By, Mollie Lastovica
While there are many competitive activities that embody support, encouragement and mentorship for families, it can be argued that none other than showing livestock are a true family affair. From completing daily chores, prepping for and getting to a show, rejoicing in a win or regrouping after a tough loss – it’s the involvement from every member of the family that makes the time, money and work invested all worthwhile.
Such is the case at Bar A Cattle Company in Schulenburg, Texas, where Dave and Becky Allan and their children – Tyler (age 14), Mason (age 11) and Landry (age 3) – embrace teamwork in and out of the barn.
Aside from raising calves to show themselves and sell in the family’s annual club calf sale each spring, the Allans stay busy with businesses Genesource, a semen company, and The Brand Co., a promotional products business.
In the midst of Texas major show season, each member of the Allan family has his or her own roles in getting ready for and traveling across the state to compete with both heifers and steers.
Tyler is responsible for loading the bigger items on the trailer, while Mason is drying cattle or scratching calves that are being clipped. Dave focuses on helping the boys with all things cattle-related, while Becky makes sure they have their clothes and schoolwork packed and are prepared to head back to class when the show has ended. As most show moms know, keeping up with makeup work is a challenge in and of itself.
“First we start by trying to make sure the boys miss as few days as possible,” Becky says. “I am always online, checking grades constantly and helping them understand how important it is that they take care of their work and prove to their teachers that they can handle missing school.”
In and out of the barn, all five family members contribute to show prep.
“Without everyone doing their part, we probably couldn’t make it to a show,” Dave says.
This applies to Landry, too, who helps his brothers out however he can.
“It’s hard to keep his attention, but we let him carry the smaller stuff to the trailer when loading and he has a fork to help level shavings,” Tyler says.
The teamwork instilled as a core value among the Allan family does not go unnoticed. Both Tyler and Mason refer to working in tandem as one of their highlights of showing together.
“There’s a lot more energy and it is more fun,” says Tyler. “Something we can enjoy together.” Mason adds, “it allows us to work as a team.”
As most people with siblings can relate, sometimes spending so much time together creates its own challenges. However, Dave notes that giving each boy a specific task or responsibility keeps them focused on getting the work done with minimal arguments. When caring for calves daily, this means Tyler is in the wash rack while Mason dries the cattle.
Aside from showing, both boys are involved in a variety of sports, but Dave and Becky assert that it is showing livestock, above all other activities, that offers the most camaraderie and important life lessons.
“We enjoy the people at shows a lot and the sportsmanship,” Dave says. “In showing, you win and you lose. While winning is fun and great, you have to also learn how to lose – that’s a good life lesson whether you’re showing or doing a job interview.”
Life lessons that Dave and Becky note will be put into practice all too soon.
“Time goes fast, so enjoy it while you can,” Dave says. “Tyler only has three years left and it seems like he just started showing. We have enjoyed it and showing gives you a good reason to do things together.”