharton Lawn & Garden. A few negotiations (I got a free weedeater!) and a few hours later, I was watching my new mower be unloaded off of the trailer in my driveway. After a short instructional lesson from the owner of WL&G, I was mowing away!

After several hours of mowing, and several minutes (yuck) of weedeating, I was hot, tired, and covered in lawn clippings. But I couldn't be more happy to be in control of my own yard destiny. So at least I have something good to say about summer... and that is that I get to do a lot of mowing on my new mower. Now if we could just get some more rain... then I'd really get to mow!

As a reality TV buff, my lovely day was topped off by getting to watch the finale of Top Chef. Of course I was rooting for Richard to win, but I was a little disappointed that his dishes weren't as good as normal. Stephanie ended up winning, which was more than okay with me, as I have gone back and forth all season on whether I liked Richard or Stephanie best. But, now that Top Chef is over, what will I do with my Wednesday nights? Shear Genius! This is another one of our favorite reality shows, and a new season is starting in 2 weeks. Last year we loved watching all of the hairdresser drama (Tabitha vs. Theodore was our favorite, followed closely by Dr. Boogie's mullet), and I can't wait to watch again this year!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Alabama -- an old flame

If George Strait is the current love-of-my-life country singer, Randy Owen was one of my first. Randy was the lead singer of the hot country group Alabama back in the 80’s. In fact, the first date I ever had with my husband Lance, was to an Alabama concert on the Texas A&M campus.

That was back when concert tickets weren’t priced out of reach, even for starving college students. Which was pretty much the motivation for him agreeing to go to the concert. A mutual friend of ours told Lance if he would stand in line (or rather camp out in line) for four tickets to the concert, he would treat all of us to dinner before the concert. I think he was one of the first ones in line, because we had really good seats. And as an 18 year old I remember thinking Randy Owen was soooo good looking, in a very distinguished older man kind of way.

So recently when Rachel told me RHD had been hired by Tennessee River Music, Inc., Randy’s cattle business, to design letterhead and envelopes, a flood of memories came back: Cranking up the volume when “My Home’s in Alabama” came on the radio; scooting across the dance floor to “If You're Gonna Play In Texas” and singing along to “Old Flame”.

Not that all of our clients aren’t famous in their own right, but this will most likely be the closest I’ll ever come to having contact with someone I’ve admired for a long time from afar.

I wonder if George Strait needs a web site, or some business cards, or a brochure…

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Special Project Making a Big Impact

It's been a year in the making, but RHD has finally finished a very special project for the American Brahman Breeder's Association and the World Brahman Congress. This post is officially dedicated to Tyler Hahn, former RHD intern from summer 2007 (you'll see why later).

It all started at Houston in March 2007, when I had a conversation with RHD client and World Brahman Congress chairman Kevin Bryant. We were trying to think of a cool fund-raiser for the Congress that people would actually enjoy giving to....not feel hassled. So, we borrowed an idea from the Texas Longhorn Association and I volunteered to coordinate a special edition poster featuring 100 brands of Brahman breeders.
So, we started out by trying to sell the brand spaces. We had 100 spots to sell, and lucky for me they just sold out like hotcakes. Since there really isn't a lot of Brahman memorabilia everyone was really getting excited. just so happened that all the brand spots started selling in June 2007, which is right about the time when our 2007 intern, Tyler Hahn, arrived in Boling. This was his first project, and one of the major projects he did all summer. First of all he had to design all the brands -- which if you know about brands -- you know some can get pretty elaborate. Of course there were some easy ones, like the V8, but there were others that took literally hours and hours to try to create. After that, he had to contact all the brand buyers, just to confirm that we had their brand, their ranch name, and their city and state correct. I bet if you ask Tyler about any Brahman ranch on the poster today -- he'd still be able to tell you the ranch name, brand and state! After Tyler left, we still had a lot to do, and that is when Tricia began working here so she got the project next. She picked up on designing and getting brands approved. She worked steadily on this from September to April.

