On the Road Again

Posted: February 1, 2023 at 12:08 pm

Sons’ livestock show circuit leads to new adventure for the Powers family

Jill sells a variety of cosmetic products for livestock so they will look their best in the show ring.
Jill sells a variety of cosmetic products for livestock so they will look their best in the show ring.

By Dianna Troyer

Selling livestock show supplies has unexpectedly taken Jill Powers and her family on an entertaining and unpredictable ride.

“I’ve been busier than I ever dreamed,” the Sublett resident says. “I just wanted to provide the quality products that people need when they’re showing their cattle, sheep, goats and hogs. To me, it’s not just about selling merchandise. It’s about providing a service and building relationships. You get to know the families on the
show circuits.”

Last spring, Jill and her family became the sole Idaho dealer for Weaver Livestock, a company based in northeastern Ohio’s Amish country that sells equipment, tack and cosmetic products for livestock.

Jill stocks her trailer with hundreds of items, including blankets, spandex tubes, leg wraps, clipping chutes, sheep stands, combs and brushes. Among her bestselling
products are ProCharge Reconditioning Spray and Pro Hair to make animals look their best in the show ring.

To become a Weaver dealer, Jill and her husband, Tyler, were required to tour the company headquarters in Mount Hope, Ohio.

“It’s amazing,” Jill says. “We saw firsthand why they have such a reputation for great products. They hire Amish workers who are reliable and take pride in making consistently high-quality products.”

Working as a Weaver dealer dovetails with Jill’s job at Five Rivers Interstate Feedlot. She runs the processing barn where she supervises a crew who tag and vaccinate incoming cattle.

“I’m off on weekends when the shows are scheduled, so it all works out,” she says.

Since April, Jill has hauled her trailer to competitions in Idaho, Utah, Wyoming and Montana.

“It was exciting to do my first cattle show, the Aggie Classic, and be there as a vendor instead of a mom helping her sons,” she says of the event in Tremonton, Utah, in early April.

She did a few shows in April and May, and then it took off. Jill was gone every weekend in June, and for the Fourth of July, she completed a three-day show.

As she travels, Jill thinks of her late parents, Morgan and Maxeen Ward.

“They taught me a love for animals and people and to always do my best,” she says.

Her dad raised horses and was a renowned cowboy poet, while her mom managed the office at Clark Equine Clinic in Albion.

To honor them, Jill painted “Powered by the Rafter Heart, Mom and Dad Ward” on the back of her trailer—a reference to her parents’ brand at their Elba ranch.

“Whatever we do as a family, we’re all about making a difference for our community and offering quality,” Jill says of herself, Tyler, and their sons, Zac and JW.

Along with helping people on show circuits, Jill and her family organize a steer show the Saturday before Memorial Day at the Cassia County Fairgrounds to give teens
experience showing their animals before county fair shows start in late summer.

“Zac organized a show his senior year of high school for his FFA project, and we’ve continued doing it because so many kids participate,” Jill says. “The upcoming show will be our sixth.”

Zac says taking cattle to 4-H shows when he was between ages 8 and 18 was a highlight of his summers. He and JW had grown up helping on the cattle ranch their dad and uncle managed.

“After my first show at the county fair, I placed in the top 20 overall and became fanatical about raising the best cattle possible,” Zac says. “I told my parents, ‘I’ve got to have better quality cattle.’”

At the time, Black Angus crossbred with Maine-Anjou were winning awards, so the Powers bought some for their sons. The Maine-Anjou is known for feed efficiency and
having a desirable disposition and carcass traits.

Zac shared his enthusiasm for showing cattle with his younger brother, JW, who began showing, too. To encourage their sons, the Powers took them to shows throughout the region. The brothers began winning titles and accompanying prizes of buckles, banners, clippers and show supplies.

At the Cassia County Fair in 2021, JW won Grand Champion Steer and Grand Champion Showman.
At the Cassia County Fair in 2021, JW won Grand Champion Steer and Grand Champion Showman.

For Zac, the Maine-Anjou crossbred has proved profitable.

He paid for his college education by saving the money he made from selling his 4-H cattle for a decade. In December, he graduated from Utah State University with a bachelor’s degree in animal science and a minor in agribusiness.

“I’d love to get a job feeding cattle and fine-tune their supplements to raise the best beef possible,” he says.

A 2022 graduate of Raft River High School, JW, 19, attends the College of Southern Idaho, where he earned a full-ride Ag Ambassador scholarship.

JW still goes to about 20 shows a season, while Zac, 22, is no longer eligible due to his age. Their expertise is still sought.

“They both get asked a lot to help friends clip their calves and fit them for shows,” Jill says.

Knowing firsthand the importance of starting with the best possible calf to win at shows, the brothers began breeding and selling calves to local 4-H members. They have 22 Angus-bred cattle that have been crossbred, mainly with Maine-Anjou.

With JW eligible to compete two more years on show circuits, Jill says she was chatting with the Weaver dealer for Utah last year about the need for a dealer in Idaho.

“He encouraged me to do it,” Jill says. “We did some research and followed through. It’s been great.”

Recognizing another need on the circuit, Jill began selling boutique clothes, jewelry and shoes.

“Moms need a little something for themselves,” Jill says. “That’s taking off, too. Becoming a Weaver dealer is more involved than I ever anticipated. I’m glad I did it and can’t wait to see what happens this upcoming season.”