Lillie Vogt memorializes her late grandmother, Irma Macon, through her prized Brahman heifer named Mimi.
Lillie Vogt held her breath as the judge sauntered around the vast arena with a contemplative look on his face. While nervous butterflies danced in her stomach, she kept the attentive look on her face, concentrating on her task at hand. The barn was buzzing with chatter from thousands of people, strolling around and observing all the event had to offer, but the ring itself was noiseless. The tension was rising with each minute that passed as the exhibitors anticipated the news. A firm handshake was given to the individual whose Brahman had just won Grand Champion in the Youth Breeding Heifer Show at the 2021 State Fair of Texas.
There is an undeniable relationship between a successful show career and unremitting support from family. The Vogt family, from Boerne, Texas, exemplifies this statement through their combined decades of achievement in and out of the ring.
Dawn Macon-Vogt, a native to the Texas Hill Country, grew up with agricultural experiences that shaped her life and would ultimately mold the lives of her children as well. Without the virtue of a dream from her late mother, Irma Macon, the legacy of prosperity within the family would have never come to fruition.
“My mother grew up in San Antonio and when she married my dad, she said she wanted to give her children a better life,” Dawn said. “She wanted us to raise animals and live out in the country.”
As kids, Dawn and her siblings rodeoed and showed dairy cattle. Her mother believed 4-H and FFA were great organizations that instilled important life lessons in children. When Dawn became a mother herself, she also felt her children needed the same environment she had growing up.
Kylie McIntosh, Dawn’s firstborn, thrived the moment she joined 4-H and FFA, and soaked up everything the organizations had to offer. She began her successful journey of stock show by raising and showing pigs. When she was in high school, the idea of showing cattle piqued her interest and she decided to enter the calf scramble at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, where endurance and determination aided in her favor.
“I caught at the Houston Rodeo, and you must choose whether you want to purchase a heifer or a steer,” Kylie said. “My heart was dead set on getting a ‘humpy’ heifer.”
In addition to her catching in the calf scramble, Kylie said her grandmother was the essential driving force that got her family into the Brahman breed itself. The desire to show cattle would lead them to join the best Brahman breeding company, according to Kylie.
Relationships are everything when it comes to showing an animal and the Vogt’s quickly realized that when they met Judd and Gayla Cullers, owners of Heritage Cattle Company in Wharton, Texas. The Cullers are known worldwide for breeding and producing champion registered gray and red Brahman cattle.
“We fell in love with Judd and Gayla Cullers and my mom talked to them like she had known them forever,” Dawn said.
Not only does Heritage Cattle Company have a fierce line of genetics in their herd that attracts seekers of Brahman cattle, but they also create a sought-after sense of belonging that’s second to none.
The Vogts immediately became part of the Heritage family after Kylie received her family’s first edition to their herd, a sweet gray Brahman named Tyra. Every Brahman the family bought from Heritage Cattle Company following Tyra performed well at every livestock show. Life was progressing in the greatest ways for their family until suddenly it wasn’t.
Macon, the matriarch of the family, unexpectedly passed away. In a bat of an eye, her grandchildren’s supporter and best friend was gone.
“Mimi was my rock growing up, and she taught me how to love and be kind to everyone,” Kylie said. “She gave me my love for cattle, and I strive to live a life as she did with such grace and poise as she carried herself.”
Despite losing their No. 1 fan and the most encouraging woman to walk this earth, the Vogt’s knew life had to keep going. At this point in time, Lillie was now old enough to put to work the skills she had gained from watching her older sister all those years.
Heritage Cattle Company felt the loss just as much as her own family did, and they understood how important Lillie’s next heifer would be.
“We had the opportunity to buy a heifer from them for Lillie’s upcoming show year and when we went, we saw this heifer and she immediately gravitated toward Lillie,” Kylie said. “We had to have her.”
This new heifer would ultimately form a unique and special bond with her owner, Lillie. With resilient love for her family, Lillie chose to honor her grandmother by naming this particularly exceptional Brahman, Mimi.
“I named my new heifer Mimi because I called my grandma Mimi,” Lillie said. “That was the last heifer she ever bought me.” The many buckles, banners and other trophies Lillie has won further validate how much her and Mimi have dominated the show ring.
Despite the numerous winnings Lillie has earned from her unceasing determination and drive, she preserves the mentality of maturity and keeps her end goal in mind.
“I’ve learned to always be humble,” she said. “Practice like you’ve never won and perform like you’ve never lost.”
Kylie emphasized how unpredictable moments like losing a loved one will shake you to the core and make you feel as if life can’t go on without them. She also said it’s because of these moments you unearth the immense support from others to help make it through. Kylie said there would be no stock show without friends and family.
“The saying it takes a village is a big thing in the stock show world,” Kylie said. “You need a strong dynamic to be able to accomplish life in and out of the show ring.”
Irma Macon was a gliding light in every show barn and the influential motivator to see her grandchildren carry out the legacy of showing cattle. Not only was she rooting for her own in the show ring, but she was the one to sit in the stands and cheer for every other child out there.
Lillie said winning Grand Champion with Mimi at the State Fair of Texas is just one of the many triumphs she will embrace with pride forever. Dawn, Kylie, and Lillie all said they are living their lives the way Mimi would, and that is to the fullest. Knowing Mimi will forever be in their hearts, the family said they will continue to strive to make her proud in all their endeavors.
“Thank God for what you have today and be grateful for what you’ve got,” Dawn said. “You never know what tomorrow may bring.”