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!!!