Powder River Let ‘Er Buck Kaycee Ranch Rodeo Feature Story

            As the Working Ranch Cowboys Association is growing, so is the number of WRCA sanctioned rodeos. The WRCA sanctioned the Powder River Let ‘Er Buck Kaycee Ranch Rodeo in Kaycee, Wyo. for the first time during July of the 2017 competition season.

            “This is our fifth-annual year and our first year WRCA sanctioned,” said Tammie Neville, Kaycee Ranch Rodeo Coordinator. “We started getting interest from local teams that have their WRCA card to be sanctioned.

            “We were having a hard time getting teams and WRCA seemed like a good fit, with the American Quarter Horse Association’s Top Horse award and the helpfulness of the WRCA staff,” Neville said.

            One of the biggest challenges was getting local ranches to take the time to apply for their WRCA card, Neville said.

            In the future, we would like to grow our Friday night events, Neville said. Kaycee Ranch Rodeo held several events on Friday night this year however they would like to involve more local teams in the years to come.

            “We have four years under our belt and we foresee a strong future with WRCA,” Neville said.

            “It would be awesome to have someone who attended our event win the World Championship Ranch Rodeo,” Neville said. “We would be so excited and we would love to be there to watch.”

            Neville said Kaycee Ranch Rodeo is unique because of the participation of Dona Vold Larsen and Triple V Rodeo Company partnered with the size of Kaycee, Wyo.

            “Dona is an outstanding producer who knows to make a rodeo run and run efficiently,” Neville said. “In Kaycee, population 250, 10 teams with five members on a team makes an impression in a small town.”

            Kaycee, Wyo. is located on the Middle Fork of the Powder River in Johnston County and is primarily dependent on agriculture and mineral related businesses. 

Event-related Feature Example

For thousands of Oklahomans, spring break in Oklahoma is better known as Oklahoma Youth Expo the “World’s Largest Junior Livestock Show.”

            In March 2013, Destinee (Johnson)Harrison, exhibited both 2013 Grand Champion Market Wether Lamb and Grand Champion Market Wether Goat, resulting in Harrison being the first exhibitor in OYE history to have grand champion in two species during the same year.

            “Showing was something I did with my dad and that originally drew me into it,” said Destinee Harrison, former Tipton FFA livestock exhibitor. “Once I became an avid, showman my passion grew more and more as time went on. I grew attached to the rush and thrill of competing, just as any athlete would.”

            Harrison said she became “hooked” on showing sheep when she showed a sheep at the Tillman County Livestock Show. Winning showmanship at the Tipton Free Fair during her first year showing sheep was when she truly realized she had a talent for showing sheep, she said. 

            Harrison was constantly surrounded with endless love and support from her family throughout her show career, said Harrison.

            “My family was so into every aspect of my showing,” Harrison said “My father was always super hard on me and very critical of every little detail. We never missed a feeding or a work day. We worked until it was right, and it didn’t matter if it took 10 minutes or three hours.”

            Her mother, Angie Johnson, was more laid back and would do what was needed to make sure she got the work done, Harrison said. Unlike her father, Chris Johnson, Harrison’s mother was content with taking “a night off” every now and then, Harrison added.

            “My grandparents were always there to support me no matter what,” Harrison said.  “While grandpa was still alive, they never missed a show.”

            She also received help from her uncle, Brian Johnson, for picking out the best lambs for the year, Harrison said. Johnson would also convince Harrison’s father to purchase “a couple more sheep than we had originally decided on,” she said.

            While her show life was mostly handled by her dad, her educators played a vital role to her success, Harrison said.

            , “We only bought a goat in the first place because Destinee was getting wore out in the sheep barn,” Aaron Henson, Tillman County, Oklahoma Cooperative Service Extension Educator said.  “I bought the goat because Destinee wanted one, and it wasn’t until a month or so later that her dad, Chris, paid me back.”

            Harrison had shown sheep for the majority of her career and was starting to lose her passion and drive to win at age 16, Henson said.

