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A Family Legacy

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By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – A set of 7-year-old twin are making older competitors stand up and take notice when they walk into the show ring after they brought home the Grand Champion and Reserve Champion awards from the Texas State Jr. Brangus Breeders Show in Bryan over the weekend of June 22.

On Tuesday, June 25, the twins, Cleavie and Katherine Allen – daughters of Jennifer and Houston County veterinarian Dr. Michael Allen – took time to speak to The Messenger newspaper concerning their accomplishments.

Prior to the actual show, Cleavie said there was a speech contest while Katherine added there was also a photography contest.

While they didn’t win the speech contest, mom Jennifer said they did pretty well.

“They were the youngest ones that competed. Literally, they walked into the ring and there were about 30 people watching them do their speech. I think the next oldest kid doing the speech contest was probably 10. They had the kids grouped in an age category of seven to 13, all competing together. But they got up there and did it,” she said.

Once the photo and speech contests were over, Katherine said, “We showed our cows. We showed eight.”

The first show was called the bred and owned show “… so it was just for the kids who bred their own cows,” Jennifer said.

“We did seven cows,” Cleavie said. “We didn’t do Flash (one of the cow’s names).”

One of the heifers was purchased.

As to how the girls began their own herd, Katherine explained, “On the same day, I was born so was a Brangus heifer was born and now we have five.”

Jennifer expanded on the story a little more.

“On the day they were born, two identical – they weren’t twins – we call them flesh mates – they had the same mommas and daddies, they were just in different cows. They were sisters born on the same day they were. We gave them to the girls and registered them under their name,” she said.

And now, every time one of their calves is sold, the money goes into the bank to save for college, the girls said.

The origins of Cleavie and Katherine’s herd of cattle can be traced back to when their dad, Dr. Michael Allen was in high school.

“Originally, Michael’s grandad and Michael bought some calves together for Michael to show – Brangus heifers. He continued to show those cows and breed them. He developed what we call a foundation herd. So, we have two cow families. One of the girls (Cleavie) owns one of the cow families. It is 674 and we know that any cow that has a 674 is related to that original cow. Kate has 649 and any animal in our herd that has that number is related to that cow family,” Jennifer explained.

As far as the awards won by the girls over the past weekend, Cleavie’s cow was selected as Grand Champion in the bred and owned heifer category while Katherine’s cow won the Reserve Champion’s award in the Jr. owned heifer category.

“They were Grand or Reserve Champions in 13 divisions over three days. At one point, we had four out of the eight divisions as Grand Prize winners. That was pretty cool,” Jennifer said. “This was the first time the girls had ever stepped out into the ring by themselves.”

Later that afternoon, Dr. Allen also spoke about how he got the foundation herd started.

“My grandad and I started a herd in 1995 or 1996 and that’s where they all came from. I was in high school when we did this and it helped me through college. The reason we have kept it going is because I know how much the cattle helped me and I wanted to pass it down,” the vet said.

This is now the sixth generation of cattle since the herd’s beginning in the mid-1990s.

When his girls started to show an interest in cattle, Dr. Allen said, “I was happy with it. It really excited me to see that they were interested in it, too. It’s good family time. As they get older, I think they’ll stay involved with it. There are a lot of leadership opportunities and other activities that go along with those type of shows.”

The girls will be back in the ring in mid-July at the National Junior Brangus Show and Brangus Futurity in Texarkana.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.