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Former Texas Junior Simmental Simbrah Association Standout Still Involved with Simbrah Cattle

published: March 1st 2010
source: Simbrah World

Erin Frazier’s TJSSA show experience evolved into Thunder Cattle Company in Chapman Ranch, Texas. Here, she talks about why she chose Simbrah, the opportunities she’s earned because of her ag experience, and advice for others. 

When did you become involved with Simbrah—and who impacted your involvement? Did your family have cattle before your involvement?
    Mr. Carlos Guerra of La Muñeca Cattle Company was the first to introduce me to Simbrah cattle. In January of 1994, my family and I attended the Fiesta and Cougar classic in Mercedes, Texas with another junior, Nathan Lang, who continues to be in the Simbrah business.
    Mr. Guerra was in the ring when a heifer got loose, and I ended up being the one to catch the calf and halter it. It apparently made an impression on him, and a couple of months later, I was the proud owner of two La Muñeca Simbrah heifers, Dee and Dolly.
    Mr. Guerra and my parents, Scott and Kacy Frazier, really pushed me to become involved in activities outside of the show ring, so I joined and became involved in the Texas Junior Simmental/Simbrah Association (TJSSA). That first year I really didn’t want to compete in anything. I was so scared, but my parents, my mom especially, pushed me and convinced me that I should at least try the different competitions. I ended up winning Rookie of the Year. Goes to show that you should always listen to your mother!
    Later on in my TJSSA career, Tim Smith of Smith Genetics was a great support to me both in and out of the show ring. I also worked with Bill and Jane Travis of Pine Ridge Ranch and Tom and Diane Risinger of Risinger Ranch and greatly value the support they gave me.
    Although my dad grew up in the country and has worked in agriculture  all of his life, we did not own cattle until I started showing. When I decided to keep and breed my show heifers, I established Thunder Cattle Company and have built up a small, purebred Simbrah herd which concentrates on putting high quality heifers in the hands of junior exhibitors.
    Tell us about your involvement in TJSSA What did you gain from that?
    For me TJSSA was an opportunity to diversify. I was involved in a lot of different organizations such as 4-H clubs, FFA, leadership organizations, school organizations, community service organizations, etc. and TJSSA was a different arena with a different mix of people. It was a place where I could practice and hone skill sets that I was trying to build. And of course, I loved the people and the organization, so I stayed involved.
    I was a junior board member, served as reporter, secretary and won overall junior at Nationals and at State once. I was also TJSSA Sweetheart, because my mom asked me to run for her Mother’s Day present one year, and I ended up winning.
    My mother and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves with the people in TJSSA and I came out of it not just with knowledge, skills, awards, and cattle, but with friendships, memories, and invaluable experiences. We had a lot of fun and made a lot of friends, and some of those friendships are still active. These two things are the real reason I stuck with it. In general, I like to enjoy the things I do, so if I don’t have fun and can’t do things with people that I enjoy, I tend not to do them for very long!
    What about other agricultural organizations, especially FFA?
    In FFA, I was an officer in the Tuloso-Midway FFA Chapter for three years, served as Coastal Bend District President, was Area 10 President, and had the privilege to serve as a Texas State Vice-President. I competed in a variety of contests such as soil judging, livestock judging, public speaking, etc. I was named the State Star Greenhand, State Star Chapter Farmer , State Star Lonestar, and State Star American. I was also named the Star of Stars twice, when I was awarded Star Lonestar and Star American.
    I was also involved in three 4-H clubs, served as a Nueces County 4-H Ambassador for three years, and competed in the Agriscience Fair four times, placing at the local, state, and national levels. I was heavily involved in our local county livestock show, entering market steers, carcass steers, breeding heifers, shop projects, and homemaking projects every year. I also competed in the majors with breeding cattle in both the open and junior shows and in my last two years I participated in the carcass steer shows and the ag mech shows, where I won the Chairman’s Choice Award at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo my senior year.         In addition, I was involved in other extra-curricular activities, including serving as editor and photoeditor of my high school yearbook, a member of the Academic Decathlon team and Speech and Debate team, and the National Honor Society. I also ran my own ag business and helped with the family one.
    What did you do after high school?
    I went directly to Texas A&M, College Station. During my freshman year, I served as Texas FFA State Vice President, so that kept me extremely busy. I was rarely in College Station over a weekend and actually travelled quite a bit during the week, too, visiting FFA chapters, planning and coordinating clinics and camps, and attending stock shows and conventions. So, FFA was pretty much it.
