Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Project reminders

Just a reminder to everyone that the first part of the year is always extremely busy for those of us in the livestock business. We are now booking projects that are due January 10 and after. If you anticipate needing ads for February, March or April publications, please let us know so that we can put your project into our production schedule.

Also we are currently operating on a 5 week waiting list for new websites, so again if you anticipate needing a website this spring, please go ahead and schedule the project now to assure we have time to do your project.

I always tell my cattle friends....you wouldn't wait until 10 minutes before the show to clip your calf. We need just as much planning to do a good job on your ad as you would to prepare your most prized animal for the show. Please keep these deadlines in mind and email tricia@ranchhousedesigns.com or joelynn@ranchhousedesigns.com to get your projects on our books for 2012.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

December Video Blog

Here's an update of what's going on at RHD.... P.S. I know I look awful in this video, it was a freezing cold day here and the video was taken at the V8 bull pens. :)


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Denver Jumbotron and Show Broadcast

Today we're offering a little shout out to our friends at Cattle In Motion and letting our clients (and friends) know about some advertising opportunities during the Denver stock show.

Cattle in Motion will be the official show broadcaster to cover all of the shows live on the Internet. I'm not all up on the details but I believe it is shows, sales, everything. They are offering some wonderful opportunities to get lots of exposure during this big event.

Their first opportunity is banner advertising during the live show broadcasts. They offer a choice of advertising for just specific breeds (i.e. if you're a Charolais breeder, you can buy banner ads only during the Charolais show), or a special price for the whole show.

I have worked with CIM on things like this several times this year. When they broadcast Brahman Junior Nationals I purchased an ad for V8 and for RHD and we got a lot of hits from people clicking on the banner ads while they were watching the show. We got so much exposure, in fact, I made a special deal with CIM for them to do an exclusive show broadcast of another big Brahman show in the summer and offer the banner advertising only to my clients, as a special thanks to the Brahman people who do business with RHD. That also had a great response and people got alot of hits on their sites.


Now the second option is pretty cool too....way cool actually. You know the jumbotron in the yards....well they are also offering ads on that. These ads will be like video type ads and also will play on the jumbotron, at a few of the bars on the grounds and at tv screens throughout the facility. Sign me up for one of those too Tim! :)

So, while this isn't really anything to do with RHD, we did think it is an amazing opportunity to advertise at a great price for the exposure. If you might be interested you can email tim@cattleinmotion.com.



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Livestock Merchandising Kindle Book

Livestock Merchandising, my new book, is now available as a kindle book! How exciting to be on Amazon!


If you're a techhy person with an iPad or Kindle, you can download the book now. You can also get a good preview of the book on Amazon too and download a sample. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

New RHD site: San Pedro Ranch

San Pedro Ranch is located in Dimmitt County 30 miles South of Carrizo Springs, Texas. Five different soil types support a variety of wildlife, high-protein shrubs, forbs, and native grasses. The ranch is low fence and offers fair chase hunting opportunities in the winter for trophy and management bucks. The most scientific, state of the art wildlife management practices have given the San Pedro an outstanding reputation for producing some of the highest quality trophy deer in Texas as measured by Booneand Crocket Club.

Visit the San Pedro Ranch, and you will see approximately 300 head of hardy, gentle, registered Beefmaster cattle, genetically selected to thrive in a brittle, sometimes harsh, environment. Their own San Pedro Beefmaster bulls reflect such distinguished lineage as LBar 5502, Ranger's Pride, Casey, and Nolan Ryan bloodlines. Their heifers descend from cows who have consistently weaned a calf every year – even in difficult drought conditions.

Humane, ethical treatment of animals and conscientious care of the environment is a natural part of their lives at the San Pedro. Consequently, it was a seamless and logical decision to market our calves through the Grass-fed Livestock Alliance. Because they have selected so heavily for hearty, efficient cattle, their grass fed calves show favorable conversion ratios, high yields, and excellent grades.

At the San Pedro, they try to make the most of nature’s bounty by practicing holistic management – weighing each decision against the over-arching goal of improved native habitat and a healthier ecosystem. Please take a minute to browse their website and see why they love helping nature do what she does best.

The San Pedro Ranch represents a unique confluence of resources: geologic, riparian, biologic, herbaceous, and cultural.

The property sits on the southern edge of the Tamolipan and Chihuanhuan biotic Provinces on top of an ancient sea bed, covered with 5 different soil orders, 36 different plant communities, (many of which are transitional species) and inhabited over time by 4 distinct cultural groups. It is in the flight corridor of many migrating birds, including the Monarch butterfly and the black chinned and ruby throated hummingbirds. Because of careful attention to environmental conservation, wildlife on the San Pedro Ranch abounds with dove, quail, white-tailed deer, turkey, and other rare species such as the Texas tortoise and the Texas horned lizard. Everything depends on a healthy, diversified ecosystem, which in turn depends upon sustainable management practices.

By choosing management techniques designed to make the most of what nature provides in the South Texas brush country, the San Pedro Ranch (SPR) converts sun, soil, water, plant, and livestock resources, into a valuable food source – helping Mother Nature do what she does best.
The San Pedro Ranch represents a unique confluence of resources: geologic, riparian, biologic, herbaceous, and cultural.

The property sits on the southern edge of the Tamolipan and Chihuanhuan biotic Provinces on top of an ancient sea bed, covered with 5 different soil orders, 36 different plant communities, (many of which are transitional species) and inhabited over time by 4 distinct cultural groups. It is in the flight corridor of many migrating birds, including the Monarch butterfly and the black chinned and ruby throated hummingbirds. Because of careful attention to environmental conservation, wildlife on the San Pedro Ranch abounds with dove, quail, white-tailed deer, turkey, and other rare species such as the Texas tortoise and the Texas horned lizard. Everything depends on a healthy, diversified ecosystem, which in turn depends upon sustainable management practices.

By choosing management techniques designed to make the most of what nature provides in the South Texas brush country, the San Pedro Ranch (SPR) converts sun, soil, water, plant, and livestock resources, into a valuable food source – helping Mother Nature do what she does best.
The San Pedro Ranch represents a unique confluence of resources: geologic, riparian, biologic, herbaceous, and cultural.

The property sits on the southern edge of the Tamolipan and Chihuanhuan biotic Provinces on top of an ancient sea bed, covered with 5 different soil orders, 36 different plant communities, (many of which are transitional species) and inhabited over time by 4 distinct cultural groups. It is in the flight corridor of many migrating birds, including the Monarch butterfly and the black chinned and ruby throated hummingbirds. Because of careful attention to environmental conservation, wildlife on the San Pedro Ranch abounds with dove, quail, white-tailed deer, turkey, and other rare species such as the Texas tortoise and the Texas horned lizard. Everything depends on a healthy, diversified ecosystem, which in turn depends upon sustainable management practices.

