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!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bastrop Fire Relief

Over the past few days we have had lots of friends from around the nation asking us if we knew of any people that needed help with the Bastrop fire relief. Until now, we did not have any information, but yesterday we got an email from Dr. Davey Griffin at Texas A&M with some information about how we could help the family of a former meat judging team member at A&M who lost his family's home in the Bastrop fires. Here is the information. If we hear of any other relief funds or projects we will post them here too.

"At this point, we are assessing our situation and leaning on our Faith in God. We have many needs but so do many others. Our fellow church members, our neighborhood, and many, many friends have lost so much. The first thing we need is prayers.

Also, a special fund has been set up @:

River Valley Christian Fellowship
494 Highway 71 West
Suite 140-154
Bastrop, TX 78602-3731

Checks can be mailed here. Leave the memo line blank and insert any note you wish.

Again, we have many, many families who have lost everything. Anything sent to this fund will be distributed to those in need. Thank you for your concern & God Bless!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Show Champions

In keeping with our new thing of spotlighting our industry partners, this week are sending a big shout out to everyone at the Show Champions crew!

Show Champions has revolutionized the way we think of livestock show photography!

I remember being a little young Shorthorn exhibitor at Denver years ago, and the way we viewed our proofs was on these long photo film print outs that Mrs. Browarny (Allan's mom) would thumbtack to the wall. You walked up and flipped through all of those rows of photo films. Actually, this wasn't too long ago. I'm sure many can close their eyes and picture this same exact set up as you walked around to the Browarny booth in the hallways of the Denver show ring. forward to present day. We all know how the Show Champions set up is now! From the days of thumbtacking proofs to the wall, to nearly instant show proofs available both online and at the show on computers. Now, you walk up to the computer, find your image, buy it, and walk away with your pictures on a memory stick!

As a designer, we love it when Show Champions pictures a show because we get the opportunity to browse and purchase their Hot Shot images. These are AWESOME for ad backgrounds! It is also extremely convenient to be able to proof, order, and instantly download pictures online. This is so helpful to us as designers on tight deadlines. Usually the Show Champions crew has the show pictures up online just a few hours, if not sooner, after the show occurs. This means that we can download your pictures for you and have them up on your web site in no time after the win occurs!

As a livestock showman, I also love it when Show Champions pictures a show because I know the quality of the photo will be great. Their photos are consistently high quality, the calves are set up correctly, and the pictures are awesome.

I have also had the opportunity to become quite good friends with Allan and Dave, as well as many other Show Champions team members. Allan has personally done on farm shoots at our ranch for the past two years. (I think he knows I'm a sucker for his pictures and that I'll pretty much buy every shot he takes ha ha!). Though my legs and arms were extremely sore from running around the pasture as Allan's official ear me this in itself was a huge honor to get to work with this esteemed photographer. We also collaborated with Allan on a special client photo shoot for Ganadera Karla Mary in Panama. Allan took the photos then we designed the GKM special donor and sire catalog for the 2010 World Brahman Congress.

So as always, we just want to say Thanks to the Show Champions crew for being so great to work with, and for the outstanding service you provide the industry.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

New RHD sites: Tounget Farms and Half Circle M!

It is always a great feeling when we get to showcase some of the best genetics in the nation. These two new website clients are no exception!

If you looking for any great Pigs in the Texas Area be sure to check out Tounget Farms out of Bronte, Texas! This crew loves raising showing pigs. "We feel the hard work and passion that we have is a great example for out kids and helps bring our family closer."

Visit the Tounger Farms site, they would the chance to get to know your family and help you achieve show ring success!

Half Circle M Ranch is located in Wharton County near the Texas Gulf Coast.

After showing cattle for many years, the ranch decided to branch into the breeding and raising aspect side of the cattle business. In 2007 they started our herd and now proudly raise Simbrah, Simbravieh, and Braunvieh cattle.

If you’re looking for your next winner, look no further than Wharton, Texas. Half Circle M welcomes visitors to the ranch and would love you to show you around.