Monday, July 16, 2012

Flashback 2002: Visit to MSU

This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel back in time so to speak, to visit East Lansing, Michigan, which was my home from August 2001 to December 2002 while I got my master's degree. As with any visit to your old stomping grounds, it is somewhat bittersweet. As I flew in over the Michigan countryside the first thing I remembered was how beautiful Michigan is. The farmlands, the lakes, the homes, the midwest charm. When we arrived in East Lansing, I quickly remembered my surroundings...Jolly Road, Leo's Lodge, Grand River Avenue. Within a few minutes I remembered exactly where things were and was ready to hit the town.

5001 Oakbrook: My MSU Home and Former "Basement office"
of RHD, which was known as "Two Girls Web Design"
at the time.
Though the town hadn't changed that much to the eye, I was quickly saddened to see that things had drastically changed over the past 10 years. The main thing was that all my friends were gone. The people I love like Katie & Mark Hoge, Cassie Abney, the MacFarlanes, Metzgar, Ogle, Sarah Rust, Nick Berry, Andrew McPeake, Mafi, Dave Burns, Brett, Nicole, Lowderman, Robbie Duis....of course these friends have long since moved on just like I did. It made me happy to think of all the fun times we had, but also a little sad because I miss them so much.

Back in the day (2002), my typical day involved going to class of course, then work, then as soon as 5 o'clock hit it was time for the fun. Usually I would head on home and meet up asap with my roommate Cassie, and then we would start making our rounds. Keep in mind this was at a time where cell phone's weren't that popular, so to find out where all the action was happening, we had to get going.

First stop, head on over to the farms and swing by the Hog Shack (official home of Metzgar & Ogle but general meeting place of Nick Berry and the Hoge's.) We'd pick up Katie and start circulating. As we passed by the Hogshack, a normal day would find lots of the students working the MSU hogs for upcoming shows. This was especially a great time of year in the summer when the school would be preparing for the National Barrow Show.

Keep on driving down the road to get to our favorite spot on the whole campus: The MSU Beef Barn, at the intersection of Beaumont & Bennett. As soon as we hit this intersection we began "on the lookout" for any signs of our friends and the action going on at the farm.
"The Bullpen"

Generally our best bet would be to pull up to "The Bull Pen"...the famous home of the beef barn student workers, which at the time I was in school included Cody Lowderman, Robbie Duis, and many other friends. This was the meeting place for our group of friends. From there, we would spend the evenings riding around the farms, looking at Herefords, maybe rinsing calves and working hair, and having a great time which usually ended up swinging back by the Hogshack to pick up the pig people then heading on over to Leo's Lodge of Buffalo Wild Wings for the night. Then we would start it all over again the next day. And we loved every minute of it.

 As I began to visit with friends at the show this summer, I was very saddened to hear of some of the developments going on at MSU currently that involve a dispersal of the MSU Hereford herd. I guess I was out of the loop, because I missed this announcement, and I even missed the ad about this sale that was recently ran in the Hereford World.

While many places at MSU hold a special place in my heart, there is none quite like the MSU Beef Barn, and all of it's tradition, excellence, and memories. While some higher-ups at the university might say 'it's just a barn' the students of the MSU animal science program, it's so much more. It's an icon. A symbol of excellence for more than 50 years. A source of pride for both current and former students. That barn represents a spirit of MSU that every person involved in the purebred herd holds dear.
The tack room at the MSU Beef Barn
Banners from the 1970s

More nostalgic trophies from the tradition of excellence at MSU

Trophies, banners and pictures fill the trophy room at the MSU Beef Barn

Wonder how many champions passed through these doors through the years.

Since it's taken me 10 years to go back....and who knows when, if ever, I'll get to go back again, I took this time to capture as many memories as I could. The MSU Beef Barn and all that it stands for is one of the most precious icons on the MSU campus to me, and many others. I will always treasure the memories made and the education learned through being involved with the MSU purebred beef herd. And that says a lot, considering I'm a Brahman & Shorthorn girl...and I'm talking so fondly of HEREFORDS! :) 

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