Thursday, July 28, 2011

Best of the Barns Awards 2011 are about to begin!

It’s that time of the year again. Summer is coming to a close, schools are about to re-open, some relief from the heat is in sight, and most importantly show season is about to be in full swing!! With that said, it is time once again for the Best of the Barns voting to take place. As many of you can remember from last year, Best of the Barns highlights... Well… the best of the barns! With categories like ‘Best Junior Livestock Magazine’ and 'Best Cattle Blog’, industry leaders were given exposure and recognition for all of their hard work.

This year marks the Second Annual Best of the Barns, and the categories have gotten even better! With the edition of over 30 new nomination areas, voters can really pick their favorite for everything! Some of our new categories include ‘Best Sheep Judge’, ‘Best State Fair’, ‘Best Livestock Judging Program’, and even ‘Best Purebred Cattle Marketing Firm’. Also, this year we have added an open nomination area. If you think we missed a major category or topic, tell us! Create a category and cast a nomination!

Nominations will be opening Monday, August 1st and will last until October 15th. After we have collected all the nomination forms, we will post the final list for voting. From November 1st until December 1st, you will be able to cast your vote on the categories’ favorites. The winners of each category will be featured in the January edition of the Showbox.

To view some of the categories before nominations can be cast, visit and remember to ‘like’ Best of the Barns on facebook!

.CO Domains

28Over the weekend I read a twitter post about how Google had recently purchased and the importance of short links to web site URLs. I'd been seeing the .co domain names pop up here and there but after reading the article I went ahead and purchased ( was $4900) and a few others to have access to.

Then after working with the Ideal Video team, I noticed they are also using a short url of - compared to their full URL of

I'd be interested to hear Jeff's ('s take on the .co domain names too.

So, anyway, clearly shortening your URLs is an item that is going to be necessary for the future. If you would like us to check into registering some shortened versions of your URL, just let us know.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Successful Summer for RHD clients!

The Junior Nationals session has officially come to an end. This year, Ranch House Designs’ clients SHINED! We are so excited for our juniors and congratulate them on their successes. With that said, we will be featuring some of our clients and their genetics that really rose to the top this summer.

The first two juniors we will be highlighting come from the Junior National Hereford Expo and the Shorthorn Junior National Show.

Middleswarth Hereford Ranch from Torrington, Wyoming, has been a leader in the Hereford ring for decades. The family prides themselves in breeding durable, quality cattle with genetics that are progressive and performance driven. When the youngest daughter, Jessica, stepped into the ring this year at the JNHE, that quality shined.

First, Jessica stuck her steer, sired by Purple MB Womanizer 14U, to backdrop in being awarded grand champion steer. But then, during the owned heifer show Jessica and Middleswarth’s DelHawk PURPLE Bliss 1027 was honored with Reserve Champion Horned heifer. This was a February 15 2010 heifer sired by NLC 146 Pistol Pete 717et.

It truly was a family earned win and older sister Ashley could not have described the excitement better. “What an incredible surprise, we are still having the reality of it set in.” Ashley also happens to be one of our RHD Reps.

The Middleswarth family has been raising banner winners for years. This is partially because of the family’s love of the showring, but more importantly because of their operation’s philosophy. They are dedicated to the betterment of the Hereford breed and the cattle industry as a whole. With this in mind, there is no more deserving family then the Middleswarths. To learn more about this crew and their operation visit

The Shorthorn Junior National Show is an event that is very near to my – and Rachel’s – heart. We both exhibited cattle there back in our show-days. Naturally, when I heard of our clients’ success, I was very excited. But ironically, I did not expect one of the champions to be shown by one of my childhood show pals!

Ben Weikert, of Gettysburg, PA (my homestate!), knew he purchased something special when he and his twin brother, Owen, bought CYT Dream Lady Solution ET at Cyclone Trace’s ‘CYT Shorthorns Upfront Sale’.

