A Great Visit With Siguacan

This past weekend Brandon and I had a wonderful morning spent visiting with Jose Luis Valdez of Siguacan and Luis Enrique Secaira of Hacienda Esperanza. Luis is Raimundo Riojas’ grandson and attending TAMU, and his wife is Marcella Valdez, who is Jose’s daughter. My granddad and dad have been great friends with Raimundo and Regina for years…and now it is just really cool that Brandon and I are being the 3rd generation of our family to be friends with Luis and his brothers. {Confession…Regina is like my international idol. Whenever I travel internationally, I think….what would Regina wear?} Both of these cattleman are outstanding Brahman breeders from Guatemala. If you are like most U.S. Brahman breeders, you probably recognize the names Siguacan and Hacienda Esperanza, but like us, may not have had the pleasure of spending time with friends from either of the ranches.

Last December, Brandon and I went to Expo Reu in Guatemala, where Siguacan had both the Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion Female at the show. These were phenomenal cows. Brandon and I were both so impressed.  That was the first time we had the opportunity to see some of the Siguacan cattle in person. Being the brave and friendly person I am, I went right up to the ranch owners and complimented them on their outstanding cattle and introduced myself.  I also felt an instant connection with them, because like V8, it was clear that Siguacan focuses on outstanding females. I couldn’t help but be proud of them to win both champion and reserve female. I know from years of experience that double wins like that don’t come that often, for whatever reason, and if you are fortunate enough to win both spots, it means you really have done something big.

Siguacan’s Grand Champion Female at Expica 2013.
She is a model Brahman female, no doubt about it. 

Later this year, we went down to Nicaragua for Expica and this time we were a little more familiar with the breeders, and we got to spend a lot more time visiting with them. Since it was the second time we had seen each other, we really got to start talking about each of our ranches and our programs. Turns out, I had no idea, but Siguacan’s entire herd got its foundation from breeding V8 Ranch. Jose got in the business by purchasing Neil Potter’s herd. Jose is related to Bernardo Vega, who was a longtime V8 customer from Colombia, who’s herd was also about 95% V8 breeding. When Jose got into the Brahman business, his friend Bernardo said “Hey, I have a great bull, Mr. V8 666/3 who is winning a lot in the USA and you should breed him.” Being new in the breed, and trusting his friend, Jose bred his entire cow herd to 666/3. As Jose said, “Lucky for us, 666/3 was a bull that you could do that with. There aren’t many bulls that you could blanket breed your entire herd to and have success.”

I had no idea about this until I was able to sit down and get to know him! Basically the only thing I had known about Siguacan was that they were the breeder of Principe, and that’s all I knew.  As we kept on talking, it was clear that we both share the same breeding philosophy that all great herds are built around great cow families. Jose said that he has a chart on his ranch that shows the major cow families of his herd, and how each animal traces back to those families. Just like we did this year for our semen catalog! INSTANT FRIENDS!

So since Luis and Marcella are working on their masters degrees at Texas A&M, and Jose had came up to visit his family. So he and Luis

We were celebrating with Jose at Expica after he won!

came to visit us on Saturday morning before the Aggie football game. Luis, me and Mollie crammed in the back seat together! We were so excited to get to spend an entire morning together. We started out at 9:30 riding through all of the pastures, looking at nearly every cow on the ranch. (I personally love these visits too because I get to ride in the backseat usually while Brandon points out every cow on the ranch and says their sire, dam and maternal grandsire. It’s like I get a little tour too!). Since it was Saturday, Mollie came along too. When I introduced her to our friends, I said, “This is our friend Jose” and she looked at him and said “No way Jose?” :) And, both Luis and Jose were cool enough that they didn’t mind listening to Dora the Explorer playing in the background.

After we saw every cow on the ranch, we went to the showbarn, and again went through every animal. For us, it is such a worthwhile visit to spend this one on one time with fellow leading Brahman breeders. The entire morning was spent talking about pedigrees, Brahman history, and current trends in Brahman breeding. I can easily say that Brandon and I both learned things from this visit as we were able to share and learn from both Jose and Luis.

Stuart Watkins recently eluded to this in his article about international travel, but I can definitely say that if Brandon and I wouldn’t have started travelling internationally, we would have never had the opportunity to meet these two wonderful men who no doubt will be lifelong friends of ours. Luis said himself, “It has been too long since I used V8 bulls in my herd…I just didn’t know you well enough to come spend the time to go through your herd to see the best way to use the bulls.”

It’s visits like these that always put things in perspective for us….the Brahman world is a big one, and full of wonderful people. We can always learn from each other and in turn, make lifelong friends!

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