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By Emily McAfee
NEMOnews Media Group
Three local women in the agricultural industry are dedicated to helping their families showcase top quality livestock. These families exhibit their livestock in 4-H, FFA, or open shows.
Showing livestock at competitions takes time, dedication, and hard work. An exhibitor takes months to feed, trim, walk, and care for their animals. Even if an exhibitor does not win the top prize, they can make new friends, bond with their animals, and spend time with their families. Showcasing animals gives them an opportunity to grow and it opens up doors into the agricultural world.
Twin T Cattle Company
Kristy Eggleston- Wood of Arbela and her two daughters, Taylar Townsend and Tasha Eggleston-Wood raise quality show cattle.
The family owns around 70 head of registered cattle, including Simmental, percentage Simmental, and Shorthorn.
Kristy started showing cattle in 1982 in 4-H and her children have followed in her footsteps. Taylar and Tasha began showing cattle at the age of three. They each took a calf to the Kids and Critters show at the county fair.
Tasha and Taylar have been showing cattle in 4-H and FFA for 14 years. They usually show heifers, bulls, or cow calf pairs. Both of them are no longer in 4-H and FFA, so now they can only show in open shows. An open show is a livestock show where anyone can show an animal as long as it meets the show criteria.
At their local county fair, Taylar and Tasha showed around 10 head of cattle for 4-H or FFA. When they travel to an open show, they only take one or two head of cattle.
The open livestock shows can be held year-round, which gives families an opportunity to choose when they want to start their show season.
“We start with the new ones in October at American Royal and then we will show most of them through the following August to the end of the state fair,” Kristy stated.
The American Royal cattle show is held in Kansas City in October. Competitors travel from all over to show their top-quality breeds of cattle.
Tasha and Taylar also enjoy going to the Missouri State Fair, where they show in the open show.
“State fair is about the only one I get to go to. My sister goes to American Royal, but I don’t usually get to go,” Taylar said.
Twin T Cattle Company has shown at multiple shows across the country.
“We’ve done Junior Shorthorn Nationals and Junior Simmental Nationals. Tasha went to the Fort Worth Stock Show and that’s probably the biggest we have been to. We also go to Jackpot shows, NEMO fair, Lewis County fair and go down to Springfield,” Kristy said.
The family has shown cattle in multiple states, including Texas, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, Illinois, Nebraska, Arkansas, Minnesota, and Oklahoma.
Some of the top winnings that the Twin T Cattle Company has won were with a cow calf pair named Cason’s Miss Janesville and Cowboy Troy. They won 3rd Overall Cow Calf Pair at the American Simmental Junior Nationals in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The pair also won Champion Cow Calf Pair at the Missouri State Fair and Grand Champion Cow Calf Pair at the Simmental South Central Regionals in Stillwater, Oklahoma. They were also the Champion Cow Calf Pair at the Missouri Cattlemen’s in Sedalia, Missouri.
Cowboy Troy also won the Reserve Champion at the Late Spring Division and the Champion Overall Bull at the Scotland County Fair and the NEMO Fair.
Another cow calf pair, Cason’s Miss Janesville and Pistol Annie, won 3rd Overall Cow Calf Pair at the South Central Regionals in Fayetteville, Arizona.
Tasha and Taylar enjoy going to different competitions because they can meet other exhibitors and see how their livestock looks.
“It’s fun when you get to see more competition and more people that you can show with. Even though you might not win every time or place what you want to place, you get to see different things when you are away from home and experience more competition,” Taylar said.
Showing animals is hard work and you must put the time and effort into taking care of the livestock and preparing them for a show.
“It all starts out with working with them every day at home. If you don’t put the time in, you are not going to get what you want in the end. It takes a lot of work to catch one and break it to lead. You don’t want a wild one when you take it out there,” Kristy explained.
“It’s a lot of early mornings of feeding, washing, setting them under the fan, and lots of clipping. It’s like basketball practice, you have to do it every day or you have to forget it.”
The cattle are usually clipped a week to 10 days before the shows, but they also may require a touch up on show day.
Kristy likes to go a day or two before the show if allowed, so the calf gets used to its new surroundings.
“I always found the kids were in a better humor and so was the cow if we went the day before and got a good night’s sleep,” Kristy laughed.
Another aspect of having show animals is selling some of your show stock to others. “We sold a show heifer this past fall and we usually take five or six head down to a friend down by Springfield and he sells to local kids down there. We’ve been selling some of our bulls through a sale up here in Iowa,” Kristy said.
As a family, Kristy, Tasha, and Taylar have traveled to many livestock shows and have found that they all enjoy different aspects of showing.
“I definitely enjoy meeting the people and seeing what they do with their herd. Meeting people is about the best part of it. They might be your competition, but you still get to talk to them and learn about their prospects,” Taylar said.
Tasha said one of the best parts is “Traveling as a family.”
Kristy and Tasha have some advice for families that are thinking about showing cattle in the future.
“If it’s something that you are interested in or passionate about, do it, even if you don’t win and if it’s just something you want to do to have fun. It’s a good family thing and you get to be together all the time,” Kristy said.
“Don’t be afraid to reach out to the experienced showmen,” Tasha said. This is how people learn about the show cattle industry.
Kristy also said that the most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to buy expensive stock.
“If you want to take your own stuff, go for it. Granted, you are probably not going to beat the big guy that has the $50,000 heifer, but as long as you think you have done the best with your stuff, go for it. Not everybody is going to win,” Kristy stated.
Showing and raising livestock takes strength and determination, but it is one of the most rewarding and engaging projects that an individual can take on.
Twin T Cattle Company plans to attend the Missouri State Fair and the American Royal shows this season. Kristy also plans to take her nieces and nephews to some Jackpot shows. The first cattle show for the year will be on the 25th and 26th of March and the family is ready to step back into the show ring.