IRETON—Sixteen-year-old Kendra Schipper of Ireton has found her calling, and it comes from raising heifers.
“I like the bond between me and my heifer and I like being in the show ring,” Schipper said. “The bond with the animals is worth all the hard work.”
Schipper has three cows; two breeding heifers — Nellie, a limflex, and Ginger, a Simmental heifer. She also has a steer named Otis, who is a purebred angus raised at home. He was also the first calf born to Schipper’s first-ever breeding heifer Judy who she bought in the fall of 2018 off a MPJ Cattle Co. sale.
“Judy was my first heifer,” Schipper said. “She had great personality to her and was very calm for my first heifer. I planned on showing Judy and Otis last year at fair as a cow and calf pair, but instead, COVID-19 and no fair.”
Schipper is a member of Grant Little Giants 4-H club and she is active in West Sioux FFA where she is looking forward to being the treasurer this coming school year.
Showing at the Plymouth County Fair in LeMars was Schipper’s favorite fair of the year thus far. She earned champion with Nellie, Ginger and Otis.
“Otis, my steer, he was in the performance division,” Schipper said. “He made the top five and placed fourth overall for grade and weight of gain. It is also my favorite fair because it is where I go to 4-H.”
Each morning Schipper is up at 5:30 a.m. washing her cows by 6 a.m., drying them and feeding them. From Ireton, she then drives to school about 7:30 a.m. for lifting and returns later in the morning to check up on the three. Each night, Schipper is out with her cows at 8 p.m. for their night feeding, washing and drying again and after the sun goes down, she turns them out to pasture for the night.
“It is teaching her a lot of responsibility,” mother Julie Schipper said. “She is very shy so it’s making her talk to judges about her animals and gets her out in front of a crowd. We are very proud.”
Schipper says she first became interested in stock cows watching her dad Dan and Lee Harry raise them. In her younger years she would always help them and felt a special bond with the cows.
“I love animals and always liked cows,” she said. I like the challenge of training and getting them ready for the show ring. When I do good in the ring, my hard work pays off.”
Schipper’s least favorite part of showing at the fair is “stripping them down” and after show season, putting them out to pasture with the rest of the herd.
To finish off Nellie, Otis and Ginger’s 2021 fair season, Schipper will be showing at the Iowa State Fair and the Clay County Fair.