By Frank J. Buchman
So much and so many are required to be successful.
Undeniably true statement, regardless the endeavor, and possibly even more so when it comes to livestock production, further impacted when competing in the show ring.
Nobody knows better than Dylan Evans of Lebo, Kansas.
And, that’s why he’s doing his part to help others become winners today to be leaders tomorrow.
“I’ve had so much help from so many, and I truly appreciate it all. I want to do everything I can for other young people interested in the livestock business and the future of agriculture,” Evans said.
Grateful for support from his parents while growing up, Evans still has to groan and grin simultaneously remembering his first livestock enterprise. “My family has always been deeply involved in agriculture, and when I joined 4-H my first project was a bucket calf. Dad went to a local dairyman, and we got a Holstein,” Evans smiled.
“Admittedly, I learned a lot, it was a good experience, mainly because I knew right then I wanted to show livestock, winners, not dairy steers,” Evans added.
His personal career “spiraled” from a meager beginning. “My parents have always supported me, and my sisters Megan and Kate have been very involved and most helpful along the way” Evans appreciated.
“Still, I had a lot of other help, too, a lot of good teachers, a lot of people, who I put my trust in, I relied on them, and they put their trust in me.”
Naming several individuals, Evans clarified, “I really can’t credit and list everybody, or I’d forget somebody who was very important. Yet, I’m so thankful for all those who helped me, have become lifetime friends, and continue to support me and my efforts. That’s the main reason I’m so anxious to assist others, too.”
During his own youth career, Evans moved forward showing champion livestock from Coffey County events through regional, state and most impressive national titles, both hogs and cattle.
Humbly yet fondly reflecting those memorable times, Evans rattles off show ring accomplishments that make a layperson boggle, yet knowing-stringent-competition always took notice when Dylan Evans arrived on show grounds.
Forever intent on pursuing an agriculture career, Evans received two bachelor’s degrees, in animal sciences and food science in 2009, plus a master’s in food science in 2012, all from Kansas State University.
Meeting his future wife, Chelsea (Spencer), cattle show ring champion in her own right, while competing in livestock events around the country more than a decade ago, the couple has been married three years. Chelsea is a teacher, and together they operate DWE Livestock and Dylan Evans Farm at Lebo.
Additionally, Evans has been serving at the family’s bank in Lebo and assisting with management of family agriculture land operations.
Busy entrepreneur, Evans’ adrenalin still flows fastest helping young people with show ring projects. “It really started working with my cousins Andrew and Beth Hodges and Blake and Shelby Holmes. The Hodges and Holmes families are our very best family friends, too” Evans said.
“Then, other young people around have sought my advice and support through the years. I’m anxious to help in every way I can,” Evans said.
Assistance has been given in a wide variety of ways. This includes selection, growing, conditioning, hauling, fitting, and exhibiting livestock.
“There’s a lot more to it than that, but mostly guidance, educating, teaching. So many young people and their families don’t understand how all of the proper techniques can make such a difference, so an animal is presented the best way possible,” Evans said.
While parents sometimes have the knowledge, children will often be more alert when advice comes from another source, especially one assisting those who are the winners.
“I’ve helped probably a couple dozen youth with all four species, pigs, cattle, sheep and goats. Mostly pigs and cattle, though,” Evans said.
Selection is first, and Evans has friends throughout the country “from California to Maine,” who aid in providing or locating prospects.
“It’s not the price, and I’m not going to tell anyone what to buy or pay. But, I do give my opinion of what can work. Sometimes a $500 pig beats a $5,000 pig, and vice versa, there are so many variables,” Evans said.
More than two dozen prospects have been typically acquired annually when Evan’s “cousins” were at peak of participation. “Some don’t work out, but mostly different animals are selected for various competitions,” he clarified.
Conditioning is such an important factor that Evans constructed a facility on the Lyon-Coffey line specifically for growing youth show animals.
Success has followed dedicated effort. “Blake, Shelby, Andrew and Beth have all shown state fair champions, and each one of them has won a trailer for exhibiting livestock. That was my goal, and their goals,” Evans said.
Doing everything best way possible isn’t any guarantee. “You have to be ready, hope and pray. But, it still takes lots of luck. It’s even better to be lucky than good,” Evans insisted.
“Yet, it’s an unpredictable ‘game.’ So many factors come into play. We’ve had entries that I just knew would win and they didn’t. Then again, sometimes, I’ve thought there wasn’t a chance, and an entry came out a winner,” Evans said.
While Evans is likely best recognized pacing youth show ring sidelines, he’s a generous man, whatever the cause. “My dad and mom have always been very good hearted. I was raised that way. I like to help others, and working with young people is even more important, because they’re our future,” he said.
While the Holmes and Hodges family exhibitors are winding down their youth show careers, Dylan Evans remains enthused and ready to help other young people develop youth livestock show projects.
“I’m assisting several children, and just started working with some kids with projects over by McPherson. I want to reach out and help whenever I can. It’s fun, especially when you can see a young person change and improve.”