Show and Go
"To see a kid walking out of the show ring with a smile on his face – that’s what it’s all about,” explained Blake Morrison of Morrison Show Cattle near Mountain Home, Ark., in Baxter County. “To know the amount of work they have put into their animals and know that it has paid off. That’s the best part of this life.”
Morrison Show Cattle started in 1988. “My family actually started raising cattle when I was about six years old. At 15 I got my first show calf and started raising show cattle. It was then that I started working towards this dream.”
Now Blake and his wife, Tracy, operate Morrison Show Cattle and sell club calves to 4-H and FFA students in the area as well as outside the state. “This is a family operation with my wife and my mom. Our kids also help out some,” Blake chuckled. “My son Dalton is 8; daughter Mackenzie is 8; and daughter Allyson is 6 – and they all have some experience with the cattle.”
“We raise crossbred heifers and steers for kids to show and hopefully win,” Blake said. “Of course if we can get our cattle out there with kids and they win, that will help our reputation of selling quality show calves.”
The Morrisons cross many different breeds to obtain the best calf they can.
According to Blake they keep records on all their animals to help them make wise breeding decisions. “I have a 15 year old cow on the place right now. I can go back and tell you what she was bred to the first time, how that calfgrew out and every calf after that one,” he said.
Bulls and Breeding
“We use artificial insemination (AI) for most of our cows and then have two clean-up bulls – an Angus and Hereford,” he said. “We synchronize all our females as well as doing AI work for other producers in the area. Last year we synchronized about 125 head total. So we stay pretty busy,” he chuckled.
According to Blake they start the AI process around the end of May and usually finish by the end of June. “This gives us calves from March to May the following year. Sometimes there are few late ones if the pasture bulls breed something, but generally this is the best time for us to calve.
“We don’t look at EPDs as much when we’re breeding for show calves. We focus more on the visual aspects and try to get a calf the judge will like in the ring,” he added.
“When someone purchases a show calf from us, we stand behind that buyer with all the show services. We’ll help with the feeding program, go to the show and help with the fitting and grooming and help maintain the animal to show standards.
“Plus for the kids, especially those who are trying to get into showing cattle, it can be overwhelming. We actually have one boy who bought a steer from us, but he comes out here to work with him and keep him ready for the shows. Lance is a senior in high school and he’s one of the hardest working kids I know,” commented Blake.
Advice and Goals
“Ultimately we’d like to be known for our good cattle and for the way we help kids. Showing cattle is a big learning opportunity for kids. It teaches them responsibility, make them take pride in their own work and can even help them with a college fund sometimes."