Besides the brands -- we had the artwork part of the poster. I hired C.J. Brown, our Shorthorn friend from Illinois, to be the artist. The Brahman group auctioned off 9 cow spaces and 1 bull space to be on the poster. The final print turned out to be amazing! All the breeders were just blown away by how accurate C.J. made the drawing based on the pictures they sent in.

So, the official "unveiling" of this big project was a few weeks ago at the World Brahman Congress in Fort Worth. I donated 1,000 posters (on behalf of the ranch my dad works at -- V8 Ranch) to the association so that each participant at the Congress would have one to take home as a souvenier. All in all the project was the biggest fund-raiser for the congress...all in all it brought in over $30,000 for the event, and is something that many Brahman breeder's from across the world will treasure!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Brahman Girls at RHD

Anyone who knows me well knows that I'm the "Brahman Girl" in our family and Cat is the "Shorthorn Girl". This week at RHD we've also had two other world famous "Brahman Girls" here helping out...Emily Forgason and Amy Terry. Emily is going to be working here again this summer in our web updates division. Emily is part of the J.D. Hudgins Ranch and Forgason Cattle Company and we love it when she comes here because she really keeps us "in the know" of what's cool and what's not.

Emily's best friend - Amy Terry - was down visiting so she came in and helped out too. These girls have had a busy week!!! First job was updating our RHD client map, which is a big wall map where we have a MAP TACK location of all of our clients. It's actually really cool when you can see it. Most of our clients are from Texas, then a huge strip in the midwest, then some in pretty much every state. We got our first Alabama client this week too - Tennessee River Music -- so we got a new map tack there. Considering we hadn't updated the map since last summer, they had a lot of searching to do for towns. Let's just say they're really familiar with the location of small towns in Iowa and Illinois right now :)

Another thing they've been working on was quality control reports for our web division. We started monitoring this really closely in November and so we have about 6 months of reports to file. This is Luann's job, and takes a lot of time to monitor, but it helps us make sure there aren't typos or problems on people's web sites. It also allows us to have a really accurate idea of the average turnaround time on our web update times -- which averaged about a 1/2 day turnound in the month of May. The web division does a really good job of staying on top of people's updates in a fast manner -- we know how exciting it is when you have new pictures to put up!!

Their last project has been working on lots of stuff for the Brahman "All American" which is the junior nationals. Since I am the youth committee chairman I get to volunteer with a lot of the show projects and they have totally helped me out!

Oh, and of course, in exchange for the great job at work, we've been treating them to lunch at Larry's every day!!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

As Rachel has already mentioned, our county fair wrapped up last week. However, I had three kids showing a pig, not just one. Which is even worse, because not a single pig made the sale. A real bummer all the way around! It's bad enough when you're competing in your own county against 150 other kids, I just can't imagine being in a "big" show with hundreds of competitors.

Let's just say, it was a tough year and and we look forward to some change ups next year! Plus we'll have one more eligible exhibitor.

As if a week at the fair wasn't enough, my husbands grandmother also passed away and we had to make a trip to Beaumont last Friday for the services. She was actually his step grandmother, as she married his grandfather in the 70's, several years after they had both lost their spouses. If any one happened to be at Texas A&M 20 plus years ago, you may have known Dr. R.C. Potts, associate dean in the College of Agriculture. That was my husband Lance's grandfather.

After a few extra days off last week, it's back to work and building web sites. We continue to get calls daily from people wanting to get on the list! Job security - I love it! I'm still learning the tricks of the trade (not sure I'll ever know them all!) but it's incredibly fun and exciting!

Summer is quickly approaching and my kids are counting down the days until school is out. Then, I'll start counting the days 'til they go back. Not really, I don't start counting until about the middle of July. I always look forward to the summer and the lack of a regimented rountine - no bed times, no homework, no after-school activities. That's nice for awhile. A short while.

Perhaps, since this is the first summer I've been gainfully employed in more than 10 years, it will be different. At least I won't be at home to hear the cries of "I'm bored, what can I do?"

