Laverne is a town in the very far NW corner of the great state of Oklahoma. It isn’t in the panhandle, but you can easily walk to the panhandle if need be. This town is about 30 miles straight north of Shattuck. Much like Shattuck, the town of Laverne is an agricultural and oil based community. The Laverne school has a long history of successful athletics and FFA. Historically, the Laverne FFA chapter has a tremendous record. Laverne and Shattuck have always been rivals. Not bitter rivals, but very competitive rivals.
For as long as I can remember, the Laverne FFA has hosted jackpot shows. They always have a cattle show the last weekend in January and then host a pig jackpot. They later added a goat jackpot to the swine show. I have a lot of memories of these shows at Laverne.
–In 1983, my very first stock show was at the Laverne hog jackpot. I showed a Duroc barrow that I raised out of a bred-sow purchase from Weldon Walser. His name was Wilbur. He didn’t win anything. We later ate Wilbur, probably because he didn’t win anything. “Son, welcome to the real world. I know that you watched Wilbur come into this world and he was your first show pig, but it’s time to eat him.” And people wonder why I am a callous human being now.
–1985, I had my first ever breed champion at a jackpot show. Champion Berk at the Laverne Jackpot. “Burk Reynolds” was a Berk hog that Dad and I purchased at the Shattuck pig sale from Byron Ames. “Burk Reynolds” did well at several other jackpots as well. But then, whack! Here came the pseudorabies quarantine of 1985 in Oklahoma and we will never know actually how good Burk Reynolds was since we didn’t get to have a county, district or OKC pig show that year. But that was an all-time great name for a berk show pig. Of course, it is a little out of date now.
–Fast forward to 1998. I am now an ag teacher at Waynoka. We took a big group of heifers to Laverne. This was the first time Chancey Redgate went to a show without her dad. Max had a deal that he had to go to. Chancey had the grand champion heifer.
–1999. Cattle show. We had a big crew of heifers and one prospect steer. It was 60 degress in the morning during the heifer show. Then they started the steer show–markets first. The weather men had been calling for a blizzard to move in that evening. Guess what? It came about noon. We were already there so we showed. Prospects showed last. Chancey had a good prospect steer. Her parents had stayed home, this time to prepare for the blizzard. This was back in the days before blow & show. We glued, painted and fitted to the hilt. The only problem, I didn’t want to have to break all the glue down and then wash this steer. I wanted to load and go East towards Waynoka. My buddy, Mike Robison was teaching at Ringwood. His son had a good prospect steer also. He asked if I was going to fit legs. I said, “Yes. But I’m not going to use any glue.” WHAT? HOW? I said, “Mikey, it’s so damn cold in this barn, I’m going to mist water on the legs, comb it in and let it freeze. The hair will set. Then, we are going in to win this show, pick up a trophy and a check then walk straight out and get on the trailer and head home.” Guess what? Chancey had grand prospect steer and Tobey Robison had res. grand. And yes, we used ice as adhesive.
–2000. Pig show. This was Kela’s first “FOR REAL” pig show as a 4-Her. She had her Chester barrow named Mitchell. I knew he was good. I just didn’t realize how good. Kela and Mitchell were champion Chester. My Dad was there to watch. He asked with seriousness in his voice, “Do I need to stick around to watch the grand drive?” I said, “Nope. She’s done all she can do.” He asked increduously, “You sure?” Now imagine my tone–“Damn, Dad. She had champion Chester. We’re just happy to be in the grand drive. Go home and feed cows.” He went home. I later had to call him and explain that Mitchell the Chester was Reserve Grand Champion. He was pissed. We don’t keep many trophies, but we still have that one. Mitchell went on to be shown 10 times–he was champion chester 9 times, res. chester 1 time–res grand 3 times. Yes, he was champion Chester at OKC. That pig was a pet and there is a book full of Mitchell stories. He was the kind of animal that makes you love showing.
–2003–some Saturday in January. The pig show was early that year. This was probably my best day ever as an ag teacher. I wasn’t at the Laverne pig show. I was an older, wiser ag teacher. I had too many irons in the fire. I had one student that wanted to go to the Laverne pig jackpot. On Friday afternoon, I clipped Chancey’s heifer for a a different jackpot on Saturday. Friday night, I clipped Ashley Clapper’s home raised Yorkshire barrow. I gave them feeding instructions for the next day. I then listened to Blake Bixler practice his speech for a contest the next day. Ashley and Darin Clapper headed to Laverne on Saturday morning. Max and Debra hauled Chancey to the cattle show. Stan and Rodeana hauled Blake to Enid to the speech contest. I stayed at Waynoka and trimmed hooves and rough clipped heifers for the Laverne cattle jackpot the next week. This is where the ag teaching day got good. I just answered my phone as they called with results. Ashley had grand barrow with a home raised hog. Chancey had grand heifer with a home raised heifer. Blake won a $1,000 scholarship at the KNID agrifest speech contest. I never left Waynoka. Either I was one helluva an ag teacher or I had really good parents with great kids. I think, actually I know, it was a little of the first and a whole lot of the next two.
