Interviewed by: Donna Martinez
Mendez Family Includes: Kevin, Stephanie, Josh & Rachel
Who are the showmen? Josh: Sheep, Goats, Pigs & Cattle. Rachel: Sheep, Goats & Pigs.
Club Name: Nipomo 4H – Nipomo, San Luis Obispo County, California
What’s the families Showing History? Our family began raising livestock in 2007 when Josh purchased his first market lamb. Little did we know that one 4-H project would bring our family together and give us a great bonding experience for the next 12 years. Along the way we have met countless people that have become close friends and family. The memories we have made truly are priceless and remain some of the best moments we have shared as a family. What made your family pick this species(s) to show? We have been blessed with so many people helping us along the way in our journey. Early on, our 4-H leader Ted Ponce paved the way for a strong foundation in showmanship and animal husbandry in our family. He introduced to Del Petersen who instilled in us a passion and love for raising livestock of all kinds. It was with the help and guidance of these two individuals that we really discovered our love for livestock and more specifically raising club lambs.
What Awards have your family earned? We have been very fortunate to have had a successful run during our livestock showing career as a family. Over the last 12 years we have exhibited two supreme champion lambs, two supreme champion goats, a supreme champion market hog and one reserve champion steer at Santa Barbara County Fair. In addition, our family was Reserve Overall in Points for the California Junior Livestock Association two times. On a national level, we exhibited the Champion Light Weight Blackface at Arizona Nationals, the Second in Class for the 145 pound crossbred wethers at the National Western Livestock Show in Denver, Colorado and the Supreme Champion Lamb at Cal Poly’s Western Bonanza. More important however, were the showmanship victories across the state of California and the Intermediate Showmanship victory at Arizona Nationals against some of the best competition in the country.
What is your favorite part about showing? Regardless of how we did in the show ring on a given day, the biggest takeaway from raising livestock has been the bonds formed and the memories made during our time going across the country to shows. You never realize you are living in the moment until after that moment is gone. You can often times catch our family in the pickup truck reminiscing on the good times that we have had and the interesting cast of characters that have played an integral role in our lives.These memories and feelings are worth so much more to us than the banners and the ribbons. The buckles tarnish and the banners fade away but the bonds of love and friendship will always live on and that is something we are beyond grateful for.
What advice would you give to encourage new showmen? We have always lived by the motto of hard work, determination and taking pride in your project. Josh’s first year showing resulted in a second-to-last placed lamb and he did not make the cut in showmanship. However, his passion for livestock grew that year and he wanted to do better. His second year he raised a seventh placed lamb and was fourth in showmanship. This did little to alleviate his drive for success and in fact made him want it even more. His third year in the ring resulted in a Supreme Champion Market Lamb and he was second in advanced showmanship. Moral of the story, if you love something and are passionate, keep working at it because eventually hard work truly does pay off.
What is a tip that you think every showman should know? A tip that every showman should know is that there are so many feed additives and supplements that are out there in every single feed store. Some of these supplements claim to work and some of them are successful. However, the success of your project does not depend on what supplements and how many different one’s you can use. In fact, our family believes in quite the opposite. There is no substitute for fresh base feed and clean drinking water. These two things can define the success of your project. We like to simplify this entire statement into one short little quote: “Less is More”.
The Mendez Livestock Favorites!
- Favorite Feed Brands are: Show Rite and Showtime Feeds
- Favorite Breeders are: Petersen Club Lambs, Allen Show Lambs, Ryan Brothers Livestock
- Favorite Equipment Brands are: Sullivan’s and Weaver Products,
- Favorite Animals are: Nikki our Supreme Lamb at Santa Barbara County Fair in 2019, Donkey our Champion at Western Bonanza, Big Pig our Champion Market Hog and Mojo our one and only steer stand out as the animals we have been the most attached to. In addition, we could not do what we do without our hard working herd of barn cats: gray kitty, black kitty and baby kitty (yes, very original names).
- Favorite Livestock Shows are: Western Bonanza has always been what we consider the Super Bowl of Livestock Shows in California. We also loved to show at Arizona Nationals in Phoenix and the National Western Stock Show in Denver.
The Mendez Personal Favorites!
- What do you do when you’re not showing livestock? When we aren’t showing livestock you can find us rooting on the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Texas A&M Aggies. Gig’Em!
- What are your favorite hobbies or other interest: We are trying to re-discover our hobbies and interests now that our showing careers are coming to an end. For many years livestock has dominated all that our family does at the expense of many of our free time hobbies. What are your future plans for your family? We are not sure what the future holds in terms of our family and livestock but the hope is that we can give back to our community in the same way that we were given a chance nearly 13 years ago through the 4-H and FFA Programs and other community development programs such as the Warrior Goat Program that we hold so near and dear to our hearts.