Category Archives: Academic Quadrathlon

Canine Oblivion

Well, it’s darn near mid-August already – how did that happen?!

I’ve been looking back through photos from this spring and had to write about this little (non)incident – consider it a Throwback Tuesday, if you will.

In previous posts, I’ve discussed Moxie the ranchdog. You may recall that she considers calves – of any size and age, really – non-targets of her aggression toward bovines. Here are a few photos to illustrate that point. These were taken in early May.

Oh hey. How’s it going?

No reaction, even to bucking and kicking.

Nope. Nothing.

Still nothing.



Since my last post, we did sort cow/calf pairs into 3 bunches: replacement heifers and bulls, sale calves, and first-calf heifer pairs. As expected, there were quite a few agonizing decisions on who to keep and who to sell. But the good thing is we can change our minds and do some switcheroos if the calves change between now and shipping!

I’m also happy to report that the Montana State University Academic Quadrathlon team tied for second in the nation at the national contest in Kansas City! Pretty slick deal for little ol’ us to be able to compete with schools like Ohio State, Texas A&M, and Penn State. Congratulations to Anna, Preston, Jessie, and Ben – I’m so proud of you guys!

Classes start on August 25 – better pack a lot of summer into the next two weeks!

Yours in travel,
The Asphalt Cowgirl

“Now our windshield’s a painting that hangs in our room, It changes each mile like the radio tune” —Rodeo Moon, Chris Ledoux

Asphalt Cowgirl June

Last month was an extreme example in travel. Here’s a brief recap of all that happened!
The first week of June I was on Maui for a work conference. Tough gig, I know. I think I would like Hawaii better when it is February in Montana, though. It’s awfully hard to beat a Montana June! Here’s the view from my room.

While others had beach and pool plans, I was a true ag nerd and went to the sugar museum, where I learned a bunch about sugarcane farming – here’s a nice field of it.

We went to Iao Valley State Park and hiked around their loop, where we saw the Needle in all its elevated glory.

The second week of June I attended the Montana Stockgrowers Association midyear meeting in Miles City. A fine parade was held on Saturday morning, including this set of steers near the lead.

The third week of June I was at Ag Lenders Range School hosted by the Voldseth family near Martinsdale. It was beautiful after the rain quit, and we got to tour a wind farm. I stepped down as the Extension representative on the range school board, and those wonderful folks were kind enough to get me a plaque as a parting gift. 


The last week of June I was…is this starting to sound like a strange summer version of the Twelve Days of Christmas?
Anyways, the last week of June I was in San Angelo, TX, advising my academic quadrathlon team for the regional contest. The academic quadrathlon is a 4-part animal science contest for undergraduates, consisting of a comprehensive written exam, an impromptu oral presentation, a hands-on lab practicum, and a double elimination quiz bowl tournament. And MSU won!! Second year in a row!! Back-to-back champions!! Here is our team photo, plus a few action shots from the lab practicum section. The students and I will be traveling to the national contest in Kansas City in July.


While in San Angelo, we got to tour the Rocking Chair Ranch and take in the scenery around the area. 


You may have seen painted ponies in other downtown areas? They ain’t got nothing on the San Angelo sheep.


I hope you all had a fabulous Independence Day holiday weekend!

Yours in travel,

The Asphalt Cowgirl

“Now our windshield’s a painting that hangs in our room, It changes each mile like the radio tune” —Rodeo Moon, Chris Ledoux

Time Flies

Well, now. It appears I haven’t written a blog post since mid-January. Turns out the work load increases when the roster of beef cattle specialists decreases from two to one…and the one is me.

Here’s a brief pictorial update on some things that have happened since that long-ago post last winter.

I organized our local Academic Quadrathlon in February. It’s a 4-part animal science contest where teams of 4 students compete in a written exam, oral presentation, hands-on lab practicum, and a double-elimination quiz bowl tournament. Here is the farm cat “helping” these young ladies with a lab practicum station.


I am a member of the Western Extension Leadership Development program committee. This year’s WELD seminar was held in San Diego. An alright place to be when it’s late February in Montana.