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pasture Sale Time... Just Around the Corner

Slowly but surely we are creeping in to one of our busier times of the year here at RHD. Believe it or not, we're already making plans and booking clients for the August magazines. Last year we sent over 100 pages of ads in to various livestock publications. We've had several people calling to "get on our list" and here we are - 3 months from August!

What made me think of the August magazines (besides the fact that we're booking projects for late summer) is that the pasture sales are already starting up. I just finished up a website for Bennett Shorthorns yesterday. Many of you probably remember their ad from last summer for their Pasture of Dreams sale with a grandfather, father, and son walking through a pasture together. That ad was one of our most popular ones we designed last year — and lots of people must have liked it, considering it was knocked off by several other designers.

This year, Charlie and Tricia Bennett once again came to us for help creating the advertising for their Pasture of Dreams sale. They also hired us to create a new website for them to go along with their new ad. It's always a pleasure to work with Charlie and Tricia. We've actually known Charlie for a long time from way back when he was at Rockdale Shorthorns. Be sure and check out their new site.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Full Bellies & South Texas

So as I was blogging earlier I just got back from Muhammed's. The actual name of this establishment is Primo's but the guys that owns it is from "overseas" and we did not know the name of the place when we started going there. So, Jim just started calling the owner Muhammed and the name stuck. Anyway my morning ritual involved checking recip cows at the Mullins and eating 1 egg, 2 pieces of bacon, and an order of wheat toast. I think that I remained pretty restrained when I ordered.

As our morning trip concluded Jim got a phone call from Mr. Cannon a close friend of the Williams'. First they started talking about a new web site for J-F Ranch that RHD is working on and it may be one of the best sites that we have ever done! I know that we all get excited about new web sites but this one has a format that is a little atypical and will really make it stand out. You will just have to wait until it goes online. As their conversation concluded they were talking about a trip that Jim needs to make to a new ranch in South Texas that Mr. Cannon recently purchased. I wish that I could go to South Texas every week just to piddle around. I would be going on this adventure but I have a cook out that one of my professors at school is having as an end of the year bash for his honors class. If you knew the teacher you would know that it is more of a "We’re here for the free food!" than a bash. So I am in quite the pickle now. I have talked to a few students and/or grad students (Blake Bloomberg) who said that I do not need to go, but I am not sure. It would be a 6 hour trip and a tank of gas for hot dogs and hamburgers when I could be getting piping hot plates of chalupas and tortillas the size of Blake's ego. Ha. So I will be blogging in the future with how everything turns out.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I need a clone

yep - i want a clone - of myself - only better

  • LW#1 clone would be able to work 24 hours a day - never get tired - never make a mistake - and have excellent math skills. LW#1 would be able to do Dreamweaver and Go live.
  • She would be 25 lbs lighter and have less wrinkles. LW#1 would be able to eat chips and salsa every meal and not gain weight.
  • Having a clone would allow LW to attend Astros games, and Aggie games without any problems. LW#1 would be responsible for LW's work - therefore freeing up LW to do whatever she wants.
  • LW likes her itunes too and sings at the top of her voice all day when working at the V8 office (nobody is around to hear me) ..... LW#1 would have a great voice.
I'm sure most of you wish for something. Really, all in all, being able to multi - task between RHD and V8 has been great. I love working with RHD. One of my tasks is quality control. I double check website updates for mistakes - typos - broken links, etc. I'm the one who finds mistakes - and tells the updaters. Sometime I feel badly about turning in corrections - but - it's what is best for RHD clients. Proof reading is a goofy thing - you can look at something several times and not catch mistakes.....then boom - the error jumps off the page.

Gotta run....the NFL college draft is on....I gotta watch for the Aggies who get drafted.
Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

From the web corner of RHD

I love putting up new web sites. We've got a lot of web sites in production now and several of them are close to being ready to go online to their final home. I just checked on my list and there are so many cool sites that I can't wait to get posted online and show everyone!