By choosing management techniques designed to make the most of what nature provides in the South Texas brush country, the San Pedro Ranch (SPR) converts sun, soil, water, plant, and livestock resources, into a valuable food source – helping Mother Nature do what she does best.

Check out more on San Pedro Ranch

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Book Update

For the past few months I have been working steadily on my first book, Livestock Merchandising, A Complete Guide to Livestock Advertising and Promotion. Well...it's finally finished and to the printer as of today!


This book is 180 pages based on my experiences here at RHD and also at V8 Ranch.

The art and strategy of merchandising and promoting purebred livestock is one that captures the attention of many purebred livestock producers. Whether you are a seasoned producer, or just getting started, this contains the tools to create a brand identity, establish an advertising and promotion plan, or evaluate your current promotional efforts to improve sales and exposure.


Here are a few topics in the book:
• Components Used in Advertising Campaign
• Basics of Good Livestock Advertising
• Livestock Photography & Video
• Livestock Web Design
• Advertising at Shows and Sales
• Sire promotion basics
• Email Marketing and Social Media for Ranchers
• Determining an advertising budget
• The role of the showring in advertising
• Ethics in livestock advertising

And much more! The book is full of examples from my team here at RHD as well as other leading industry professionals like Christy Collins, Arin Strasburg, Julie French, Martha Garrett and more.

So how can you get one?
Hard Copy: Currently, it is being printed. So if you prefer an actual hard copy of the book, you'll have to wait about 3 weeks. We are taking pre-orders, but please note that they will not be available until after January 1.

E-Book: If you're one of those who just wants an electronic copy, you can purchase and download a PDF e-book here for $9.99.

For more advanced e-book users, it will also be available for Amazon's Kindle by December 15th.

Thanks to everyone for their support and encouragement on the book! I hope y'all like it!



Monday, December 5, 2011

Planning on projects

It's getting that time of year again! Just a reminder that we need as much advance notice as possible to complete projects. Right now we are booking projects for January. If you anticipate needing an ad, banner, sign, etc. in the month of January please contact us right away to get your project on our books. Thanks!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Schrag Family Event Sale


Join Schrag Shorthorns this Saturday in Marion, SD for the Family Event Sale. Offering Shorthorn show heifer prospects, herd sire prospects, bred females, embryos, flushes, and pregnancies. The sale features pedigrees stacked with proven cow families including Revival, Dream Lady, Augusta Pride, and Riders Rose.


And I can't resist posting this photo that Joelynn took at Louisville. Fits the "Family Event" sale name perfect! Here is Stock Show Momma Melissa Schrag, Cory Schrag, Sammi and Jaxson heading to the backdrop at Louisville. We can all see who's in charge here, and trust me....Melissa is a true cattle lady who knows her stuff! 

We love this family!

12 Days of Christmas is Underway

Well it's 9:30 a.m. and we have already started our fun filled "12 Days of Christmas" here at RHD...and we have our first winner. Hopefully today everyone can get a chance to see how the promotion will work.

1. First you have to be a fan on our facebook page. www.facebook.com/ranchhousedesigns

2. Each day (today it was first thing in the morning) Joelynn will post a Christmas trivia question, which was written by Santa Shanks. Each day there will a special prize. And here's a hint, we start small and the prizes get bigger each day! Today's prize was 250 free business cards.

The question was: "What is the name of Scrooge's dead Christmas partner?"
Answer: Jacob Marley (Scary fella)


Today's winner was the lovely and adorable Mackenzi Dorsey, who answered within 2 minutes!

For her Christmas skills, Mackenzi won the daily prize....which today was the business cards.

3. A little later in the day, we will also post a special 12 Days of Christmas coupon that can be used by ANYONE. All you have to do is print out the coupon and send it in or email it to us, or mention the coupon to claim the discount. And, in the spirit of Christmas, the coupons get better as the days go on too!

So what do you think? Fun huh? We love our friends and clients and we hope everyone enjoys this little fun way to celebrate the holidays. 

SEK Genetics

For the past few months we have had the pleasure and honor of working with Kristy and the rest of the SEK genetics crew on several projects, including producing their upcoming 2012 Sire Directory. As we began the project, Joelynn even got a chance to return to her old stomping grounds in Kansas to do a photo shoot at SEK to build an image database for their catalog and advertising campaign.

As we speak, Liz is working away fast and furious at putting the finishing touches on their new catalog, which will be ready at Denver. I took it home last night and did some final proofreading and it is always so fun to see the bulls and learn about the hottest sires in the business.



Here is one of the most recent ads we designed for SEK...and we even got Don convinced to updating the logo JUST A LITTLE BIT. :) The new logo will be in the catalog. It has been a wonderful experience working with this talented team and we are so excited to finish up the catalog so that everyone can see it!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Correct Naming of Show Awards

Since my good buddy Jeff went off on his blog about how inconsiderate it is for kids to interrupt a judge while giving reasons to shake their hand.... I felt the urge to discuss a pet peeve of MINE.

Correct naming of show awards.

I saw an article like this many years ago in the National Livestock Exhibitor, written by Eldon Miller, and it has stuck with me ever sense. In general, there is a TON of inconsistency in how people list their awards. Here is a good list to use.

SUPREME CHAMPION: This is used to identify the ONE supreme champion of the entire show. An example like this would be when all breed champions go in the ring together to compete and the judge selects the winner amongst multiple breeds.

GRAND CHAMPION: This would be used to identify the one single champion of a breed. I.e. Grand Champion Angus Heifer.

CLASS WINNER: I know some would disagree with me, but I prefer class winner...not class champion. To me the word CHAMPION should be reserved for honors higher than a class.

Now additionally, I have a personal preference on how you represent championships.

For example, if you use a caption on a photo of "Many time champion", this would refer to an animal that has been selected as Grand Champion of the entire breed 2 or more times. This is not acceptable to use for an animal that you showed for 2 years that never won anything, but you decided just to call them a "Many Time Champion" since he was on your showstring. Be honest about the awards. If he won his class a lot, call him a "Many Time Class Winner" or "Consistent Class Winner" to accurately describe the accomplishments.

National Champion. This is another one to watch. The phrase National Champion refers to the ONE grand champion of the show. The grand champion. Not the reserve. Not the class winner. A Reserve Calf Champion is not a national champion. It might be a National Reserve Division Champion -- which is very impressive in itself, but still, not a national champion.