“CYT always has such a deep and competitive set of show heifers and they put on such a wonderful event. When Owen and I saw Dream Lady, we knew that she was the heifer we wanted to end our junior show career with.”

But, I don’t think the two quite dreamed it would end with such a bang. At their final junior nationals, Dream Lady was named reserve grand champion owned female. The two know that this was a moment they will forever remember, but say it could not have been possible without their new encouragement team.

“We would like to thank John Haige and our new family at CYT for their generosity and support in campaigning Dream Lady and helping Owen and I reach our dreams in the show cattle world.”

For more information on the CYT Shorthorn Upfront Sale or to view some of the Cyclone Trace genetics, please visit and remember to “like” Weikert Show Cattle on facebook.

In the history of our business, we’ve had the honor of working with the top beef cattle ranches in the United States. Because of our backgrounds in the cattle business we are so excited to share in the success of our clients. We really feel like we are a part of each and every operation we work with. We are the clients, we try and cater to their needs and get to know them on both on a professional and personal level. Congrats to the Middleswarth Family and the Weikert brothers!

Look for more junior national champs to come!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Carlos Lee's Grand Slam

The team at RHD has had the honor of working with Brahman breeder and Astros baseball player Carlos Lee for the past 7 years on his marketing and advertising campaign for his ranch. Ganadera Karla Mary is one of the best Brahman ranches in the world and we are extremely honored to handle their print advertising, web site, sale catalogs, sire & donor catalog, and more.

Last night, Carlos hit a grand slam at the ball game, which made him tie for the record of # of career grand slams with Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth!!! Amazing! We are so happy for you Carlos on that great news and huge accomplishment!

The coolest thing about working with Carlos is that yeah, he is a pro baseball player, but he's and his wife and family are just normal and down to earth people. When I went to visit his ranch in Panama a few years back, he was out there every day working on the ranch and calving out cows....just like all of us do. And, here's a picture of him showing one of his prize-winning Brahman cattle.

We just wanted to say congratulations to our friend on this great career accomplishment!

How to Pronouce "Cutrer" - Ideal Video Blog

Yesterday we had a very fun filled day at RHD as we were shooting a video with fellow Aggies Blaine and Wade Fischer of Ideal Video Productions.

We'll post more when we have the final official video, but let's just say it was a very fun day where everyone here at RHD got some camera time and got interviewed. Personally, I don't think I have worn that much makeup since my wedding. I almost didn't recognize my own self ha ha.

After we wrapped up the regular filming I had the honor of being one of the guests on the Ideal Video Blog.

When Blaine emailed me this morning with the link, Brandon and I watched it at home real quick, and before we could start watching it he said "Let's see how many times you do that stupid little giggle like you did in the Denver videos."

Well I am PROUD to say that I did not do the stupid giggle NOT ONE SINGLE TIME in this video lol.

Thanks to Blaine and Wade for having me on their blog, and watch for our new video coming soon!

Friday, July 22, 2011

A tribute to my friend, Jeff Schroeder

Tonight while washing baby bottles I pulled up on my iPad and read Jeff's blog talking about how exactly 10 years ago tonight he registered, the online cattle game that essentially served as the springboard for many of Jeff''s excellent online ventures.

I then started thinking back to 2001, and got sentimental. I bet you didn't know this, but Jeff and I have been friends since 1996. We were both elected as Area FFA officers and met at the Texas FFA Camp at Trinidad, Texas. I'd estimate that there were probably about 100 high school students there, which at the time, were considered the cream of the crop from Texas FFA. Of all of the people at that camp, maybe like 3 or 4 actually stood out to me as people I remember today. Jeff was one of those. Funny how fate puts those people in your life and at the time, you have no idea how they'll become your friends later down the road.

We continued to cross paths occassionally while we were both students at A&M. I remember Jeff e-mailing me when I had just started doing web sites and talking to me about working together on web design and graphic design. This was when he had just started SimSteer.