After the San Diego trip, I had a few days before I needed to be in Reno, NV for the Western Beef Resource Committee meeting, so I visited some dear friends in California. And I met their zebra.

And then I went to Santa Anita. It. Was. Awesome. Best track I’ve ever been to.

Then it was calving time again. It’s a rough life to be a calf at our place.

Went back to my old stomping grounds of Miles City for the World Famous Bucking Horse Sale the third weekend in May. Here’s a shot of the start to the craziest wild horse race I’ve ever witnessed.

In late June, MSU hosted the Western Section, American Society of Animal Science meetings, a part of which is the Western Section Academic Quadrathlon contest. Our MSU team (Russell, Lane, Katy, and Drew) won the regional contest, competing against 8 other teams from all over the western United States. I was – and still am – soooooo proud!!! They got to compete at the national contest in conjunction with the American Society of Animal Science/American Dairy Science Association meetings in Indianapolis. They got 3rd place, and took 2nd place in the lab practicum.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…Callie had her first batch of kittens. She had them under a potentilla bush, then moved them into a hole in a tree 8 feet off the ground. We finally got her talked into bringing them back down to earth, and the kittens have been a major source of entertainment this summer. Here the family is eating their “milk and cookies”. The kittens are named Coley (the calico), Ringo, Rango, and Geronimo.

Living 3 hours closer to the ranch means I get to do this way more often.

Somehow, it’s now late July…no idea how that happened. It’s fair season in Montana, and I graded 97 hogs yesterday. Did you know pork fat is less saturated than beef fat? I was reminded 97 times yesterday…pork fat is gross, just sayin’. And I tried to cut off two fingers, but no worries, they’re on my left hand. I hope this finds you all well, readers. If I still have readers!

Yours in travel,
The Asphalt Cowgirl


“Now our windshield’s a painting that hangs in our room, It changes each mile like the radio tune” —Rodeo Moon, Chris Ledoux

How Not to Blog…

1.   Wait nearly 2 months between blog posts.

2.   Spend half your time here.

3.   Spend the other half of your time here.

I apologize for being a bad blogger, friends. Things have been fairly wild around Asphalt Cowgirl Land since I last wrote. I spent a week of vacation from my real job at the ranch, helping with calving. We were blessed with an amazingly mild spring and only 4 sets of twins this year (compared to the unheard-of 6 sets last year). Now, as some of you already know, twins get names at our outfit…so here you go.

·         Zip and Snap were born to one of my uncle and aunt’s cows…my aunt is a seamstress.

·         Clear and Stat had the most dramatic twin birth of the year. Clear was born tail-first and we had a hard time getting him breathing. I was doing some fairly serious calf CPR! His sister, Stat, arrived in a normal presentation and she was in a hurry to get into the world. I decided they needed “hospital” names appropriate to their arrival.  It sounds better if you say them with exclamation points: “Clear!….Stat!”

·         Tink and Pete are the cutest little set of purebred Red Angus calves! They were pretty tiny, so they became Tinkerbell and Peter Pan.

·         Peep and Cad were born on Easter. Cad for Cadbury. Hopefully Peep is self-explanatory.

I’m proud to report we are done with both calving and branding. The grass is growing like crazy and we’re looking forward to getting cattle sorted into breeding bunches in a couple weeks.

Seventeen of my April days were spent somewhere other than Miles City, mostly in Bozeman, where I organized both the MSU Academic Quadrathlon and Montana Nutrition Conference and Livestock Forum. The AQ is a four-part animal science contest where four-person teams compete in an oral presentation, written exam, hands-on lab practicum, and double-elimination quiz bowl. We had 5 teams in this year’s contest and have a very competitive team headed to the regional/national contest in Phoenix this summer. I’ll be sure to update you on all the details from our trip!

Wishing you a slightly belated Happy May Day!

Yours in travel,

The Asphalt Cowgirl

“Now our windshield’s a painting that hangs in our room, It changes each mile like the radio tune” —Rodeo Moon, Chris Ledoux