Finally, word order is important when dealing with reserves. For example:

Reserve Grand Champion Bull
Reserve Senior Champion Bull (Not Senior Reserve Champion Bull)
2nd in class is not appropriate to say "Reserve Class Champion"

Off the soap box. For now.

Celebrations: RHD style

It's the season of love and good cheer! As the 2011 year dies down, RHD has been busier than Christmas elves with projects geared to helping our clients celebrate! There has been Christmas cards, thank you cards, wedding save-the-dates and invitations flying around like mad! But we love it!! Any chance we can get to help our clients celebrate is better than candy canes to us! Take a look at some of our favorite designs from the past few weeks....

We love the Goudeau Family so we knew this design was perfect for their fun attitudes!
Our very own Liz Tovar is getting hitched! These designs will make anyone want to get married!
Molly Jo really is the First Lady of RHD - and the cutest!!!


To have RHD help with your upcoming celebration, email tricia@ranchhousedesigns.com

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bovance $1000 scholarship available

Just rec'd via Sara Kober....

BOVANCE ANNOUNCES SECOND YEAR OF SCHOLARSHIP CONTEST

Nov. 19, 2011 -- Sioux Center, Iowa

Bovance is happy to announce the second year of their youth scholarship program, which was won by Brent Sexton from Iowa in 2011. This $1000 scholarship is open to high school seniors and college students in their first or second year of undergraduate study in an agriculture related field. Students must write an essay between 750 and 1000 words based on one of the following questions:

1. How could genetic preservation and cloning help feed the world in the years to come?

2. If you have a particular cow or bull that has contributed greatly to your herd, or the breed, explain why
would you clone her/him.

3. How could cloning be used as part of comprehensive reproductive toolbox of ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) services in a purebred or commercial operation?

4. How would you explain the benefits and safety of cloning to a consumer/friend who is questioning the value of the technology?

Entries must be received no later than March 1, 2012, with the winner being announced by April 15, 2012. The runner up will receive a free Express Tissue Bank on the animal of their choice (Value $300) and honorable mention entries will receive a certificate for $100 off a Genetic Preservation or Express Tissue Bank on the animal of their choice. All entry essays may be used in Bovance promotional materials in the future. For a submission form, please contact Diane Broek at 1-800-999-3586 or Melain Cox at 1-877-4-BOVANCE (1-877-426-8262).

Monday, November 28, 2011

12 Days of Christmas: RHD Style

Did you know that here at RHD, we are a bunch of Christmas freaks. We love it. Especially Stacey. She would wear a Santa hat every day if she could!

So in honor of this special time, we are excited to announce a HUGE promotion we will have going on from December 1 to 16....The 12 Days of Christmas RHD Style!

 2011 has been an amazing year for us. Each year we keep saying it was our "best year ever" and once again, we have been really blessed with our "best year ever" in 2011.

Our customers and our fans make our success possible, without a doubt. So we have come up with the 12 Days of Christmas, RHD Style, to reward and thank those who make RHD a success.

So here's how it works.

1. First, you must be a fan of our facebook page. Click here to join and "Like" our page.

2. Each work day, (no weekends) we will be giving away two types of prizes. First, we will have a daily Christmas trivia question. The first person to answer the question correctly will win the prize for that day. The prizes start small and build up to the grand finale prize on the 12th day.

3. While only one person wins the daily prize, each day we will also be posting a special "12 Days of Christmas" Coupon that ANY of our fans can print off and use for our services here at RHD. Each day will be different. You'll have 1 week to book a project and claim the coupon.

And we promise, the prizes aren't going to be chinchy little things like a free koozie. They are going to be stuff you will LOVE!!!!

Watch for the First Day of Christmas....Thursday, December 1st.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!
and Remember..JESUS is the Reason For the Season!!!

LOVE Y'ALL!

Best of the Barns "Too Close to Calls"

With just a few days left in our 2011 Best of the Barns voting, we have about 14 categories that are literally just too close to call!! In these categories, there are less than 20 votes separating the contestants! So I know you have an opinion on who the best of these are....go vote!

A few reminders, you don't have to vote for every category, you can just pick the ones that are important to you.

You DO however have to enter your email address, and your vote only counts once per email address. Yes, we do have some people who are trying to spam and vote for themselves 100 times. This is the only fair way to do it. If you don't provide an email address, your vote doesn't count.

Here are the categories that are in a dead heat:

  • Best Cattle Blog (Question 5)
  • Best Ranch Facebook Page (Question 6)
  • Best Ranch Website (Question 9)
  • Best Sale Catalog (Question 12)
  • Best Online Auction Service (Question 26)
  • Best University Animal Science Program (Question 29)
  • Best University Livestock Judging Program (Question 31)
  • Best Feed Supplier (Question 35)
  • Best Show Awards (Question 37)
  • Best On Farm Photographer (Question 40)
  • Best Educational Clinic (Question 45)
  • Best Video Production Company (Question 47)
  • Best Boar Stud (Question 48)
  • Best Sheep Magazine (Question 53)
Go to http://www.bestofthebarns.com/ to vote!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful 2011

This year's Thankgiving blog from RHD:

I'm Thankful For...
-the wife who says "it's hot dogs tonight", because it means she is home with me and not out with someone else.

- the husband who is on the sofa being a couch potato because he is home with me and not out at the bars.

- the teenager who is complaining about doing dishes because it means she is at home, not on the streets.

- the taxes I pay, because it means I am employed.

- the mess to clean after a party because it means i have been surrounded by friends.

- the clothes that fit a little too tightly because it means I have enough to eat.

- my a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing because it means that I have a house.

- all of the complaining I hear about the government, because it means we have freedom of speech.

- the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means I am capable of walking and have been blessed with transportation.

- my huge heating bill, because it means I am warm.

- the pile of laundry and ironing because it means I have clothes to wear.

- aching muscles at the end of the day, because it means I am capable of working hard.

- the alarm that goes off early in the morning, because it means I am alive.

"In everything give thanks" - 1st Thessalonians 5:18

-  Reprinted from Abell Street Church of Christ House to House, Heart to Heart. http://www.housetohouse.com/
Originally written by Francse Shipp, Weaver, Alabama

Monday, November 21, 2011

Denver Sign Orders

If you've been to any of the big shows this fall, chances are you noticed some of the awesome work of RHD in many areas. But one of our most popular services during this time of year is stall signs. We offer stall signs of all shapes and sizes and these are a necessity for every farm or ranch taking cattle to Denver, or any show for that matter.

