PHOTO: The Timm boys stand with their cattle, from left: Austin with Roger, Gavin with Roy, and Zach with Lily. (Photo by Emily Burds)
By Emily Burds, Express Intern
The Timm boys never had a second thought as to whether they wanted to show cattle or not. When asked when they started showing, middle son Gavin immediately said, “As soon as we could.”
The Timm family farm was started 30 years ago by father John, who went straight to farming out of high school. He and his wife Joanne have been at it ever since and have instilled that love in their four children.
The boys; Zach who will be a sophomore at MHS this fall, Gavin who will be a freshman, and Austin, who will be in seventh grade, watched their big sister Kaitlyn, who just finished her sophomore year at Clarke University, show her cows. From there the boys were hooked and joined the Prairie Hill 4-H club as soon as each entered fourth grade.
Today, with summer well under way, the boys spend their days doing chores and preparing each of their show cattle for fair week, where all their hard work comes together.
John says that a lot of people don’t know the work that goes into getting these cattle ready for show. According to Austin, taming the calves he works with can be the hardest part if they don’t want to cooperate.
The boys agree that over the years they have learned a lot and have picked up on what the judges like to see. Which pays off when fair time rolls around, where shows are a family affair.
“The boys really work together and help each other out,” John said. And if the boys can’t handle it they know Mom and Dad will be there to give them a hand.
“It really depends on where the chips fall that day as to what we will need help on,” Zach explains of show days. He said his parents keep everything running smoothly while all three boys spend their time in the barns with their cows.
“I think the boys would live down in those fair barns all week if they could, ” John joked. He and his wife agree that being involved in 4-H and the beef shows is one of the best things their kids could have gotten involved in.
“The boys learn a lot about responsibility and they have chores but they also get to see that hard work pay off at the fair,” Joanne explained. And neither her nor John have any qualms about spending fair week in the barns.
“There is a sense of camaraderie down there and we have met a lot of great people and made some good friends through the shows and 4-H, ” John said.
Following the fair, the Timm family loads up and heads to the State Fair to do it all over again. But all the boys agreed it’s a lot different when it comes to size and competition.
“It’s a lot bigger and there is a lot more competition,” Gavin explained. Of course after that the cows go to market and the boys get a break while they head back to their quiet farm.
“It’s quiet out here,” Austin said when asked what was the best part about living on a farm. His older brothers agreed that the lack of noise and people was a big plus. They also said they enjoyed having things to do and space to do it with like interacting with all the animals.
As for the future, the boys have no plans to slow down. Recently John has been teaching the boys about breeding by having them work together to decide upon a pair to breed for their next show calf that they would raise all on their own, rather than buying them. This first lesson produced JJ, an adorable young multi-colored calf who is still a bit shy towards strangers but will no doubt be ready for next year’s show.
Although right now the boys’ lives are centered on the farm, they know school and extra-curriculars are important too. Zach is a part of the FFA at the high school which, Gavin will join next year and says he looks forward to the competition and meeting new people as the club travels for different conferences and events. Besides cows, the boys have one other love in common that bonds them. When asked what their favorite sports were, the boys gave each other a quick glance and in unison replied, “football.”