    Starting my sophomore year, I became involved in different organizations and clubs at Texas A&M, including Student Government Association (SGA) Legislative Relations, serving as committee member and then Chair for two years (this took up by far the majority of my time, especially in-session years); the Academy for Future International Leaders; International Conference on Agriculture, Science, and Technology Volunteer Coordinator; SGA Development Committee, serving as committee member and Chair of Endowments; Aggie International Ambassadors; Orange and Maroon Legislative Day Student Coordinator; Student appointee to the President’s Committee on Educational Environment; and College of Ag and Life Sciences (COALS) Agrispeaker for four years.
    I majored in Agricultural Economics and minored in Comparative Cultural Studies-International. I completed two certificate programs: a graduate certificate program in Advanced International Affairs from the Bush School of Government and Public Service and an undergraduate Certificate in International Trade in Agriculture from the department of Ag Economics.
    I graduated Cum laude and with honors. I was an Honors Undergraduate Research Fellow and completed a thesis my senior year, which was an economic study of terrorism and international agriculture development programs in developing nations.
    During my sophomore year, my interests began to broaden as I became more interested in the international field and began trying to map out a course that would allow me to travel, work, and study in different places. This was fueled by my job as a student worker in the Office for International Agriculture Programs, now the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, my sophomore/junior year. As a senior, I was selected to be a National Security Education Program (NSEP) Scholar to study Arabic in Jordan my final semester in university.
    My international experiences include study abroad in Spain (Universidad de Salamanca). I studied Spanish there and then backpacked through Western Europe for several weeks.
    I participated in an agricultural study abroad program in Vietnam where we examined the agricultural economy, production, systems, land reform, government programs, history, international relations, and international trade. I enrolled in the Institute for Spanish Language Studies and participated in a Spanish language immersion program in Costa Rica. The following summer I completed an international internship in Costa Rica with an adventure tourism company to fulfill my international internship requirement for the Academy for Future International Leaders.
    As part of my certificate program at the Bush School, I participated in a conference on the political economy of India in New Dehli, India and then traveled on my own for a couple of weeks and attended another conference in Mumbai, India.
    In Jordan, I was enrolled in the University of Jordan in Amman, Jordan and completed courses in Arabic and International Relations and Diplomacy in the Middle East.
    So tell us about your career.
    I finished my studies in Jordan in June of 2006 and went directly to Costa Rica. There I had the opportunity to become a partner in an established adventure tourism company and begin a new branch of the company, the Explornatura Adventure Travel Agency. We specialize in adventure tourism which includes things like whitewater rafting, canyoning, rappelling, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, etc., but we do a little bit of everything, including weddings, honeymoons, school trips, business trips, or just simple reservations. I started the company with just me and by the time I turned the day-to-day operation over in July 2009, we had four full-time employees, two part-time, and an internship program for the summer months. Our website is www.explornatura. com––check it out!
    I am back in South Texas right now, working with Thunder Cattle Company and parts of the business in Costa Rica from here, while I prepare to fulfill my obligation of a year’s work related to my study in Jordan.
    Tell us about Thunder Cattle Company and how much are you involved.
    Since I moved away for college, my parents have been managing Thunder Cattle Company, with me contributing as needed or whenever it was possible. In the beginning, it boasted six head with four exotics and two Simbrahs; today we have around 70 head, give or take, with the heart of it being my old show heifers and their offspring. Like many others, we have recently had to cull because of the severe drought conditions in South Texas the past few years.
    Although we provide replacement heifers and bulls for commercial and purebred breeders, our focus has always been on junior exhibitors. We try to put quality cattle in the hands of junior exhibitors so they can have the opportunity to experience the benefits of junior programs like those offered by TJSSA because we believe in those programs.
    More recently, we have become involved in MAS and are really excited about our involvement with our fellow MAS breeders. We thoroughly appreciate the effort and energy everyone, especially the Carlos Guerra Family, has put into our past four sales. Thunder Cattle has consigned eight head to the upcoming MAS V Sale, which promises to be bigger and better than ever. So come visit us the weekend of March 27th at La Muñeca Ranch in Linn, Texas!
    What advice do you have for young Simbrah exhibitors?
    Stick with it and don’t be afraid to try everything at least once! Also, try to appreciate your parents and all that they do for you, and don’t forget to thank them once in a while.

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