Connally jumps into cattle
Powell – “Ever since I was little, I’ve been on the farm,” 18-year-old Tamara Connally says. “I’ve always had a soft spot for cattle, but I never planned to get into the cattle business as much as I did.”
When her grandparents split, the Powell native was given all of the cattle from their herd.
“I was young, and the cows were all given to me,” says Connally. “It became my little business, and it’s been good to me.”
Her herd is primarily Black Angus – Maine Anjou cross cattle that she shows each year, though she has also showed Hereford and Charolais cattle.
Investing in cattle
When she started, Connally notes that everything was given to her – something she recognizes as unusual and a blessing. She felt it necessary to invest some her own capital into the endeavor and work hard to make it successful.
“A neighbor was selling their bum heifer, so I bought it,” she says. “I figured, ‘What the heck? She’ll give me a calf every year and pay herself off.’”
Connally says that cow has proven to be one of her favorite, and she has continued investing in the herd.
Her mother, Jodee Metzler, helps her by providing feed for the cattle. However, the money for feed costs comes from her college fund.
“The profits from my cattle are to be used to pay for my college,” she says, “and I’ve worked hard to make it happen.”
With a good start, Connally operates under the vision that hard work leads to success.
“It’s not how much I spend on my calf, it’s how much time I spend with them,” says Connally. “I’m a firm believer that, even if I spent $5,000 on a calf, if I don’t work hard, I won’t win.”
Connally says that many of her competitors spend lots of money on expensive, premium show cattle, but by working with her animals more and continually improving her relationship with her animals, she sees success.
“I can spend as much money in the world to get the best looking calf, but it matters more what I put into it,” she adds. “Even when things don’t go like I want them to in showmanship classes, I know that I’ve tried my hardest.”
Along with working in-town at various jobs, Connally finds time to work her steers each night, noting that occasionally, she doesn’t get down to the barn until midnight.
Despite all of her hard work, Connally notes that the people who have helped her are also very important.
“I can’t thank Tom and Tammy Jones enough,” she says. “They have been so good and helped me out.”
Time well spent
Aside from the rewards she sees from working with her cattle, Connally says, “I really enjoy spending time with my cattle.”
“No one wants to wake up and feed their animals,” she says. “I’ve missed opportunities and times with family because someone has to stay home and take care of the animals, but it’s been fun.”
Connally says learning responsibility and how to set priorities has been worth all the hard work.
“Every year brings something new,” she comments. “I learn new tricks of the trade with each steer and have begun making a name for myself.”
Starting from nothing, Connally says she has become well known in the area for her cattle.
Continuing in the industry
Despite this year marking her last year to show, Connally says she plans to continue in the ag industry.
“I’ll be attending Northwest College on a full livestock judging scholarship,” she comments. “I’m excited to be in college.”
Connally will be working on Associate’s Degrees in ag business, agriculture education and Spanish.
“My cattle have been good to me,” says Connally, “and they’ve provided me a nice start financially for college and the rest of my life.”
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.