Wednesday, August 17, 2022

'22 Junior Nationals: A Log

My husband grew up traveling from coast to coast with his family of four, taking turns napping on the floorboard of the truck as they traveled from one national cattle show to the other. When the child on the floor would get hot, they’d switch with the child sprawled out across the back seat.

He yearns the same experience for our family. I prefer car seats.

Actually, he desires the family-of-four-traveling- to-exhibit-home-raised-cattle experience. I can more get on board with that idea.

I too grew up showing cattle, but the road trips I remember involved never stopping unless we were 15 miles to empty, a cooler in the back seat containing of a gallon of whole milk to keep us full and bing cherries to keep us regular.

Fast forward 25 years and it was my turn as the parent to pack the cooler.  For our cross-country cattle adventure I packed raisins, apples, sunflower seeds, and water. The only items touched during our entire trip were the bottles of water, and those were only used to wash faces after the kids devoured oreos from the gas station.

We traveled to two national junior cattle shows this summer as a family, one in Louisville, the second in Kansas City. Both had their excitement:

Trip 1, Day 1:

Caroline did a fantastic job giving her speech about the tools she uses to take care of her heifer. This resulted in a 4th place win.

Cyrus got drug out of a crowded women’s restroom and told all the reasons why he can’t use such a place to hide during hide-n-seek. This resulted in a humiliated mother.

Cousins Caroline, Bayler, Cyrus & Maddie 

just before the two older girls did their speech contests

Trip 1, Day 2:

Caroline goes on a 20-minute self-guided tour of the facility and mom panics a bit. That afternoon we sit down with the kids to go over why we don’t just wander away from the stalls in a place this big.

“Kids, you can’t just walk off with people you don’t know. Just don’t talk to people you don’t know.”

“Dad,” Cyrus said. “I don’t talk to people I don’t know,” then he paused. “But Dad, I don’t even talk to people I do know,” said Mr. Congeniality, Age 3.

Cyrus telling the Conley brothers from Oklahoma how much corn (wood chips) he's hauled to-date

Trip 2 Day 1:

After listening to John Denver’s, Country Roads Take Me Home on repeat for 40 miles Caroline asked, “Mom. How far from home was this guy if he should have been home yesterday?” We then rolled into Kansas City blaring the National Anthem, which is the kids’ current favorite tune.

Front row seat to see Dad & Grampie judge the bred & owned Angus cattle in Kansas City

Trip 2, Day 2:

I took the kids to the hotel pool and stayed in my street (barn) clothes. I sat pool side and never once jumped in to save someone who didn’t need saving. BIG WIN.

Trip 2, Day 3:

Cyrus had his first, hopefully his last, run in with the police.

In a rush to get to the show ring to watch Dad judge the cattle, Cyrus got locked in the truck. Which wouldn’t be such a bad deal if he wasn’t also strapped into his car seat, unable to reach the lock. And also if it wasn’t a spicy summer in Kansas City. We were very lucky in that this incident took place early morning and it was not yet hot outside. Had it been, a crowbar would have gone through the glass in minutes.

I called one lock smith who hung up on me after politely saying they’d call back within 30 minutes with a price quote. I didn’t care about a price; I needed my child out of the truck. I next called the American Royal facility (where the show took place) who sent out a security guard. I knew when he walked up to the truck with his thumbs tucked in his polyester pants that we might not get very far. Sure enough, he said he had the tools to get into the truck, but he couldn’t (wouldn’t) use them due to liability and possibly getting sued. You can imagine how this went over with ol’ Mom. The security guy then called the grounds maintenance man. This man was great at getting me calmed down. He was a grandfather and recognized the urgency in the situation.

Cyrus did fine during all of this, but he was very confused as to why I wouldn’t just open the door and get him out.

Finally, the Kansas City Police Department was contacted and they came out, also unable to get into the truck due to the type of lock on the truck. KCPD quickly called another locksmith. Within 3 minutes of the locksmith arriving, Cyrus was out of the hot truck. The ordeal lasted 45 minutes and Cyrus’s shirt was soaked by the time I pulled him out of the car seat.

Both trips were fun, exhausting and memorable. Our hope is one day the kids will look back and want the same experiences for their children. 

Except for the women’s restroom ordeal.

 Or the Stranger Danger. 

Or the locksmith situation.

Maybe they’ll take their kids to the beach.