Showing cattle together is more than winning trophies for the Effling sisters of Highmore, S.D.
“I love being able to do it as a family. We get to meet a lot of new people together. We get to enjoy the same thing. It’s a big family bonding thing,” says middle sister Chesney Effling, 15. “It gives us something to do together in the summer. I like to spend a lot of time with them and this is the best way to do it.”
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, however. After all, someone does have to wash calves, which Chesney says is oftentimes her job unless they can pawn it off on their dad. Their parents are Chris and Kristi Effling.
Oldest sister, Cagney, 18, and Chesney agree that they have learned patience and cooperation when working together and with their youngest sister, Kenidey, 10.
“Working together as a family is my favorite part,” Kenidey says.
Chesney says she has learned to see everyone’s point of view and understanding that Kenidey cannot do everything she and Cagney can. They have learned to work as a team and problem solve together.
“For me leadership because I’m the oldest one,” Cagney says of what she’s learned from showing with her sisters. “I’m constantly being told I need to set an example and I take it seriously.”
Besides teamwork, Kenidey has learned some showing tricks.
“I learned from my older sister, Cagney, to let them finish their step, especially when you have older heifers that don’t really get along with you just let them finish their step when setting them up,”Kenidey says.
At the 2016 South Dakota State Fair all three sisters had a heifer in the running for supreme female in the open class beef show. Cagney notes that 2016 was the second year in a row they all showed in the final but in 2016 they all three made it to the top seven. Chesney pulled off the win with her Hereford heifer.
“This year was pretty cool because all three of our heifers were picked for top seven,” Cagney says. “We had a pretty special set of heifers this year so it made it fun.”
Cagney showed a Charolais heifer, which is her preferred breed ever since she showed her first Charolais heifer she got from Troy Thomas in 2010 when she went to her first junior national show. Kenidey showed a Simmental. Her favorite breeds are Hereford and Simmental.
Chesney is big into Herefords and enjoys the people she has gotten to meet through the junior association and shows.
“It’s a really good junior breed association to be involved in,” Chesney says.
Depending on the day, show, number of animals and help they have around, the sisters take on different roles every time.
“We work really well together as a team. We all know that there’s stuff that has to get done,” Chesney says. “I’m usually on the wash rack washing and Cagney and Kenidey usually blowing. We kind of trade roles. We can all do it all. It’s really nice that not everybody has to do the exact same thing every day.”
Besides showing cattle together, the sisters also judge livestock. This past fall, Cagney and Chesney judged together at the national FFA contest and the national 4-H contest.
Cagney says judging with Chesney at two national contests just a few weeks apart this fall created more memories for the sisters. Since one of the original team members on Cagney’s Highmore-Harrold FFA team could not judge at the national contest, they brought Chesney in as the replacement even though she is a freshman.
“It was cool for her to step up and do something for me so I could do something I want and compete on the level I want to compete on,” Cagney says.
Cagney says they have always been told to have fun with what they are doing. They try to keep showing cattle fun and spend the time when they are cooped up in the show barn singing and dancing to music.
“If you’re not having fun, then it doesn’t matter. That’s always what it’s been about for us. Winning is awesome and great, but it doesn’t mean anything if you’re not having fun,” Cagney says.