We finally broke down and got some new signs for V8 Shorthorns for Louisville....and I couldn't believe how many people said how they loved the signs. They also commented on how easy it was to spot our stalls because the signs stood out so much. Now, if only I can get my dad convinced to get away from the handwritten signs we use in our Brahman showstring. I doubt that will ever happen honestly.


As we've been really hammering lately in our own ads, projects like these are where our practical expertise of the cattle business really give us an advantage. We know how to do the best livestock signs because, well, hmm, I've only hung up literally thousands of these in my lifetime as the official sign hanger (or assistant sign hanger to my dad) on the V8 showstring for the past 20 years.

I know Denver isn't quite on everyone's minds yet, but we are steadily working on Denver sign orders. Don't wait til the last minute because Denver projects are harder than normal show orders because we have the holidays of Christmas and New Years in the mix and that causes delays in shipping.

Probably the easiest thing to do is just fax us a copy of your show entries, and then we'll get to work. We also have a $500 package available that includes a banner and end panel signs. We look forward to talking with you and doing your signs!

10 Commandments of Showing

While I was working on some stuff for my new book, my dad offered me to go through his collection of old articles about showing that he had collected through the years. It's like Christmas in November getting to go through all the old stuff. One of my favorites I came across...a clipping called:



"The Ten Commandments For Parents of Kids Showing Beef Cattle"

by Clyde D Lane, Jr., Extension Specialist at the University of Tennessee

1. Thou shall NOT feed, train, and care for the animal...for you are trying to teach children responsibility.


2. Thou shall forgive a child for making mistakes in the showring...for you have made mistakes too.

3. Thou shall NOT get mad when the child forgets items in the showbox...for one day you might forget the whole showbox.

4. Thou shall help the show management. They are doing a good job at a job you would not want to do.

5. Thou shall see that your child is on time for all show activities, for you would not want to wait on another.

6. Thou shall be sure that your child has the animals entered and the registration papers in order at the designated time.

7. Thou shall teach the child that winning a blue ribbin is a desirable goal, but making friends along the way is a much more worthy goal.

8. Thou shall NOT complain about the judge, for it is his opinion that has been sought that day.

9. Thou shall remember that livestock projects are teaching projects...not necessarily money-making projects.

10. Thou shall remember that the livestock project is a family project that should be enjoyed and supported by the entire family.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Christmas Gifts from RHD

Is it just me, or does it seem like it gets harder and harder to get gifts for those people in our lives that seem to have EVERYTHING already! Or, to find something unique? It never fails that year in and year out, lots of our livestock friends turn to RHD to help them come up with something really cool for Christmas designs.

Last year, one of our hardest kept secrets was the Christmas gift of a blog header design that Jon Blin gave to Crystal Young.

Barn banners are another really popular Christmas gift, like these shown here at Tusa Cattle.



In some cases, we have even done websites as a Christmas gift! The way we have found it works best is that you go ahead and book the website before Christmas. We will put up a special message like "Merry Christmas Dad...Welcome to your new web site to be designed by RHD" on the web site home page. On Christmas, you can tell the person to go to http://www.yourranch.com/ where they will see the special message. This is really cool and always is an exciting gift!

Another cool thing we have done is special photo collages mounted on canvas or gallery wrap. These are really neat too. We did one of these for the Klug family last year and they loved it.

So while it's never too early for Christmas gifts, there is a time when you can be too late. We need to get to work on Christmas items right away, preferably by December 1st.

Also if you are looking for some great unique items, visit these client web sites:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How well connected is your website?

How well connected is your website? The number of sites that link to your web site is one of the factors that helps boost your search engine ranking. We offer a great directories package that will link your site on all of the following directories that are applicable to your business for one low price of $50.


Click here to add your website to our listings.  We will add your listing to all applicable sites that you qualify for. For example, a Shorthorn breeder from Texas would qualify to be listed on all three sites....where a Hereford breeder from Oklahoma would be listed on Show to Win only.

Also, one of the many perks of being an RHD customer is that all of our website clients automatically get free links on these sites. If we can help you with a new website or give you a bid for a new look on your existing website, please give us a call.

PS - We say "many perks" because there are actually several. Be sure to ask us about our partnershp incentives to being an RHD customer.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New RHD Promo Video

We are really proud to unveil our new RHD promotional video! Thanks to Ideal Video Productions for making this for us. Take a look and meet the RHD team, plus learn a little more about our services.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Want to see what we can whip up in 10 minutes?

Okay, maybe we shouldn't have posted the blog yesterday about doing rush signs for Eby Ranch on their way to Louisville. I like a design challenge, but today was cutting it a little close!

So this morning, I get an email from our longtime customer Kyle Conley, saying they need a sire postcard for Louisville, and he needs it by Saturday. I immediately begin racking my brain trying to think of a printer I can use that can do a 1 day turnaround and overnight ship to Louisville.  It's going to be tight, but we try to do anything we can to help our customers, so I got to work.

Fast forward to 2:50 p.m., when we receive the sire photo from Kyle and the bull information. I begin downloading the picture while Tricia calls up our printer - the lovely Donna at Tops Printing - and asks if they can do the project for us.

Donna's response: If you can have it to me in 5 minutes.

PANIC.

So I get to work. I called Kyle and said, I have to have it to the printer in 5 minutes, and you're going to have to trust me on this design ha ha!

So here we go....not too shabby for something that took me 5 minutes to design....





By the way, if you like the bull, they are selling something on him in the Angus Finals sale in Vegas. I know that sounds pathetic that I don't know the exact detail of what they are selling -- syndication possibly?? -- but keep in mind we were on a short time frame and Kyle and I didn't have that much time to chit chat. HA.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Christmas Card Pricing

We have had a lot of customers asking about pricing for Christmas Cards, so we thought it would be easier just to publish the price list. We have two options for cards, our basic and our premium options. The basic options are printed on the clients choice of either matte or gloss finish. The premium options can be printed in matte, gloss, metallic shimmer, and also have special cutout shapes.



For these custom designed cards, we need 2 weeks for design, printing and shipping. So it's never too early to start planning.

For those clients on a shorter time frame, or looking for a less expensive option, try http://www.rhdinvitations.com/ and browse around. If we can help you with your cards just give us a call!

Denver Bull Banners Underway

Does everyone have Denver bull banners on their mind or what? Seems like over the past 3 days we have gotten a ton of calls about Denver bull banners! And in fact, we've even got a few either already printed or almost approved and ready to be printed. Way to go everyone for being so ahead of schedule!

Here is one that is a 4x4 banner that Liz designed this week for TX Enterprises in North Carolina.