–2009–I judged the hog show. I don’t get giddy, but there was bit of it in me that day. The same barn, same show that I first entered a show ring. Yeah, I felt it. I distinctly remember this show. Galen McCune was teaching at Woodward and he had assembled a heckuva set of barrows. Kade Lamle was a senior and his dad had a really nice set of barrows on feed at Beaver. The Balko crew was still rolling out good barrows. There was a pile of hogs there that year. The top end was really good. I will normally try to beat a friend, but on that day, it was an honor to use Kade Lamle as grand barrow. Of course, that hamp barrow went on to win Beaver County, Woodward District and was a class winner at OYE. When it’s the right one–you use the right one. It’s also the only show that I will admit that I would like to change. I should have used the Berk barrow for reserve grand. I hedged it and used a good York gilt for reserve. That was a dang nice Berk barrow and it is NOT like me to pass on a hobby breed to get a piece of the action. The dust in the barn must have gotten to me.
–2010–goat show. Duke is now 9 years old. He has two wethers on feed for OYE. Most people didn’t realize that Duke was of age since he never jackpotted any until he turned 9. He was at all the shows with Kela, but he was busy digging in the dirt and eating corn dogs with Jerry Pfeiffer. I was clipping Tori Sessions does to go to this jackpot. Duke was with me. Tony asked, “Duke are you showing your wethers at Laverne? ” OH CRAP! “Dad, can I show Superman and Slick at this show?” Crap! I hadn’t told him about this show for a reason. So I asked ,”Are you ready?” “Yeah, Dad. I’m ready. Can I win?” I looked at him and said, “I don’t think the judge will like your goats. You will probably be 2nd at best.” This now became one of those “stock show parent moments” that happen.” He said, “Dad, I don’t care if the judge likes them or not. Superman and Slick are my friends. We’ll do good.”
So we went to show at Laverne. Tori wins the doe show with Ketchup. Now, for the wether show. Let’s just say that Duke and his two buddies did well. Slick won a class. Superman won a class. Then Superman was grand. Slick should have been reserve grand but the judge was NOT going to let Duke have grand and reserve. The judge jumped me after the show. “First of all, I didn’t know that Duke was 9. Second, I didn’t know he had wethers on feed. And why in the hell did you bring him to show under me? Anybody else would have used him for grand and reserve. But dang!” I apologized to Tommy Milligan and explained that Duke wanted to show and what do you do? Then on the way home, Duke wanted to know why Tommy liked Superman for grand, but didn’t like Slick. How come both goats can’t win? Can I win more shows? How come they give checks instead of real money? Did he like Superman better because he had a red cape? How come that big guy that drinks beer wasn’t with Milligan? Do I get to keep Superman and Slick or do we have to get rid of Superman because he won?
Even though a buddy judged the show, there was no buddy favors. He should have been grand and reserve. For the record, Slick was only beat once in class–at OYE, he was 2nd. Superman went on to be a class winner at Enid and 2nd in class behind the grand at 2010 OYE and was 6th overall in sale order.
Which brings me to 2015. The hog show is tomorrow. I hate this show. The barn is dirty. I hate jackpots unless they pay a pile of cash. There isn’t a killer good restaurant in Laverne. I don’t want to show a pig tomorrow, but I am taking some great kids. Most of these kids have never seen a hog show. We are literally going to learn. The weather is going to be in the 70s. I distinctly remember that May 2014, I left a really good job to deal goats full time. Now, here is a Saturday with perfect weather. I could be pimping on goats getting them ready for shows and sales. Try to get ready to cash a check. NOOO! I’m going to Laverne to show some pigs. This show is literally costing me money, but…… but there is a tinge of that giddy feeling. I know, it’s stupid. But, I want to see these kids in the show ring with their pigs. Go watch the best golf movie of all time–Tin Cup. “You feel that tuning fork go off in your heart…” Yeah, I know. I’m retarded.
And then, I realize, there is a chance for a story. This show might be a highlight memory for somebody. This is the kind of show that reminds us why we do this. Oh, there is a goat show tomorrow. But WE ain’t doing that deal. I’m out. Great judge, great weather but the goat showers are now old-hands. We’ll do that deal at a later time. Have a great day and a better tomorrow.