Hanna Gruhlkey, 17 from Adrian, TX, describes her show experience as a “full family operation”. Her parents both showed in their youth, and her older sister showed steers all through school. For Hanna, however, after nine successful years with cattle…she thought she’d try something different.
“Goats are a whole different story!” she says “You’d think it would be easier, since they are small enough to kind of drag around but training them is so different. They are very stubborn.” Hanna and her family relied heavily on their local county agent to show them the ropes. “We were all new at it. We didn’t know what to do, and the goat didn’t know what to do…we were all lost and confused!” She says, laughing. In spite of the troubles, Hanna has no regrets. “We’ve met new people showing goats and have had a ton of fun doing it.”
In spite of the extra time spent learning to show goats, Hanna still managed to raise a Grand Champion steer, as well as keep up with cheerleading, NHS, FFA, 4-H livestock judging, quiz bowl and public speaking contests. “It can get to be a lot to balance school, but the community is so small that everyone is really understanding. We are very lucky.” Hanna explains. “I think that goes back to the whole family working together to get ready for shows. It’s never one person putting in all the work. My mom likes to say she focuses on me and my sister and outfits and packing while my dad focuses on the cattle. We all focus on different aspects of the process.”
Even with all the help, Hanna knows the importance of being hands on, making sure she spend as much time in the barn every day as she can to keep their routine in place.
“We start out by breaking them when we first get them, gentling them and developing show ring presence. We wash and dry every day. It’s the most important part of the process, to get them ready for jackpots.” She explains. “We usually feed before dark, and we’ll set them up at least three times before we feed and turn them out for the night. Usually during school my dad gets them into the barn and set up for the day.”
Their nutrition program has stayed the same all of Hanna’s life. “We’ve always fed Hi-Pro Feeds.” She says. “First, the starter when they are young. As they get heavier and gain weight we switch to the finisher and feed it for the rest of the year. We feed Hi-Pro to the cattle in the pasture, too. It fits all our needs. We’ve fed it for a really long time.”
For Hanna, all the hard work is worth it in the end. “I love seeing the progress they make throughout the year, both in attitude and the way they look.” She says. “Sometimes I get nervous working with them in the beginning, because they can be ornery and not cooperate, so you’re sometimes not sure you can break those bad habits. We have one right now that’ likes to mess with you when you’re trying to lead him, but he’s getting better. We’ve never had to give up on one. Even the hardest cases grow and mature throughout the year and surprise us.”
Hi-Pro Feeds would like to congratulate Hanna on her hard work and dedication. For more information on our show feeds, click here.