            “Destinee and I worked out a deal with her dad that Destinee had to work all of her sheep before she could work with the goat,” Henson said. “Chris didn’t want her to have a goat period because he didn’t want to take her time and focus away from the sheep in the barn.”

            Harrison’s goat was subject to some experimenting, Henson said.

“I personally did a great deal of experimenting with Destinee’s goat,” Henson said. I worked with a chemist on campus at OSU to understand and perfect the drench mixture we use on our goats now.”

            On show day, Destinee’s Hampshire market wether lamb and Division Three market wether goat were scheduled to enter their respected show rings at the same time.

            “Chris, Destinee and I all agreed that her goat had a better chance of winning, so we had someone else in line to show her lamb,” he said. “After she won her goat class, she sprinted across the barn and down the ramp just in time to show her sheep.”

            Harrison won her lamb class, then hurried she back to show her goat for Division Three champion.

            Being an extension educator, Henson had numerous other exhibitors to help and was not able to watch Harrison show her goat for division champion.

            “I remember I was on my knees fitting a goat for the first class of Division Four,” Henson said. “I heard the judge start talking the division, so I stopped what I was doing and put down my clippers and combs to listen. I fell flat on my back in the middle of the aisle when the announcer said Destinee had won the division.”

Shortly after Harrison won Division Three with her goat, she also won champion Hampshire with her lamb. 

“We didn’t think her lamb had a chance of winning his breed either,” Henson said. “He was too small, not ideal for the situation.”

Winning OYE was “never a thought throughout the year at all,” especially not in the initial purchase of each animal, Henson said.

It was not until listening to the judge “talk” the rest of the goats they remotely thought they might have a chance at winning grand champion, Henson said.

“A few hours before grand drive, we sent everyone away, and Chris and I sat on the show box with the goat and lamb in the stall behind us,” Henson said. “That’s when her dad said ‘I think we have a chance at winning one of these.’ I looked at him and said ‘Big boy, I think we do.’”

They never once discussed whether they thought the goat or the lamb would claim the title, Henson said.

“We never talked about which one we thought would win because it was not our day to decide,” said Chris Johnson, Harrison’s father. “We have always tried to pick the good ones, we never anticipated we picked the best ones.”

Playing an important role in such a historical OYE event has not changed his thought process or approach to shows, Henson said.

“You can’t control one person’s opinion on that day,” he said. “The hardest time to show is in your class. I always tell my kids, ‘Until we win our class, we can’t win our division, and if we win our division, then we have a chance to win grand.’”

Harrison’s historical achievement did not go unnoticed, especially by those directly involved with OYE. The following year Tyler Norvell, executive director of OYE, presented Harrison and her family with a large, framed print of the backdrop image that was taken immediately after the grand drive, containing her award-winning lamb and goat along with her family and friends, to express his congratulations.

 “I have always believed you need to have strong family support to accomplish the things we did, I say ‘we’ because I was never alone in my success,” Harrison said.

Technical Feature Example

 

            In Southwest Oklahoma, cotton is a prominent and ever-growing crop, as are the prices of cotton seed and chemicals. However, the herbicide Dicamba, which recently received labeling for use on cotton, could be a financial game changer in the cotton industry.

            To “effectively treat the crop without harming it,” the seed must be genetically modified with the ability to resist the chemical that is being applied, said Doug Cossey, Bayer Crop Science representative.

            “Dicamba has been registered as a herbicide since the 1960s,” Cossey said. “In Southwest Oklahoma, it will greatly help protect against pig weeds and mares tail.”

            Dicamba has been in production under other names, including “Banvel,” as a broad leaf herbicide primarily used on wheat for protection against weeds, said Ted Meyer, Northcentral and Northwest Oklahoma Crop Production Services branch manager. “Dicamba’s increased volatility delayed the herbicide from being labeled for cotton sooner.”

            “This has been in the works for a while,” Meyer said. “It takes eight to 12 years to get approval through the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration, so we anticipated it would be approved for cotton use eventually.”

            The EPA and FDA have discussed Dicamba receiving labeling for cotton use for “three to four years now,” Meyer said.  