We have a great sire package that includes pretty much everything one needs for a bull promotion. Due to confidentiality we don't publically put all of the details online, but we are more than happy to discuss it with anyone who is interested. This package is good for bulls of all breeds, not just club calf bulls.

So we are getting excited! Creating unique ads and promotions for bulls is one of our favorite things to do here at RHD! Give us a call at 979-532-9141 and we would be happy to talk with you about how we can help you!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Christmas Cards

If you read yesterday's post, you noticed we were saying how suprising it is that we've already been working on Denver bull banners for this year. Well, another one of those things that's quickly sneaking upon us is CHRISTMAS!

For the past several years we have done a ton of custom Christmas cards for our friends both in Wharton and for many of our club calf friends nationwide. One of our subsidiary businesses is Ranch House Invitations, in which we offer cards, party invitations, graduation invitations, shower invites, wedding invitations, save the dates, and much more.

We can work with you in a variety of ways. First, for the most affordable option, you can upload your own photos and order instantly online through our 2 catalog affiliations available here. You can have your photos ready, choose your design, upload, and order. It's easy and still very customizable.

The next option is to have RHD design your Christmas card from scratch. This option is a bit more expensive (averages about $2.50 per card) but gives you a ton of options like specialty cutout shapes, metallic finish, and more. For this option, just email us your photos and we will get to work on a custom design. For our clients in the Wharton area, we are happy to recommend any of our very talented local area photographers, or get one of our 2 staff photographers (Stacey or Joelynn) to take your photos for you for a small additional fee.

Here are a few examples of our cards from last year....

This was Rachel & Brandon's card, it was a custom design (of course with a Brahman on it) and was a 5x7 flat card with the shimmer finish.


The best card of the Wharton area for 2010!! This was the Gertson family card and it was a 5x5 tri-fold card. It included a shimmer finish, and we also did the family photography for this card.

Here's one we did for the Hoskins family of Beeville. They were running a little late, so they opted for a Happy New Year card.

The Locke family of Wharton used a 5x7 folded card so they could include a letter and recap from 2010. This was a great design that featured bragging rights on all of their wonderful grandkids.


John and Salina Locke of Wharton also sent out a 5x7 flat card with the shimmer finish. This card featured a custom poem written by John's sisters to announce the birth of their daughter in conjunction with their holiday card.


Another awesome design for 2010. This was Stacey's family card and it featured a 5x5 square design with a special scalloped cutout shape and shimmer metallic finish.

While this one is more ranchy, here's a custom card we created for the Scarmardo's to send out to their cattle industry clients. We can easily work up custom designs for any design preference. It doesn't always have to be red and green!

Call us today for pricing, 979-532-9141 or email rachel@ranchhousedesigns.com


Monday, October 31, 2011

Sire Promotion Packages

Can you believe it's already time to start thinking about sire promotion for 2012? Well, if it makes it seem any more real, we've already started on the promotions for two bulls headed to Denver. So it's definitely time.

As always we are offering a total package deal for sire promotions. We have offered this service for the past 6 years and it just makes the whole sire promotion project easy when working with one place to handle everything. And, in the spirit of competition, we think you will be very pleased with our pricing this year! We have worked hard to find top quality new vendors and 'beef up' our services so to speak to provide the most comprehensive sire promotion package we can offer. And, the pricing is actually LOWER than last year's pricing!

So, we can't divulge all the details, but if you have a bull to promote, you'll definitely want to give us a call!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Some Old Favorites

Today at RHD we were doing a mass office clean out and decided that since our file cabinets were stuffed to the max (which is a great problem to have) that we should go through and clean out our old projects that were done more than 5 years ago and had a low likelihood of people needing to re-order.

But, I'm a big softie, and there were just a few projects that I couldn't bear myself to throw away. It seems like just yesterday I designed these and anxiously awaited for them to come out in magazines! It also amazed me at how far we've come in our design capability since then. When these ads came out, if you remember, these were far and away the BEST ads in any magazine. They stood out, they were different, and they got people talking. But by today's standards, while the design components are still excellent, we can do SO much more in terms of graphics.

These are a few ads that really were special to me  because they were some of the first ads I did and always give me a smile when I think about where we started, and how far we've come! Hope you enjoy!

"The Old Lady Bingo Ad"


Anyone remember this one? When this ad came out, people were completely taken in shock! This was before people really knew about stock photo services and everyone kept asking who this lady was! We started lots of rumors...it was my grandmother, Matt's grandmother, Tyler Melroe's girlfriend....etc. It was a lot of fun and was one of the most talked about ads at that time.


"The Sweaty Tattoo Guy"
This is another one that appeared in the State Fair publications and this one was part of a 3 page foldout for Richey Brothers. This was the page that you first saw before you folded it out. We got in trouble over this oen! Not from Shane, but lots of people complained that it was too "edgy" for a youth publication because the guy was scary and had a tattoo. Even today, that sweat dripping off his face is sick.



"Third Place Ribbon"

This ad appeared in the Pacific Showcase and was a perfect ad for this young client who wasn't lacking in self confidence. It was simple and direct and lots of people loved this one. The only thing, unfortunately, one of his best steers got 3rd place at the California State Fair that year. Karma? Oops.


"The Road Sign"

This was our first ad to design for a show cattle client, and probably the ad that started it all. Looking at it now, you wouldn't think this ad was anything fantastic. Nice yes, but not something that would inspire you or change the way that every other livestock ad designer did ads. But this one did! This ad was the beginning of creating ads with large visual images OTHER THAN CATTLE. This is your classic Ogilvy design format, with the headline, text, photos, and call to action...but up until that point that design strategy had never really been adapted to the club calf arena. This ad was on the back cover of several major club calf magazines and it was described as so "Different" and "Cool" at that time.


"The Crazy Eye"


How many times have you seen this crazy green eye spring up in a club calf or show pig publication in the past 5 years. Well, here was the first time it was used and the design that inspired others. This was another part of the Richey's ad campaign that was so "edgy" for the time. Believe it or not, some people during this time (remember it was the early 2000s) thought this ad was too scary too! Ha!


"Bleedin Purple"

Bleedin' Purple is one of my most treasured ads because Bleedin' Purple was the first sire I ever represented at RHD and was the first sire ad and bull banner I ever designed. This whole project came about during the Arizona National Livestock Show while Matt and Phil were relaxin at Phoenix and needed a bull banner designed for Denver just a few weeks away. I FAXED the design proof to their hotel in Phoenix. Again, by todays standards, it isn't too fancy. But at that time, this banner and ad was all the rage. Notice the purple shavings in the bottom corner of the ad. That was because Matt had the bulls shavings at Denver died purple. Pretty commonplace now, but again, at that time, it was new and something that had never been done. I also loved this picture, I thought it was one of Dave Sinclair's best bull photos.


