Gypsy Wagon – Aug./Sept. 2018

By Betty Jo Gigot, Publisher

One of CALF News’ goals is to take you with us wherever we go, but you will have to roller skate really fast to keep up with the Gypsy Wagon this time. Escaping from the summer heat in Phoenix (it was 114 degrees yesterday) has become a yearly thing and, so far, I’ve had the perfect solution. I’d originally thought about leasing a place in a cooler spot like Colorado or Wyoming this year but decided I could probably get away with one more year of living-off-the-land. In Australia, they call it a “walkabout.” Here, I call it lucky-to-have-friends (and relatives) who will share a good steak and a better scotch for a few nights, in return for an expensive dinner out and a few new stories. So far so good. I may have to add a couple of songs if I keep this up.

For the past 25 years, I have been in Garden City, Kan., for their Beef Empire Days celebration, so how could I miss their 50th anniversary (see story on page 32)? Don’t you think founders John Dohogne and big Earl Brookover would be proud to know the beat goes on?

I bet John and Earl would have been just a little surprised to see a show entry weighing over 1,700 lbs., and an average entry weight of at least 1,450 lbs., but cattle in the show this year were outstanding.

When Derek Sawyer joined me in the stands, I introduced myself. Derek, a Kansas rancher from McPherson, got a little excited when they sorted out the top steers, so I asked him if he had a steer in the group. “Only the black ones,” he said.

He placed first, third and fifth in the live steer division. That doesn’t happen very often. Good show, Derek.

Not only is cattle feeding continuing in southwest Kansas, but it’s flourishing. New pens are going in, and when properties come up for sale, buyers line up. I had a chance to see Beefland’s new feed alleys and Finney County’s latest addition. While visiting with Tom Jones at Hy-Plains, I realized I needed to swing back to Montezuma the next week to attend the One Health Initiative conference at the Hy-Plains Education and Research Center (see story on page 8).

Next, it was time for a jaunt to Tescott, just a few miles north of Salina, Kan., to stay with Jess Ebert, CALF News national sales manager, her husband, Levi, their sons, Ty and Mason, and a new, 10-week-old toy Aussie named Fancy. They also have a hoard of goats to eat weeds, a yellow dog to guard the goats, a very busy farm and ranch program and a fabulous flatiron steak cooked by Levi.

On the schedule was a story about the new Nextgen Cattle Co., down the road near Paxico (see story on page 20) and the CK Ranch (see story on page 38) near Brookville. Nextgen had won Grand Champion Heifer at the Beef Empire Days show. The company also has just opened their Chophouse restaurant in Maple Hill (see story on page 30).

Speaking of Brookville and adding a little variety to the menu, Bill and Kathie Rhea of Rhea Cattle Co., near Arlington, Neb., met me in Abilene for an amazing chicken dinner at the famous Brookville Hotel (no story about chicken). After a weekend with Dean’s sister, Marg, in Topeka where I realized how much I like the 5 percent humidity in Phoenix, I headed to Colorado to guess what? Write stories.

As you can see from the size of this issue of CALF News, the magazine is going great guns. In case you don’t realize it, the number of pages in a magazine depends on the dollars brought in from advertising. Thanks to our loyal advertisers and to you folks who support us every day. We are proud to be a part of your lives.