            “Why they allow this to happen, I do not know,” Meyer said. The Dicamba resistant seed was produced quite a while before the actual chemical was produced.”

            Meyer said he is excited about Dicamba receiving approval for cotton use because it gives CPS “another tool in the shed.”

            “When a producer uses ‘Roundup’ for five years, the weeds become resistant to it,” Meyer said. “Therefore the producer would then switch to using ‘Liberty.’ They will use ‘Liberty’ for around five years and eventually the weeds will become resistant to that also”

“Now we have Dicamba in our ‘tool shed’ which will help immensely, especially with crop rotation,” he added.

            Meyer compared this process to taking aspirin.

“If you take one aspirin to help with pain, sooner or later you must take two,” Meyer said.

Crop rotation is the key to long-term success for a farmer, he said.

            While Dicamba is the more cost efficient chemical, the cost of Dicamba-resistant seed can range $60 to $80 more than the competition, Meyer said.

            “The cost of Dicamba herbicide is considerably less than its competitors,” Meyer said. “I suspect the competing companies will be forced to lower their prices to stay in the ‘supply and demand’ game.”

            Innovation has always been a leading factor within the chemical industry, he said, and creations like Dicamba will only provide incentive.

            “I believe Dicamba will force innovation among other companies,” Meyer said. “This is an ever-changing industry, and to keep up with their competitors, chemical companies must always be looking ahead.”

            Distributors are not the only members of the cotton industry who are hopeful about Dicamba receiving cotton-use approval.

            “Dicamba herbicide is approximately half the price of the chemical we have been using in previous years,” said Dan Elsener, Tillman County cattle rancher and cotton producer. “This will help cut our costs and hopefully allow us to plant more acres of cotton this year. The cost of the seed is going to be higher, but seed is a one-time purchase where chemical is not.”

            Elsener resides in Tipton, Okla. where few trees grow to block wind, causing him to do a portion of his spraying after dark.

            “The application restrictions say we are not allowed to apply Dicamba at night or with winds greater than 10 mph,” Elsener said. “This will make it really hard in Southwest Oklahoma for us to spray, especially considering Dicamba cannot be applied by airplanes either.”

Elsener said he intends to plant Dicamba-resistant seed on several of his farms but not all of them for fear of harming other farmer’s crops.

            “I know a few of the other cotton producers are intending to plant strictly Dicamba-resistant seed,” he said. “I am afraid if I do not plant Dicamba-resistant seed on certain farms, the chemicals from my neighbors will drift and harm my crop, which is something we absolutely cannot afford.”

            While Elsener is hopeful about the success Dicamba will bring to his region of the state he is also concerned about the repercussions that could occur, he said.

            “There was an incident along the Arkansas-Missouri border where the drift from a farmer who used Dicamba harmed the crop of his neighbor who did not have Dicamba-resistant soybeans,” Elsener said. “This ruined long-standing family friendships and is the alleged cause of a murder.”

            With Dicamba now being available to cotton producers, companies that do not produce Dicamba are expecting a decrease in sales this year.

            “Since Bayer does not have any Dicamba technology this year, we anticipate our sales in chemical and seed to decline,” Cossey said. “Everyone likes new technology.”

            New technology like this requires a lot of research, Cossey said. Creating a chemical like this is not “done overnight,” he added.

            “Research and production for chemicals like this are extremely expensive and time consuming,” Cossey said. “The costs could be in the upward of $150 million in research alone. From the time a chemical like this is a thought to when the research is completed and approvals are received could be 15 years.”

            For Bayer to stay relevant and “in the game” chemists must always think several years in advance, Cossey said.

            “A new chemical and/or seed being introduced to a farmer is like the new iPhone 7 coming out,” Cossey said. “Everyone wants to be the first to use it, hoping it will be more productive than what they were previously using.”

            Although Bayer Crop Science does not have Dicamba technology this year, by the end of 2017 a possibility exists for Bayer having this technology, Cossey said.

            “Bayer is in the process of merging with Monsanto,” Cossey said. “The purchase will cost $66 billion and result in the largest agricultural company to date and allowing Bayer access to Dicamba technology.”