Paige Lenaburg

Extra-Special Express Memories
By Paige Lenaburg

Showing Angus cattle has been an important part of my life since I was nine years old and the Express Ranches hardworking employees and quality livestock have made a large contribution to my success. I remember when my father first told me that we were going to Yukon, Oklahoma, to attend my first Express cattle sale and attempt to find my first show project. I was so excited I could hardly wait for the next couple of days to pass. I do believe that one of my fondest memories began prior to the sale when my father, from his recliner, tilted his sale magazine to meet my glance unveiling a picture of the most magnificent heifer I had ever seen. My dad told me that I needed to keep an open mind because you cannot always get your first choice, and there are many others that could have their sights set on the same heifer. Of course none of this meant anything to me at the time because I had my heart set on her.………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

I've learned so much in the nine years I have been showing, and I would like to personally convey my utmost thanks and appreciation to the Express team that has helped me throughout these years. I remember how much I enjoyed leaving school early to go over to the Express Ranches farm in Shawnee, Oklahoma, to learn from, and receive instruction on how to professionally groom my animals. They taught me how to take care and condition my heifers for shows and in everyday maintenance. They showed me the correct way to wash and dry them and taught me techniques with a show stick that proved very beneficial while setting their hooves in the show ring. Other techniques they taught me include show ring tips, proper show ring etiquette and how to set them up on the walk instead of using my show stick. Not only did they help me with my heifers but, I also had the privilege of developing a close relationship with the Express staff which made it so much fun to see and talk to them at shows. They made me feel that they really came to see me and even went to lunch on my birthday one year. They would get me donuts and drinks while I waited for my heifer to be clipped and would also show me around. One funny story that sticks out in my mind is when I was in the fifth grade just after I had gone to Yukon to get my heifer. We had a writing assignment on “if we could spend time with any celebrity or anyone at all, who would it be and why”. I remember I wrote that if I could meet and spend the day with anyone that I would like to meet Bob Funk and spend the day with him at his Express Ranches and see his house. My teacher at the time thought that it was really funny that I did not pick a movie star or the president. There is also a funny fact about my first heifer MayFlower. For some reason, even though others helped me work on her, she always liked me the best and allowed me to approach her in her pen and in the pasture to pet her. She was a little more cautious with anyone else. I would encourage other exhibitors to buy Express heifers because showing helped me to be competitive in other areas and to work hard. Many times I would play softball games and go straight home to work with my heifers. If I wanted to be a competitor in the show ring, then it would have to start with having a quality heifer project, time, and hard work. Express heifers were truly excellent, good-natured heifers for my brothers and I to exhibit. Not only did I build a quality show string but it also improved my herd and I started to learn how to use selective breeding to produce my own quality bred and owned show string. I have learned so many lessons and principles working with Express heifers and their staff not only in showing but in life as well. Express also influenced me enough that I now am planning to major in Animal Science/Pre-Vet at Oklahoma State University. Express Ranches Progressive Junior Scholarship program will be beneficial to me in attending Oklahoma State and being able to fulfill my dreams. I am definitely glad that I'm tied to the quality organization of Express Ranches