Ryleigh Morris has longed for a big win in the ring
Life is good for Ryleigh Morris.
ASH GROVE, MO. – The culmination of years of hard work recently paid off when she won Grand Champion Junior Breeding Heifer in the Red Angus Division with Lazy J Miss Hillary at the 2021 North American International Livestock Exposition Red Angus Junior Show and at the 2022 Cattlemen’s Congress Red Angus Junior Show.
The Morris family purchased the winning calf in the fall of 2020, at the Lazy Bar J Ranch in Mina, S.D. Ryleigh, 17, worked diligently with the calf, also known as Ginger. Ryleigh, 17, is a junior at Ash Grove High School, Ash Grove, Mo.
“Every since I was little, I’ve dreamed of winning in my breed at one of the largest shows in the country,” Ryleigh said. “It was a humbling moment to say the least. I knew then all my hard work had paid off.”
Ryleigh is accustomed to being in the show ring, and she loves it. She made her debut at just 4 years old showing various breeds and later settling on Red Angus and Limousin. She showed her first Red Angus at 12, and didn’t show them again until she was 15. Ryleigh has amassed a very impressive amount of accolades. Some of her biggest wins to date include the Ozark Empire Fair Supreme Champion Female in 2017, 2020 and 2021, and many additional top five finishes throughout the years. She has also earned the National Junior Limousin Show and Congress, Supreme Champion Showmen in 2017 and 2020 and Grand Champion LimFlex cow/calf pair 2021. At the National Junior Red Angus Show, she stood third overall in showmanship in 2021 and at the Tulsa State Fair, Ryleigh showed the overall open female in 2019.
Morris Land and Cattle Company is owned and operated by Dustin Morris. Dustin, Ryleigh’s dad, who is the fifth generation of the Morris family to run the farm, located in rural Ash Grove, Mo. It is a cow/calf operation where they run 200 cows. Ryleigh grew up on the family farm with her dad, sister Kelsey (15), grandmother Sue and grandfather Dennis (deceased). Ryleigh also owns her own registered side of the operation where she raises and sells calves as show prospects.
A typical day on the farm starts early for Ryleigh.
“I’m usually outside by 6 a.m., feeding and doing chores. I help my dad and Grandma Sue with haying or moving cows. After chores are done, I go back to my barn and start washing and working with my show calves.”
Kelsey is also very active in agriculture. In the summer, she shows Boar goats at the Ozark Empire Fair in Springfield, Mo., and at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia. At home on the farm, Kelsey does chores with the family and helps Ryleigh with the show calves.
Ryleigh admires Red Angus cattle for their many exceptional traits including the breed’s excellent milk production and strong maternal instincts. She also appreciates the wonderful people she works with at the Red Angus Association.
“That’s why I love being in the Red Angus business,” she said.
The Morris’ utilize rotational grazing moving the herd every five to six days. They AI all the show heifers to expedite the breeding process. They utilize both fall and spring calving seasons.
Ryleigh plans to attend junior college focusing on livestock judging, and continue on to Oklahoma State University to study ag communications or ag business.
“I’m not sure what I want to do after college however, I want to continue being a part of this amazing industry and hopefully give back all it has given to me.”