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Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, September 04, 1904, Image 33

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Campaigning a Cattle Show Herd
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Tltf! raminlralnt of a ihoW herd IS
I 1 not always a matter of unalloyed
I nipuiirtt- and only a few show
men. If I may use the term, have
-found a profit therein. The
cash premiums at the better fairs and
shows are not Infrequently tahen over by
the larger and older herds and the new
beginner sometimes finds his only source
of consolation In the things he learns and
the advertisement which his herd receives.
This of itself Is no small Item. Even
though he may not win first place, tho
man who. yar by year, will fit and show
to hundreds or thousands of farmers and
fellow breeders the choice animals of his
herd, has laid the foundation of bis for
tunes as a breeder and may in time come
to be classed with those who are Justly
styled 'successful.
In the brief confines of this article all
the Ins and outs of fitting and showing a.
herd may not be told. For that mattor
there are few breeders or herdsmen who
could tell the story In every detail, and
these few are the least inclined to talk.
The successful showman of fine stock Is a
man of action rather than of much speech.
He has not the time for a long-winded
discourse, and If there are deep and dan
gerous secrets In the business he has
learned them from long: experience and
they are not lightly to be divulged. And
again, If -there are secrets In fitting .a
liord1 for the show yard they are only re
vealed to him who has the patience and
the desire to learn. I am not one of those
who believe in secret powders and mys-
"terious potions. That Is only a supersti
tion and should be relegated to the dim
and musty garret of forgotten days and
left to calm repose among the other use
less lumber of the pest.
For purposes of Illustration I have
selected the good herd of Hereford cattle
owned by that typical Mlssourlan, Colonel
Overton Harris of Harris, and presided
over by that thorough and practical herds
man, Jimmy Price. It is not within my
province to describe the fitting and show
ing of a prise winning herd.) but using this
one herd as an example of what may be ac
complished under favorable conditions, per
haps I may set out some facts of general
Interest and lend encouragement to those
who, with fcarV and trembling, are Just
new entering the lists.
To go back to the beginning of this par
ticular herd, one need not look so far
astern on the currents of time. About ten
years ago there was a sale of Hereford
cattle at Kansas City and I believe that
Gidgell St Simpson were the principal con
signors. When the crowd had gathered
around the sale ring a man. with a broad
brimmed soft hat upon his head came In
quietly and found a scat far. to the rear.
He was a stranger to the breeders assem-
- f . -
X UT.i'-rv v -
bled there and none gave him greeting.
As. the sale progressed he occasionally
caught tho eye of the auctioneer - and
ventured a small bid. -That auctioneer
was Colonel Woods and he has that rare
faculty of picking out a man who wants
to buy and yet who hesitates.
The colonel gave particular attention to
' the quiet, smooth-faced stranger on the
high seats In. the rear and. finally suc
ceeded in selling him several good animals.
That was in tho days of low prices and
the stranger bought his cattle at ah
averagro of about $Tj a head. When the
sale was oyer the breeders and the field
men present hastened to make the ac-
- qualntanco of tho new buyer.' He gave his
name to the clerk, and Overton Harris had
entered upon his career oa a breeder. But
he was assailed by many strango doubts
and misgivings. He Is not one of those who
hasten in where nngcls fear to tread. He
.had paid too much, he said $75 for a cow
was mighty high, and he straightway be
gan to question the wisdom of such a
reckless investment. IKs new friends re
assured him, howevpr, and he departed,
comforted if not consoled. '
ABbut fhls same time he "bought a small
herd of Hcrcfords from a neighbor, who
wastin difficulties and. wanted to sell at a
bargain. The average price paid for this
herd was low, but under the skillful hand
ling of their Tew owner 'show stuff wds'
developed and in 1901 Betty d was sold
fo 14,500. As a breeder he developed amas
ing'.y, and $75 for a c9w no longer looked
large to Overton Harris.
In 1S99 he made his first 'formal entry
Into tho show yard. He had bought and
bred many, good individuals prior to that
time and he carried homo a few of the
ribbons. But he lacked In one great and
most essential detail. He owned 3,000 acres
of fine grass land near the town of Harris.
Ho had laid the foundation of his herd
.in the best blood lines of the breed. - His
barns seemed ample In size and all the
surroundings favored the making of a
great show herd, but bs had not yet found
' bis herdsman.
