For the 12 young men and women who showed their animals at the Sale of Champions Saturday afternoon at the Missouri State Fair, one thing was evident, none of them arrived at that moment alone.
To be a champion exhibitor takes a great deal of hard work and effort on behalf of the exhibitor but also from their parents, family and friends who work alongside the exhibitors each step of the way.
For Layne Robinson, who showed the Reserve Grand Champion Steer and his family it is a story they know all too well.
“My family and I aren’t rich by any means financially,” Alan Robinson, Layne’s father said Saturday prior to the beginning of the sale. “But today I feel like I am the richest man in the world.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to be involved in this and I just feel blessed by my children and my wife every day,” he added softly and humbly. “This is a whole lifetime for my wife, Stephanie and me, we been married 36 years and we’ve grown up with this and we could not be more proud.”
For Robinson and his wife that pride extends to all three children as Layne’s older sisters, Lacey Robinson and Kera (Robinson) Morton were also a part of the Sale of Champions in their youth.
“I am so blessed to be in this situation,” Layne Robinson said Friday afternoon. “I am very, very blessed and I’m not foolish enough to think that I got here alone., good parenting goes a long way and I truly love my parents a lot.
“I know this has to be pretty special for my them because for us this was my last opportunity to be at the Sale of Champions,” Robinson said. “I really wanted this for them but I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it so I left it all on the table this year with no regrets because I age out this year and wouldn’t be able to exhibit as a youth any longer.”
For Robinson to go out in this manner is what he describes as a storybook ending for the family.
“It really couldn’t have been written any more perfect,” Robinson said. “Nineteen years ago my sister, Layne, had the Grand Champion Steer, and Bryana’s brother, Darrin, (Bryana Binkley 2016 Grand Champion Steer exhibitor) showed the Reserve Grand Champion steer.
“Our families have always known one another and so for it to end this way just makes it more special and the way it seems it should be,” Robinson added. “This entire year has just been the way it was meant to be.”
Robinson’s family has been involved in raising cattle all his life.
“My family has always been in the business but on a smaller scale,” Robinson said. “They have always raised me with the belief that it’s the quality of your herd, not the quantity.
“It’s better to have 20 good cows than 100 average ones,” he added.
The year was a turning point in some respects for the young man as he made the decision to leave college at Iowa State and move to Archie, to raise, his 1320 pound “gentle giant” Crossbred steer.
“I have a thank you list a mile long of people who helped me and supported me and believed in me,” Robinson said. “The Klinger, Mawson and Curtis families have been there for me and my girlfriend Mallory, she’s the cow whisper who could always get Belfort to not be quite so stubborn.
“It’s going to be really hard to let him go on Saturday after the sale because we would spend six hours a day together every day and even if you don’t like a person or an animal you find a bond with them if you spend that much time with them,” Robinson said. “He is a special one to me because he probably shouldn’t even be here, he had pneumonia four times this winter but we nursed him back and we’ve just been through a lot together.”
The hands on experience and knowledge from older generations of cattlemen will help Robinson in the next chapter of his life as he has accepted a position with Linheart Limousine as a sales manager and ranch hand.
“There were a lot of things I needed to learn especially about the production side of the business and working in a bigger operation, “Robinson said. “I had the opportunity to put up a lot of hay running larger equipment and learned a lot about the other side of the business.
“I would start at 5 or 6 a.m. doing everything from raking hay and checking cattle to just about everything in between,” he added. “I went to college to get an animal science degree but it seemed I always found my way to the cows instead of my classes.”
Leaving college was not an easy choice for Robinson but he feels it is the right one for him, adding that with his drive and desire to work he will be successful.
Robinson’s father he is also at peace with his son’s decision.
“When I came through you didn’t need a degree to get started, a person’s reputation was enough to begin,” Alan Robinson said. “There’s no set thing for each and every person and he has to do what he feels is right.
“His mother and I have raised all of our children by guiding them and supporting them but we know they need to make their own decisions,” he added. “We helped them as children and young adults and we have guided them as they became older and we are so grateful for the people they have become through their efforts and God’s plan.”
Layne Robinson hopes to carry on the legacy of his parents in the future.
“I can’t remember the number of years I’ve been showing here,” Robinson said. “I think it’s been every year since I’ve been alive.
“I’ve been blessed to come from a good background and I have a desire to work hard and I think that can take a person a long way,” he added thoughtfully. “Right, wrong or indifferent this is what I know because it what I grew up with and I’m grateful for all the opportunities I have been given.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.