Over the past 10 years, I've been able to work with Jeff on so many projects for lots of different clients like R.A. Brown, The Showbox, our Denver videos, and many more.

I just wanted to say a big congratulations to my friend, for his vision to create sites like,, and for all of the success he's found. Jeff, you're one of the best supporters of the cattle business and I'm proud to call you my colleague and friend.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Attention All Bloggers!

Are you a blogger? These days you ain't nothin' unless you have your very own blog! Well, if you're gonna blog, you need an good looking blog don't you? In the past month it seems like we have been working on tons of blog designs. So if you're a blogger, maybe we can help you.

We can do a couple of different options. The easiest and most versatile for our customers is if we design your blog graphics, then send them to you for your use. You can choose whatever template you want, customize your colors, etc.

Are you a Crystal Cattle fan? Who isn't! Check out this popular blog, in which we designed the graphic at the top for Crystal.

Black seems to be a popular color for blog templates, so most of our blog graphic designs have a black background. Here is another recent blog headline design....

We've also done graphics for these popular blogs:

And lots more!

So if you're a blogger, and want to spruce up the look of your blog, let us help! 979-532-9141 or

Welcome, Brianna Bathery to the RHD Rep team!

Meet our Wisconsin Rep: Brianna Bathery
Brianna is the 22 year old from Salem, Wisconsin. She describes herself as personable, outgoing, and motivated. Brianna has spent a majority of her life with livestock and has grown a passion for all aspects of the industry. Some of her past involvements include the AJSA, APHA, and 4-H. When not at a stock show, Brianna enjoys spending time with her family, working on her jewelry-making business, sports and helping out around the farm. This fall, she will be entering college as an Ag Marketing Communications major, which is something she is very excited for!  We are so excited to have Brianna as a member of the RHD team! Look for this talented rep at Calgary Stampede, the Wisconsin State Fair, Minnesota Beef Expo, NAILE, National Western Stock Show and the World Beef Expo

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Welcome, Rebecca Hamilton to the RHD Rep Team!

Our rep program has been doing so well, but we still had two major regions that needed to be represented. That was until this morning.... Are you in Texas? We've got a rep for that! Are you in the northeast? Well, we've got a rep for that too!!! Meet Rebecca Hamilton!!
Rebecca will be representing RHD in both the northeast and the Texas region. She is currently a senior Animal Science and Agricultural Communications double major at Texas A&M University. Rebecca was born and raised in Woodbine, Maryland but came to school in Texas to broaden her knowledge about agriculture, and to learn how production practices differ from region to region. She grew up showing Shorthorn cattle. At Texas A&M, Rebecca was a part of the livestock judging team and COALS. Look for Rebecca at fall shows in Texas, the Maryland State Fair, Louisville, the Pennsylvania Farm Show as well as other spring shows and jackpots in the northeast.

We are so excited to have this aggie on the team! Welcome Rebecca!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Showtimes Magazine

While I was skimming through Facebook in the McDonalds drive thru line today, I noticed Brian Reid updating his status that the summer issue of The Showtimes Magazine was now online. So as soon as I got back to the office I sat with my delicious grilled snack wrap and browsed the magazine. (You can check it out at

All I can say is W-O-W! I've always been a fan of Brian & Lisa's venture, but I loved this issue in particular. This magazine was started a few years back, and as anyone can imagine, starting a new livestock magazine is a big risk. There's a lot of time involved, a lot of resources required, and at the time, people felt like the show cattle publication market was pretty well established. Then here comes Showtimes, and it's totally different! Then there is Lot One, which I also love, and the new Drive magazine, which is also great. Here are 3 new publications for the show cattle industry that are really changing up what we used to typically think as a show cattle publications (i.e. only full of advertising).

I love The Showtimes articles (especially the one about Marti Habeger Show Mom), the Hall of Fame, the Faces & Places, the Christian motivational article, and the show results in color! I also really enjoyed their State Fair Preview section where it talks about what are fun things to do at the different state fairs, like concerts and stuff.