I hope you enjoyed these flashbacks as much as I did. Even though they are nearly 10 years old, they are definitely projects I am proud of today and help remind me of the many wonderful clients and bulls we have worked with in our rich history here at RHD.


Monday, October 24, 2011

More Pinterest Quotes

Here's a few more of our recent favorite quotes that we'll post for your pinning pleasure :)





Thursday, October 20, 2011

New RHD Site: Crestview Commodites

Founded in 1942, Crestview Farms has been a grain operation since the beginning. They strive to take good care of their own land and the ground that their landlords have trusted us with for many years. They grow mostly corn, soybeans and wheat, and also grow hay for their cattle operation.

Crestview Commodities would like to help your farming operation by assisting you with your grain marketing. Whether you have 500 bushels or 500,000 bushels, Crestview Commodities will help you find the best deal available for your Corn and Soybeans.

They take pride in their daily work of providing food for the world, not only through their grain farm, but also our livestock operations. Farming is a challenge, but it’s something they enjoy each day. It’s a way of life they all appreciate and wouldn’t trade for anything. If you are a landowner, Crestview Farms welcomes the opportunity to talk with you about taking care of your land in the future.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New RHD Site: Ratcliff Ranches

Ratcliff Ranches is a commercial and registered Angus and SimAngus seedstock producer and cow/calf operation. The Ranch, headquartered in Vinita, Okla., is always growing and changing its interests to fit today’s cattle market and consumer needs. With its 25,000 owned acres and an additional 10,000 leased acres, the ranch currently runs over 5,000 cows. The Ranch is comprised of five ranches located in NE Oklahoma and one ranch in SE Kansas.

Owned by the J.L. Ratcliff Family, the Ranch is committed to improving their genetics and utilizing cutting-edge tools, like the Pfizer 50K Genomic test as another opportunity to capitalize on an already solid genetic program.


Their goal is to provide ourselves, as well as beef customers, more pounds of beef with fewer head of cattle, which can only be achieved by selective genetics and disciplined breeding strategies.

Every rancher has a set of genetics, the difference between Ratcliff Ranches and the average rancher, is their genetic base and the determination they have to build the ideal genetic make-up of an animal.

In addition, they also have a commitment to animal health and humane handling practices. All of their cattle are on a strict Pfizer health protocol. Most are processed using the Blackwell facility, which is designed by Temple Grandin, who is well known for her efforts and expertise in humane animal handling practices.

Ratcliff Ranches encourage you to visit them anytime you are in the area. Their door is always open!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pinterest

By now, basically everyone at RHD has become addicted to Pinterest, thanks to a recommendation from Brandi Bourg. What is Pinterest? It's a virtual pinboard where you can share recipes, DIY tips, interior design, crafts, fashion, photography, quotes, wedding ideas, home improvement ideas, books, and more. It's a brand new addiction for all of us ladies on the internet!

You can "pin" and "re-pin" things from others on Pinterest, and it's a great way to collect ideas of things you like, and things you WISH you had time to do ha ha.

One of the things we really like about Pinterest is all of the inspiring quotes. So, we decided since we have the capability of creating graphics, we are going to waste more time contribute to the Pinterest community by creating graphic versions of a few of our quotes so our friends and followers can re-pin. Here are two of our favorites....first, the Code of the West, which are part of our guiding principles of how we do things here at RHD.


And our second one, in honor of Dr. Brandi Bourg, since she's the one who got us all started on this. We thought this one was a good one for her. This quote is also hanging in the house of my good friend Salina Locke (who's a nurse) and who's husband is a rancher. If I can find one for my house I'm getting one too! :)



So enjoy, and watch for more, and start pinning away.

P.S., If you're not on Pinterest, and want an invite to join, email rachel@ranchhousedesigns.com or liz@ranchhousedesigns.com and we'll send you an invitation from our account.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Web Turnaround Time for September

It probably seems like us posting these numbers get old....since every month after month after month it's always so fast. But we still like keeping our current clients, and also potential future clients, informed about our service time.

For the month of September, we did 409 web site updates. These were done in an average time of 1 hour and 20 minutes from when the client sent it in to us!

All of our web sites come standard with unlimited updates of text and photos, because we believe it is extremely important to keep your web site current...even if it's just a little text update. So keep sending the updates in, and we'll keep punching em out....quickly and accurately -- it's what we do best!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What makes a great livestock ad?

Ever wonder what makes a great livestock ad? Since 1999, we've designed some of the cattle business's most memorable and well known livestock ad campaigns for the various clients we have the honor to work with. Rachel Cutrer shares the RHD philosophy on the four most important components of making a great livestock ad!


Thanks to Ideal Video Productions for working with us on this project!

Georgia National Fair

Lots of the RHD team will be out and about this week and next at different shows, sales, and events.

We are really excited to be represented at the Georgia National Fair by our RHD Rep Reba Hicks. Reba Hicks represents Alabama and the southeastern U.S. She attends Auburn University (WAR EAGLE!) and is a senior majoring in Animal Sciences.

More than likely, Reba will be around the Chi cattle, since she is a past member of the Jr. Chi board and was their national queen.

You can't miss Reba since she's always wearing a big smile, has a friendly word for everyone, and is unmistakeable with that red hair!

So look for Reba and feel free to talk with her about any of the projects going on at RHD and how we can help you. We're always booking new web sites, with pricing starting at $400. She can also tell you about some specials to help you save money on your print advertising campaigns by using RHD for all of your print+web services.


We'll also be "un-officially" represented at the Georgia National by dear old dad, Jim Williams, who'll be there judging. And we can always count on him to give a good word for RHD.

Also this week, Joelynn will be at the State Fair of Texas, so watch for her. Though you'll have to look for her in disguise, since she'll probably be behind the camera.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New RHD Site: Burns Farm

For more than 50 years, Burns Farm has been producing registered horned Hereford that excel in both phenotypic and genotypic qualities. Their goal is to produce cattle that make a profit for them and for their customers. All of the cattle have complete performance and carcass data.