About this time, -r.s discovered Jimmy
. Price. Jimmy Is English; he was born In
Herfordshire and his father before htm
was a breeder. Fourteen years ago Jimmy
Price came to the htnd of the free. He
was looking for work, but when once he
found it he did it so well that he never
had to look again. After that It came to
him. He loved cattlo and has , worked ,
for some of the leadlug Hereford breeders,
among them J. C Adams and Tom Clark
of Illinois, W. a VanKatta and Clem
Graves of Indiana. He learned their cattle
and their methods of Handling and ha
developed and carried out methods of his
own. He was with the Adams herd nt
the time of tho dispersion say in the
spring of VJjO. Mr. Harris made him an
offer and' it was' accepted on condition
that his new employer was to buy soma
of the choicest cows In that great herd.
Upon one In particular Jimmy had set
his heart. Othtr breeders were there who
had also looked with favor upon that cow
and the final bid which bought her, and
closed the deal with Jimmy Price, was
$4,600. That was a far cry from the price
which 'Overtpn Harris paid for his first
Hereford cow. He was now a full-fledged
cattleman and his place amcng the breed
ers was, unquestioned. They no longer
called him Mr. Harris and the title of
colonel was too dignified. They called
him "Obe" then, and ho Is "Obe" Harris
today among all his friends, and they ore
Jimmy Price came to take up his abode
with the Model Blu grass herd In the
spring of 19C0 and his critical eye soon took
in the details of his new domain. Jimmy Is
a man of few words. He has in large
measure what Al'red Henry Lewis calls
"the mighty gift of silence." When be
speaks it is well to give ear, for he may
not come again. He approved of the wldo
pastures where the cattle stood knee deep
in the luscious grasses, but he suggested
changes and additions to the barn. "Obe
Harris thought he had a barn that ans
wered every purpose, but ho was willing to
be advised. The herdsman wanted mors
room and he wanted a great, wide, cool
basement. It Is one of. his settled beliefs
that a heavy animal should not stand upon
a board floor. He wants the soft and yield
ing dirt under the feet of his heavy herd
headers. The board floor will do for the
babies of the herd. And the barn as it Is
now arranged is a model of comfort and
convenience. Upon the first floor are the
roomy stalls for the young stuff. Wire net
ting keeps out the files and there is always
an abundance of fresh, clean straw. Jn
the bacement are kept the older cattle that
are being fitted for the show herd.
Throughout the day the doors are closed
and the windows are darkened. It Is not
an Inviting place for files xand few find
their way within.
At night the herd goes out to pasture and
the fresh, dewey grass gives, more of that
smooth, even finish and that healthy
growth thnn could all the secret feeds ever
devised. . Promptly at 4 o'clock in the
morning the show herd Is brought back to
the barns and during thsday the cattle are
fed a mixed ration 'of ground feed; corv
oats and bran, with a little oil meal. Al
this season of the year some green corn Is)
chopped .up and mixed In with the feed. It
Is a splendid appetizer and the cattle eat It
with a keen relish.
And now for the secret of that wonderful
fitting which has sent the Hurris herd to
the head of the line In so many hard
fought shows. I followed Jimmy Price)
about the barns and watched him feed and
care for his pets. I thought that he might
drop the secretand that I might carry It
away with ma" and spread Its maglo powers
broadcast among the breeders. But if hs
had It about his person he guardsd it care
fully. I peered into the feed boxes, but It
was not there, and finally I asked him If
he would tell it to me under promise of ab
solute sllence Jimmy allowed a slow srnll
to drift across his weather-beaten face. At
best his words are few, but this time h
opened up a mine of Information and spoke
at length.
'"Just good care and good feed, that's
all," be said.
That may be all, but none the less It Is
a whole lot The experience of many years
may be wrapped up in that one senteac.
Jimmy Price knows a show herd cannot be
fitted In sixty or ninety days. He carries
his show cattle over from one year to an
other. In the beginning the blood lines
must be right Like begets like as & rule
and when the sires and dams have been
noted pize winners it is fair to presums
that some of their get and produce will
also be good enough to go out and win.
The most promising calves are each year
selected and put on the waiting list. If
their dams sre good milkers they may not
noed much extra feed, but generally a nurss
cow Is pressed Into service. And thess
nurse cows follow the show herd ariuad
the circuit of the fairs. -
Sometimes the dam of a good calf Is dried
up if she belongs to the show herd and m
nurse cow will raise her calf. The calf is'
fed up to its appetite and for the first year
mostly on milk. Very little grain Is siren
and that In the form of ground feed con
taining very little corn. Jimmy says that
too, much grain will spoil the calf for tbs
second season. He claims that it is a very
difficult matter to carry a calf over to tns
second season in winning form. After that
period Is passed it Is much easier to carry
an animal In show form from one year to
the next, and that without injuring It for
breeding purposes.
There are cows in the Harris herd that
have been prize winners for three or four
years. The feeding is important, but good,
(Continued on Page Sixteen.)
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