October Best of the Web

October was a very fun and exciting month for everyone at Sure Champ as we held our first ever Stress Tub contest where we received a number of great photos of people using old Vita Charge Stress Tubs and attended numerous shows, sales and agricultural events. We always enjoy receiving pictures from customers and dealers and we hope you enjoy seeing them as well. We have selected a few to share with you in our Best of the Web this month; be sure to keep the photos coming by tagging us, emailing or sharing and you may find your photos in next month’s Best of the Web!

Stress Tub Time Out Stress Tub time out! Thank you Randa & John Starnes for submitting this photo for our Stress Tub photo contest!

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College Football Match-Up : OK-State vs. K-State

Untitled-1College Football time! We love a good Big 12 match-up, who are you rooting for? Pick your team in our Sure Champ College Football Match-Up and you could win a 2L jug of VitaCharge® Liquid Boost! Simply fill out the form below and select the team you’re pulling for. Winners will be announced next week.

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Ralls-Hickman Family : Raising Ladies in the Show Barn

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A group of stock show loving family members –3 girls, their mom, and a mentor.

Like many, the Ralls-Hickman  family was not born into the stock show life style, rather there was a spark ignited that led to a lifelong passion.  Kristine Ralls and her husband Pete have 6 kids – a blended family that looks similar to a modern day Brady Bunch. Kristine and her girls were originally a ‘horse family’ and traveled many miles on the Quarter Horse Circuit. They fell into the cattle business, and have never looked back.  Below is an interview with Kristine – she relates back to experiences in the barn and raising girls into young women through cattle.

“Our first exposure to cattle was a 4-H market steer for Victoria our oldest. Unfortunately, we have always been city slickers so we have not had our own property to raise any livestock. We grew accustomed to boarding our horses and once we got that first steer we started boarding him. From there, our cattle story grew to 2 more sisters showing steers. We were fortunate to also build a friendship and add another family member with Dwight Heffner. Dwight has raised a couple national champions in the Herefords and has bred some of the best show cattle on the west coast. Dwight has allowed and leased pasture space and basically let us take over “the barn” for a cool room and working cattle daily.  Because our family believes in hard work and doing the work ourselves for the past 10 years, the girls and I have traveled 20 minutes one way 2 times a day to take care of our show steers and heifers.  As the girls have gotten older and moved on past the local steer shows we have continued to grow our herd and breed cattle.

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Recipes from the Ranch

It’s county fair season in Texas and one of our favorite cooks, Mrs. Alise Nolan, has once again shared a few great recipes that are near and dear to her heart this time of year. We hope each of these recipes find their way into your home this fall and wish the Nolan family the best of luck at their upcoming fairs!

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Yamboree Carnival  Photo Courtesy of Photo’s by Ruel

Our county fair is almost here in our little part of Texas! The East Texas Yamboree starts this week and our entire county could not be more excited!

This homecoming of sorts for our family and friends is always filled with fair foods, Yam Pie contest, livestock and market shows and sales, and ag mechanic competitions. Then it’s our two huge parades that house our Yamboree Queen and her court along with marching bands, club, community and schools all vying for the best decorated floats!

This year our youngest daughter will carry on the family tradition of showing her market hogs at this festival and then the following week with her broiler and hogs again in our neighboring county for the Harvest Festival where my husband serves on their board as their President.  Each of these festivals are the result of countless volunteer hours and result in great memories for both kids and adults alike.

School actually lets out in our small town of 5,000 as do those of the neighboring communities around us. There’s just too much to fit in! From taking in the square to eating a corny dog or a Union Hill School’s hamburger and a piece of Gilmer Band’s Yam Pie as you ride carnival rides. You can listen or dance to the bandstand’s live music and catch up with friends you may not have seen for years!

Ilissa & Bethany as they eat on the square while watching Audrey on the carnival rides

Ilissa & Bethany as they eat on the square while watching Audrey on the carnival rides

To culminate our Yamboree each year our family for the last 20 years throws a party the final night hosting our friends and family in the barn at our ranch.  We call it our ‘Nolan Family and Friend Barndance’…but very little dancing is now done! The younger crowd eats, visits and then leave for some dancing of their own in our old school gym in the middle of our town where Texas Country Bands come to play at the ‘Yamboree Barndance’.  I guess you could call our event the pre-party of sorts.