Raising and marketing of beef cattle has been a part of the family heritage for decades. The site in Pikeville, TN was settled by Randel and Helen Burns in 1947. Their registered Hereford cow herd started with the initial investment in two Hereford heifers purchased at the Duck River Hereford Association sale in 1953 as a 4-H project for Phillip. Later, Hereford females were purchased for Joe. The brothers worked together for decades to cultivate and develop reliable, efficient, and easily manageable cattle that will work in virtually any beef cattle operation. Phillip and Joe are both recognized cattlemen, proudly serving in multiple cattle associations over time. In addition to many other appointments, Phillip served as the president of the American Hereford Association and Joe has served on the board of directors for the Tennessee Cattleman’s Association and the Bredley/Bledsoe Farmers Coop. Joe is currently an Animal Health Inspector for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. Phillip’s children (Joe, David, and Sarah) and Joe’s sons (Walter and Sam) were blessed to grow up with exposure and involvement in the cattle industry and specifically, Herefords. David currently serves as manager for the business. Burns Farms historically ran all sales by private treaty. In 2009, they held their first annual bull sale and in 2011 began their female production sales. Extensive individual records have always been kept for the cow herd, both registered and commercial, with rigid culling for predictable performance. There is focus on use of genetic and estimated progeny difference information, phenotypic evaluation, and optimal nutrition to promote growth and development of high quality bulls and cows. Burns Farm is proud to offer ready-to-work Hereford bulls, as well as excellent females, both Hereford and black baldies. Thank you for coming to the site, please contact them with any questions or interest.

Book your Louisville stall signs TODAY!

The North American International Livestock Expo is just around the corner. With that said, if you haven't booked your stall sign designs yet, now is the time. We will be taking new banner, sign, pedigree and end panel projects until October 10th.

Here are some samples of our sign and banner work!

Fischer Cattle Company End Panel

Purple Reign Pedigree Signs 

Reimann Ranches, 4x8 Denver Bull Display Banner
  
The American Shorthorn Association,  4x8 Banner


Email tricia@ranchhousedesigns or joelynn@ranchhousedesigns.com today to book you NAILE signage! To view more samples of our work visit the Stock Show Signs web site

Bookin' Blogs!

Ranch House Designs does so much more than just your every day website or print ad. We also pride our designers in helping businesses generate interest through their blogs! With numerous headers already created by our talented team, we would love to help boost the look of your blog!

Here is a new blog client of ours. Little House on the Horizon is blog all about young people trying to build their lives through ranching. It's really a neat blog that I suggest everyone check out!

Blogging is a simple way to connect with those around you, while still keeping a level of personal style. We love being able to help design new customer's pages - not just because designing is what we do, but because it is so interesting to learn what our clients are doing in their lives!

To book your blog header or page design, email joelynn@ranchhousedesigns.com

Monday, October 3, 2011

New RHD Site: Whitestone Farm

A world-class breeder of Registered Performance Angus Cattle, Whitestone Farm has been an industry leader for 30 years. Their premium genetics have been sold across the nation and in more than 15 countries worldwide.

Whitestone Farm actively inventories 1,200 head of registered Angus and is comprised of some 2,200 acres of leased and owned land. Located just outside the village of historic Aldie, Virginia, the farm implements a fine-tuned breeding program which continues to perform year after year.

Whitestone's philosophy is simple: to raise quality Angus breeding genetics that will work in all segments of the beef cattle industry. Although Whitestone embraces and accepts new technology to enhance their Angus breed, their farm still uses the same tried and true practices that they have for 30 years. The result is superior Angus, bred with a personal touch.

Their Brand of Quality and their commitment to customer service has enabled them to retain loyal customers and friends for decades, as well as secure new customers each year. Over the years Whitestone has sold hundreds of bulls to commercial and purebred breeders throughout the United States and Canada. They have also sold and/or leased numerous bulls to major AI stud companies worldwide. Whitestone's vast customer base is built on trust and the confidence that Whitestone genetics are a sound investment.

At Whitestone, Bulls Are Their Business. They welcome your visit, and look forward to exceeding your expectations

Friday, September 30, 2011

New Web Site: Bollum Family Shorthorns!

Bollum Family Shorthorns is a 5th generation family farm located east of Goodhue, Minnesota where the original Bollum’s settled in 1863. Shorthorns were used here from the very beginning because of their dual purpose traits. A pure beef herd was started in the late 1930’s as Henry and Curtiss began showing purebred cattle as part of their 4-H projects.


The cattle operation today consists of 75 purebred Shorthorn females and 40 commercial females used as recipients in the farm’s Embryo Transplant program. While their careers took them away from the farm during the week, their father continues to manage the day-to-day cattle and cropland responsibilities. Weekends are busy as the rest of the family comes back home to farm. Their collective goal has been to produce sound, functional cattle that will be profitable for purebred and commercial cattlemen alike.

Don't miss Bollum Family Shorthorn's Harvast Round-Up Sale on October 16th. This year's offering looks better than ever!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Baby Joelynn

We couldn't resist posting this adorable photo of Joelynn Donough. Who would have thought that one day this adorable little girl with the camera around her neck would be helping photograph at Denver!!  We loved this picture and had to share.


Oh, and we couldn't resist these two either. Apparantely this was Joelynn's "go to" outfit for shows. Not judging. My very own go to outfit at that time included turquoise Rockies, a holstein print shirt, and a leather velcro collar with fringe and conchos. I'll try to find a photo of THAT gorgeous outfit.



Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New RHD Site: Midnight Genetics!

Welcome to Midnight Genetics located just south of the red river in Howe, Texas. Though this is only their second year of operation, the genetic base and sow herd has tripled in number and quality. The crew at Midnight Genetics strive to produce hogs with a productive, useful built that will provide the look of quality that no judge can ignore. With recent champion banners coming for the 2011 National Western Stock Show, that quality goes without saying.

Whether you are in the market for hamps, crossbred, yorks, berks or even chesters, let Midnight Genetics help you with you next champion. They breed to farrow their 25 litters for late summer, through September so they are ready for any winter or Texas Major. The herd's genetics are based primarily on Mike Clay genetics and most lines consist of Warfare daughters. But come see for yourself, success can be found with Midnight Genetics!

Click here to visit this site!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New RHD Site: Circle T Cattle Company

Circle T Cattle Company is proudly owned and operated by three generations of the Thibodeaux Family!

Located in Church Point, Louisiana, they are known as "La place de bons voche"....the place for good cattle! The family are bonded order buyers of calves, yearlings, recipient cows, replacement heifers and stocker calves. They are also proud to raise registered red and grey Brahman cattle. The Thibodeaux family strive to produce cattle that are genetically sound and phenotypically superior. One of our proudest moments was exhibiting the 2011 International Champion Red Brahman Female, CT Lady Rhineaux Ray 8/9.

Circle T Cattle Company functions as family. Every member of the family has their individual responsibilities that join together to make our business a success. Just as the cattle business is a way of life for them so is the Cajun way. This hard-working Cajun heritage is extremely important to the family, especially since only a few generations ago, the Thibodeaux’s still spoke French. These family values and way of life has been passed onto the current generation. From constant prayer to minding their manners, this crew has been a great success both in and out of the ring.

