Colorado cowgirl helps V8 Ranch at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
March 29, 2017
While other high school seniors may have returned from a spring break trip with tan lines, Charlee Teague returned with hands-on experience with the V8 Ranch.
Teague, a senior at Wiggins High School in northeastern Colorado, is a cattle girl at heart and is integral to her family operation, Teague Family Farms. The Teagues are best known for their show goats, lambs and hogs but also run purebred and commercial cattle.
Teague became acquainted with Rachel Williams Cutrer when the family purchased Shorthorn cattle from the V8 operation based in Wharton, Texas. In addition to a successful Shorthorn herd that has since been dispersed, the V8 has the largest Brahman herd in the U.S. and is one of Texas' historic ranches.
When Teague had the opportunity to join Cutrer and her husband, Brandon, and the rest of the V8 Ranch family and crew at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, she knew it would be vastly different from the livestock shows she frequents.
“You literally give them a bath, brush them off, put sheen on them and that’s it,” she said. “We had 32 head at the show and six guys to take care of them. If we took 32 head of show steers, we would need 64 guys.”
The Brahman show is the largest cattle show in Houston and draws clients from all over the world. The V8 Ranch has sold cattle to clients in six countries and the Houston show is a draw for international and domestic customers.
"Most of the people we talked to were from South America, Africa or Central America," Teague said. "The bulls we were showing were bulls they were selling semen on and then they also had bulls on display at the ranch."
One group of buyers came through the V8 stalls from Columbia and Teague was struck by the differences in Columbian cattle production and the production with which she is familiar. The practicality of Brahman cattle is something Teague came away from Houston appreciating and it's one of the reasons so many producers are drawn to the Brahman breed.
V8 cattle are known for excellent genetics and many quality bloodlines began there.
"The heifer that won Houston won it last year as well so she's a two-time National Champion," Teague said. "She is completely from Brandon's (Cutrer) genetics which is really cool because (Brandon and Rachel) put that together themselves."
PREPARING FOR A SHOW
Teague shows market cattle in Morgan County, Colo., as well as hogs and goats. The cattle Teague shows are shown clipped and fitted, a process that is time and labor intensive. Cattle are often summered in cool rooms to encourage weight gain and hair growth and fitting prior to a show is a long process that requires multiple fitters per animal. Alternately, sale preparation for a Brahman show is simple in comparison.
"You literally give them a bath, brush them off, put sheen on them and that's it," she said. "We had 32 head at the show and six guys to take care of them. If we took 32 head of show steers, we would need 64 guys."
Marketing is the name of the game at Houston and Teague had an opportunity to learn first-hand about international livestock marketing. Rachel Cutrer is the founder and CEO of Ranch House Designs, a design firm specializing in livestock in addition to her work on the ranch. The amount of marketing material and presence at the Houston show is something to behold, Teague said.
The ranch had copious amounts of marketing material set up at huge booths in the stall area complete with cowhide rugs, couches, a photo booth with a professional photographer and a catered stall party. The quality of the materials and the cattle drew potential clients to the booths, an important feat given that so many customers make limited trips to the U.S. to purchase cattle or semen.
Teague had the opportunity to be a part of communicating with potential and existing clients, many of whom hailed from other countries but a common thread was an appreciation for quality cattle with traits that make them successful in individual operations and on the rail.
The marketing lessons learned on the cowhide rugs in Houston will translate to Teague's role with her own family operation in Fort Morgan. After college at either Kansas State University or Oklahoma State University, Teague hopes to return to the area to practice medicine and have her hand in the livestock operation. Her older siblings, Shelby and Tucker, are current students at Kansas State University and Texas A & M, respectively.
Teague is involved in most aspects of her family's cattle operation. They have commercial cattle as well as a purebred Angus herd, a purebred Shorthorn herd and a Charolais/Red Angus hybrid herd. Teague was quick to maintain the importance of quality marketing materials, something she's keeping in mind as she and her family prepare for the April 8 lamb and goat sale at their ranch.
Quality genetics, outstanding marketing materials, and building successful operations translate whether raising Brahmans in south Texas or club calves in Colorado and Teague is thankful for the experience and for the friendship she's forged with the Cutrer family.
"Our operation is a lot different (than V8's) at the show," she said. "When we went back to the ranch at the end of the trip, it was pretty much the same, you know, ranching." ❖
— Spencer is a freelance writer from Wiggins, Colorado, where she and her family raise cattle and show goats. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at Rachel Spencer Media.