All my girls will be home this weekend to watch our Audrey dance in our Yamboree Queen Alexis William’s court and Coronation and be there to cheer her on as she shows her market hogs and hopefully makes the sale. We’ll eat plenty of fair food, but one thing I enjoy most is making sure I get a few home cooked meals in their stomachs before they return back to college and their homes away from home.

Queen Alexis Williams

Queen Alexis Williams & her court during her Coronation of the 77th East Texas Yamboree

These recipes I share with you today are nostalgic for us and our kind of ‘comfort food’ that we enjoy. I’ve added in my Pork Roast and Sweet Potatoes and a good friends Yam Pie recipe. With it being Yamboree time for my family I had to get some yams or sweet potatoes in this Sure Champ Blog Recipe post!

Have a wonderful rest of fall everyone!  This is my favorite time of the year, not only because of the food, but for the excitement and memories we make as a family and life lessons my girls have learned by being smack dab in the middle of agriculture with us standing right there beside them.

As my oldest daughter Ilissa loves to say…. ‘Let’s Go Yammin’! 

Pork Roast & Sweet Potatoe

Pork Roast and Sweet Potatoes

  • 1 large pork roast, approximately 4 lbs. in weight
  • 6 – 8 sweet potatoes, skinned and cubed in 3 x 3 cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to season
  • water to cover roast 3/4 the way up the sides

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4 Tips for Starting a Successful Cattle Project

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Just getting your next cattle project home? Ready to have your best show year ever? We all know that every day matters when you’re trying to take home that champion banner. From day one, cattle need the right kind of care and nutrition. Here are four integral tips that will make the transition from breeder to your home much easier – on the calf and you!

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– ask the seller about the worming and vaccination protocol that the calf has received

– discuss with them the need for a booster for respiratory vaccine and wormer

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– try to get at least a bag of the feed that the seller has them on. Mix with new feed to slowly transition over a week period.

– if feed is not available, start them on a smaller portion of your feed along with plenty of hay

– use Vita Charge Paste, Drench, Stress Tub or Liquid Boost when transitioning to help aid in keeping the digestive track healthy and stay on feed

– then incorporate Sure Champ as a top-dress on your feed to keep your animal’s digestive system healthy and appetite stimulated.

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– be consistent in keeping the same schedule

– feed at regular intervals and the same time each day

– make sure you clean any old feed out of the bunk or feed pan as soon as the animal is done eating

– bring cattle in the barn or under fans to keep temperature cool and consistent

– wash with soap no more than a couple times a week while rinsing and conditioning their hair the rest of the week

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– start by letting the calf get used to its surroundings

– pen wash the calf without halter to help them calm down

–  initially tie them up for short periods of time and do not leave them unattended. Gradually work them up to a few hours

– if possible always tie them up with other cattle to keep them calm

– do not leave halter on for them to drag

Remember, try to always make each experience positive with your new project – for them and for you! Building trust, good health and a steady schedule with your project will aid your success. Best of luck!

5 Tips To Survive FFA Convention

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National FFA Convention is massive. From October 29-November 1 there will be over 60,000 blue jackets in Louisville, Kentucky. You go to grow, lead & succeed – here are our five quick tips to make the most of your trip!

Tip #1 — Shoes! It’s all about packing the right pair of black shoes. You know the drill – black, closed toe, and oh yes comfortable for all the miles you’ll be logging during National FFA Convention. (Girls want them cute, too!) We’ve found the best mix of all the criteria right here.

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Where to buy? 1: John Lewis, $38 2: Sole Society, $69.95, 3: heels.com, $54.99

Tip #2 — Communication! As we said earlier, the convention is huge, it’s possible that you could lose your group. So, keep your cell phone charged, have a game plan with your advisor and stay with a buddy. If you can’t get to an outlet, carry one of these! Battery Phone Charger

 Tip #3 — Expo! Take advantage of the Expo experience. You’ll get to network and explore opportunities from over 450 industry-leading exhibitors. Oh, and bring a bag to collect all the goodies! And don’t forget business cards, especially if college and internships aren’t too far off.

Tip #4 — Your Peers! How cool to have this many fellow FFA members in one place at one time? Be outgoing and network with students from different states and areas. Sharing ideas can help you grow your own chapter and programs at home.

Tip #5 — FUN! It’s all around you. Not only are there multiple concerts and dances, but the World’s Toughest Rodeo is returning to the convention this year.