Give them a call or stop by the ranch and see what’s new at Circle T. Check their sale listings page for current cattle listings, and if they can help you in any way, let them know!

Monday, September 19, 2011

RHD Partners with Showtimes Magazine

Ranch House Designs, Inc. is pleased to announce a new partnership with The Showtimes Magazine, a nationwide junior livestock publication owned by Brian, Lisa and Laurie Reid of Colorado. The Showtimes Jr. Livestock Magazine was established in February 2007. Celebrating their 5 year anniversary in spring 2012, the publication now has a circulation of just over 8,000.

Since RHD started in 1999, many people have asked us why we don't start a youth livestock magazine. There were three primary reasons we did not ever pursue this venture. First, we felt that the market already contained many credible show publications, including many that RHD maintains a close professional relationship with including The Showbox or Purple Circle magazine. Cherie Carrabba was my first "boss" in this field and continues to be a mentor to me. I would never in my life dream of starting a business to compete with the person that taught me the foundation of what I know.

Second, we enjoy the option of being selective on who we work with, and having a small enough client base to maintain our elite level of service and personal attention. We felt that if we were to pursue a monthly magazine, that our work would become too generic and that we would lose that exclusivity that people enjoy by working with us.  We like being able to choose what clients we work with, and being able to devote the extra time needed to make their projects the best.

Third, we have always believed that you pick a FEW services and be the ABSOLUTE BEST at providing that service....instead of providing mediocre service on 50 products. It's kind of the mentality of I'd rather have 5 of the best donor cows in the world than 500 sale barn cows.

However, we do feel that we are able to offer our clients incentives and benefits by forming strategic alliances with the best service providers in the industry. For example, we do not offer online sales but we enjoy recommending our clients to Live Auctions or Cattle in Motion. We do not offer livestock videos but we recommend folks like Maximum Exposure.

With all that being sald, we are very pleased to announce a new partnership between RHD and The Showtimes. Since 2005, RHD has worked very closely with this outstanding publication through web design, editorial, and advertising. Quality and integrity were the two biggest factors in our decision to align with this publication. We have admired the work of the Reid family for their excellence in junior livestock coverage, and also their business integrity. When browsing through their publication, you'll find page after page of motivational, uplifting, encouraging articles designed to instill good old fashioned American values into youth readers. We love it! The magazine is published 6 times a year, entirely in full color. All show results are in full color as well. Each issue contains several extremely interesting stores including youth spotlights, judges articles, and more.

Ranch House Designs, Inc. will represent The Showtimes Magazine and also frequently provides the magazine with editorial content and advertising collaboration. This new teamwork partnership also brings several benefits to Ranch House Designs clients. If you're a client, watch for our October mail out which will contain exciting details of this new venture! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Christy Collins

This week's partner spotlight is someone I greatly admire: Christy Collins.

I can't remember exactly when this memory occured, but I know it was probably at least 15 years ago. We had a Shorthorn bull that we raised here at V8 Ranch named "Bonfire." Well, okay, that reminds me. It would have been like in 1997ish because we named him that while I was a student at A&M because he was out of my old show heifer. People who attended the Illinois State Fair around that time might also remember him from the notorious "Illinois State Fair Bull Fight" in which Bonfire tore down the showring, and blew up the lassie queen's skirt as she hopped over the fence. HA! Truthfully, the story on that was that he had never been shown before - he was never intended to be shown. But Don Cagwin, one of the owners, kept insisting we start showing him. So he was halterbroke and stuff later in life, and showed, and won Louisville. Good foresight by Mr. Cagwin.

Anyway, that story does have a relevant point to this topic. My dad knew Bonfire was the best bull we had raised at that time, and so Don Cagwin purchased an interest in the bull as well as several other promiment breeders. Now keep in mind this was BEFORE I started doing advertising. I will never forget my - almost stalker-ish - excitement when my dad told me that we were possibly going to hire CHRISTY COLLINS to do the pictures of Bonfire. THIS was when I knew we were talking BIG TIME here! Christy Collins to do our picture!!!

Well, actually, that deal never panned out on working with Christy - not her fault, we just went another direction. But, we felt it was a huge honor that Christy would even consider taking on our bull. I had seen her photos and ad design throughout all of the magazines and I was interested in advertising - though I never really knew to what extent at that time - and I was so excited at the possibility to get to work with her.

Later that year, my dad saw Christy at Denver, and mentioned to her that I was interested in web design. She offered that if I wanted to come job shadow her to learn about ad design, I was more than welcome. Um, hi, I should have DEFINITELY done that. But, I didn't. (Note to young professionals, if Christy, or me, or anyone else you hold in high regard ever makes you that offer, TAKE IT!)

Well though the years, I have continued my great admiration for Christy's work. Not only is she, in my opinion, the greatest club calf bull photographer ever, but she is also one of the best ad designers, catalog designers, sale managers, everything. No matter what she does, she does it with professionalism and CLASS.

I absolutely love it when I get to do an ad using photos taken by Christy. Probably my all time favorite would be the Heat Wave photo. Which I just realized you can order a really cool poster about Heat Wave. While we worked with Lautner Farms, I probably used that image in over 250 ads. I still smile every time I see that Heat Wave photo. Invincible's photo is probably another one of my all time favorites.  Paddy O'Malley, Irish Whiskey, Habanero, all greats.

Despite all of her professional success in advertising, probably the thing that I admire most about Christy, is that she lives the cattle business every day. In a recent email conversation we had, we both were talking about how we would actually prefer to be working in a cow pasture than being in front of a computer on most days. She "gets" it. I "get" it. I think that's why we are both so successful in working with ranchers, because we know that business. Heck I am saving every penny we make from RHD right now to use to buy hay to get through winter. I'm sure Christy has done the same through the years. But, we both knew we wanted a viable business to help us remain involved in the cattle industry, and her camera and my computer helped us get there. She blazed the trail that I, along with many other young women, have been able to follow.

I don't mean for this to seem bragging, but lots of young ladies tell me that they look up to me, and aspire to have their own "Ranch House Designs" one day. That makes me so happy to be a positive role model for young ladies in the cattle business. Whenever I go to do guest lectures at schools in animal science classes, all the students think that I was the first person to start this niche of professional advertising in the livestock - and maybe more specifically - the club calf business.

But they are wrong. Christy Collins started this career path for many young ladies to follow, and today, she is still at the top. There's a quote on the front page of her new web site that says "Beginning is easy. Continuing hard.". I love it. I'd have to say, Christy, you have succeeded!