BELTON — For Tyler Ramthun, a senior at Salado High School, showing livestock is a matter of following a family tradition.
Ramthun, the son of Jan and Gary Ramthun, watched his older sisters, Jessica and Jennifer, compete in livestock shows, and he was hooked.
“My oldest sister (Jessica) decided to participate in a calf scramble and after that I didn’t want to get left out,” Ramthun said.
On Monday, Ramthun showed three heifers at the Bell County Youth Fair and Livestock Show, and also helped out a friend, Braylee Mackie, by showing her heifer at the livestock show.
Mackie, a seventh-grader at Troy Middle School, broke her foot in December.
“I’ve known him since I was 7 or 8,” Mackie said, adding that Ramthun volunteered to help her out.
Mackie’s older brother, Jarrett, a junior at Troy High School, also was showing heifers at Monday’s event, and showed a calf for Ramthun.
“We’ve known him for a long time,” Jarrett Mackie said of Ramthun.
Showing heifers is a two-year process, Ramthun explained, allowing time for the animal to breed.
“The first year, you have to feed them and take care of them, and you’re hoping that the second year they have a calf and you can show them as a pair,” Tyler said.
The highlights of showing livestock include “getting to go to the shows and spending a lot of time with family,” he said.
“Doing good at the show is always a bonus.”
Ramthun began raising livestock when he was a fourth-grader in the Holland 4-H Club.
“It was hard for him to just sit and watch his older sisters raise livestock,” Jan Ramthun said. “He wanted to be involved, so he helped them quite a bit. He was doing a lot of work without getting the glory.”
A busy schedule for the family has had the Ramthuns on the road attending livestock shows in Houston, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and San Angelo.
“It’s been a great learning experience for him,” Jan Ramthun said. “I remember when he was shorter than the heifers, and now he’s 6-foot-4.”
While Tyler Ramthun is the youngest of the local family members showing livestock, Jan Ramthun said a nephew in second grade in the San Antonio area may inherit Tyler’s calf and continue the tradition.
Tyler Ramthun also is a member of the Salado High School basketball team, which can mean some pretty late hours of taking care of livestock when he gets home in the evening.
“There are a lot of things that are difficult — the time you put in and all the work to get the animals ready — but it’s worth it,” Tyler Ramthun said.
After graduating this spring, he plans to attend McLennan Community College in Waco and earn a two-year degree in radiologic technology.
Will he continue raising livestock? “Maybe later on down the road,” he said.