Hats off to the Reids! Y'all are doing a great job with the magazine. Count RHD in for another ad this fall :)

Meet our newest RHD Rep from Canada: Michelle Allison!

Michelle Allison will represent Ranch House Designs in Canada and is from Brandon, Manitoba. She is part of Leveldale Polled Herefords, a purebred operation, with her husband and in-laws. Michelle graduated from Assiniboine Community College in 2009 with a Business Administration diploma, and is currently attending college again for an Agribusiness Diploma.  She’s studied photography for a few years and does the cattle pictures for the farm and on the side for friends and family. She works at various bull and female sales across Manitoba and Saskatchewan, as well as helping with the sales that LPH is part of. Michelle attends various Ag events, such as Manitoba Livestock Expo, Manitoba Bull Congress/AG Days, Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, Canadian Western Agribition and will be at the 2012 World Hereford Congress! She also enjoys summer jackpots and breed field days that happen throughout Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Michelle looks forward to talking with you about what RHD can do for you!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Meet our newest RHD Reps!

Our RHD Rep program has been hitting some grand slams! Let’s meet some of our newest team members….

Joshua and Katie Ramsey

Joshua, Katie and Caleb Ramsey live in Alamogordo, NM. They run a Shorthorn and Club Calf cow herd in Oklahoma and New Mexico. They have since become a part of Essential Show Feeds team by selling premier livestock feeds. They spend countless hours helping youth with their projects and getting ready for the show ring. Katie grew up in a farm in South Dakota and attended South Dakota State University with a degree in Animal Science and a Master’s Degree in Agriculture Extension and Education from New Mexico State University, Joshua graduated from New Mexico State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Ag. Economics and Ag. Business. He also is the Operational Supervisor for his family’s business, IGT Enterprises. “We are very excited to be a part of the RHD team as a representative because of the customer service RHD provides. From website design to business branding, RHD has played an integral part of J3 Cattle Company”


Cody Tebbenkamp

Cody was raised on a diversified grain and livestock farm near Corder, MO. He attended the University of Missouri in Columbia, where he resides today. While in school, Cody was on the livestock judging team in 2003 and also worked for then Governor Matt Blunt while in his final semesters. He has shown Maine- Anjou cattle and steers his whole life throughout the Midwest and at Jr. Nationals. Currently, Cody works for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources as a Distract Coordinator for the Soil and Water Program in Jefferson City. However, he still finds time to raise Maine-Anjou, club calves and farm back in Corder, while also helping fit cattle for customers that purchase calves from him throughout the year.

Christina Wernicke
Christina has been active in the 4-H program her whole life and currently serves as a 4-H leader. She has always enjoyed sharing her creative ideas to help businesses and individuals achieve success.

Cassie Link
Cassie Link grew up on a grain farm in Abingdon, Illinois and could not imagine growing up anywhere else. Upon high school graduation, Cassie attended Joliet Junior College and then transferred to Western Illinois University, where she graduated in May with an Ag Business Degree. Her fondest memories growing up were spent at shows and said she is happy to remain actively involved in the beef industry. In March, Cassie participated in a Study Abroad trip through the school of agriculture at WIU, where she had the experience of visiting an Angus ranch. She loves promoting agriculture in a positive manner and educating the public about the truth that surrounds an industry that everyone relies on.

We are so excited to have all of these individuals on our team! Look for them at upcoming shows and events!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Search engine optimization workshop

About a month ago, all of us ladies here at RHD got super dorky high tech and attended a special workshop on search engine optimization. We were SO super dorky high tech, that we actually hired a SEO specialist to come down to our office for the day and give us in depth hands on training.

I had to laugh to myself, because when I first started doing web sites in 1999, it was so easy to submit sites to search engines. Basically there was this little button at the bottom of Yahoo's page that said "suggest a site" and bam, there you go, that's all you did. I remember spending a few nights a month just "suggesting a site" to Yahoo to help get all of our then Two Girls Web Design clients high up in the rankigs.