For any of our local (Wharton) area readers... we're working on a really cool site for the Bright Minds Scholarship Fund. This neat organization is headed up by several community leaders in the Wharton area. We're happy to be involved with the good work that is being done by the Bright Minds group and I hope to have their web site up soon for all of you to look at! Don't get me wrong — livestock sites are our bread and butter (which just made me think of — for any of you pig people who are reading this — the ad we designed last fall for Mills Brothers... Poland Chinas are their bread and butter!) but it is a nice break to get to do some non-agriculture designs. We've got quite a few non-ag sites and designs on our list, so be sure to watch for these.

More updates on Rach's injury. Today we went to lunch at (where else?) Larry's. I am happy to report that Rachel is walking with no crutches. I use the term "walking" quite loosely. She is kinda hobbling around. When she walks her arms naturally raise up (for balance, we think.) I told her today that when she walks she flaps her arms like a spooked bird. I mean that in the most loving way possible! Who cares how she looks walking though — we are pumped that she is back on her foot... or feet... whatever.

Rach said one of the things she missed most about being out of the RHD office for the better half of a month was iTunes. We listen to our music in the office every single day. Usually about half the day we listen to my music and the other half we listen to Rach's. One thing we both agree on of recent music is the new George Strait CD. We have listened to it on repeat for several afternoons and it doesn't ever seem to get old. Tricia is a big George Strait fan and reported that she went and saw him in concert several times before he was famous. Such a groupie!

Have a good Friday and a fun weekend!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Surfing other sites...

Well, when you are spending extended amounts of time on a couch, you find a lot of places to surf around on the Internet. I have tons of friends who are addicted to checking multiple times daily, but up until now I've never really been one who was a repeat visitor. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE showsteers and I LOVE Becky but I just never really had the time to surf the Internet much before. So, I have to admit....I can see how people can really get into it. I find myself wanting to check it nightly, see who's got updated sites (other than the ones we've updated ourselves) and then discuss all the new photos, calves and updates with my friends on the phone.

Speaking of some cool recent updates....Has everyone seen the smokin' hot Monopoly calf that is on Matt Lautner's web site? Awesome. If you haven't seen it be sure to check Matt's site out.

Then what about the text message buzz on Habeger's site? What do people think about that? I think it's pretty cool too, and definitely something different. I'm pretty sure that's the first ad that deals with a text message. Wonder how many people will copy that now.

Granted I realize we did all these updates but still I think they are cool.

Another first for me today - I ventured into the online posting on I have some friends who really like this site better than some other message boards so I tried it out. I love this format and I love the fact that there is some type of accountability on here. So my topic I posted under was "Dream Matings" which suprisingly, no one posted me x Brad Pitt. Anyway, I did make a post and stated that my dream mating was Heat Wave x my sister's CF Myrtle Bo cow. My perfect mix of club calf and Shorthorns. I think Cat might go for it, and honestly I think John might go for it. Phil would like it. BUT.....convincing Jim would be a whole different story! But can't you picture those cute blue roans???

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

collecting stickers

i'm not sure who reads this blog so for what it's's my 2cents

after a devastating tax day, Jim and I have driven to Jim Wells County - deep south Texas for a couple of days rest and business. We are staying in the trailer and outside my window is mesquite mots, cactus (dead and alive) and dirt....and stickers. Any walking outside results in stickers on your pants. Sam is suffering the most. He needs cowboy boots if this becomes a regular thing. We are 20 miles from Kingsville's flour tortillas and 20 miles from Falfurias hot Mexican plate and salsa. We ate the Kingsville tortillas last night and they were so big they hung over the plate. Which is exactly what will happen if I continue to eat flour tortillas - my gut will be hung over my jeans.

Jim busted out early to drive the 3000 acres - he saw deer, snakes, buffalo, etc. When he came back to the trailer mid morning - he came in - with his 'hunting whisper voice" wanting me to look outside - there were 3 buffalo grazing right by the trailer. I didn't even know it.

It's very very dry here. Not much pasture grass available. They need rain badly - but again - this is part of the Wild Horse Desert. There is no city noise here. Nothing but nature - birds and the sound of the wind blowing through the mesquite trees.

This place is surrounded by a deer proof fence - so we will be able to see alot of deer this afternoon. The bucks have already shed their horns.

OK- that's my 2cents. what say you?