Well, as we learned in the search engine training....a lot has changed since then! All of us here at RHD were just mesmerized by how much we learned about search engine optimization. The best news for us is that the special consultant we hired complimented us on our great designs (duh) and let us know that our sites are being designed very efficiently for favorable placement in search engines.

But what we learned was so much more! The SEO specialist gave us tons of in depth information that totally helped train us in how to "optimize" sites for search engines. He also gave us a great resource for submitting sites to directories and gave us some very suprising information on what search engines favor and what they dislike. Some of this was actually shocking regarding purchasing links and stuff like that.

Now I'll be the first to admit, though we certainly learned quite a bit at the workshop, I still consider Jeff at to be the livestock SEO guru! :) So we're not making that claim at all. But we definitely did learn a great deal of skills at this special workshop that can be of benefit to our clients.

With every site we do, we design the sites to be search engine friendly, and this is avilable at no charge to our clients. However we now are offering a premium search engine optimization service based on keyword analysis. It's an in depth process where we work with the clients one-on-one to optimize the site to an even higher level. If this is something you'd be interested in, let us know.

We should also disclaim that even though we are probably the second most knowledgable people about SEO in the livestock business (behind Jeff of course), that even this can't guarantee any certain ranking in a search engine. However if anyone has an aunt who works at Google, we'd like to talk to her, ha ha.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Meet Joelynn!

We are very excited to introduce you to our newest staff member here at RHD....Joelynn Donough.

Joelynn Donough joined the RHD staff last week as a project manager specializing in agricultural accounts. She is also a creative assistant for advertising and editorial direction of The American Brahman Review publication.

This Pennsylvania native has been active in the livestock industry since day one. Her family raises club lambs, but her heart has always been with cattle. She was a member of the national junior Shorthorn and Maine Anjou associations and hopes to one day move her small herd of cows to Texas. Joelynn is a graduate of Texas A&M University, where she was a member of the nationally accredited 2009 livestock judging team. She received her bachelor’s in agricultural journalism and communications in 2010. Joelynn also attended Butler Community College in Kansas on a livestock judging scholarship before transferring to Texas A&M University.

After graduation, Joelynn worked for ShowChampions USA, Inc., the world's most well known livestock photography company (and personal favorite of Ranch House Designs!). While with ShowChampions, Joelynn traveled across the country, picturing major stock shows and on farm sessions.

So how can Joelynn help you? Well, she's a great photographer. Don't be suprised if she stops by your stalls at the major stock shows and takes a few snapshots that we could put on your web site. She can also help our clients who need sale photos and who need candid farm snapshots or scenic photos for their web site.  She's also a great writer. She'll be working with lots of our cattle clients to help come up with great advertising ideas for your print materials.

She'll also be representing RHD at all the major livestock shows and beef industry events. So feel free to email her if she can help you in any . Welcome and we are so happy to have you!

Friday, July 1, 2011

RHD Rep: Caci Nance

Meet our newest RHD rep...Caci Nance from South Carolina. This lady is totally on the ball and super active in her career, farm, and beef industry activities.
Caci is a 20-something farm wife from York, South Carolina and joined the RHD team in 2011 as an RHD rep for the southeast. Caci is extremely active in the beef industry in many roles. She is an independent beef sales rep for Southeast Select Sires where she works with cattlemen across South Carolina. Caci and her husband also serve on the South Carolina Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Racher committee and she is the volunteer director of the South Carolina Beef Ambassador program and ANCW Region II Consumer Education commitee chair. Agriculture is the Nance family's life! They, along with their in-laws, run their family farm which consists of a 100 cow dairy, 250 head cow/calf operation, and 500 acres of row crops and forages.

Look for Caci at NCBA and ANCW events, the National Beef Ambassador Competition, and lots of events in South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Georgia!