With a car packed from floor to ceiling, the Bowman family left Stokes County for Oklahoma. Lynae Bowman was starting her first year of college at Redlands Community College in El Reno, and her parents were helping her move in and start a new chapter in life.
Aptly, though, her parents didn’t leave her at college. They left her at a cattle sale a few miles from the school. Lynae’s mom, April, said, “she’s in her element.”
Lynae Bowman has a passion for cattle. She’s been showing them at the NC State Fair and across the country since she was old enough to do so. Her dorm room has cows hung on the walls, and you better believe that she made time to video in to watch her younger brother show despite being over 1,000 miles away (she may also have been watching through livestream as well). She’s the North Carolina Junior Angus Association’s Vice President. She’s been very active in livestock judging and is currently on her college’s judging team. When not in school or showing or judging cattle, you might find Lynae in the barn back home or taking pictures of her cattle and landscape.
So, when Lynae’s mom said that “she was in her element” when they dropped her off at the cattle sale, it was no exaggeration.
Since moving in to Redlands, Lynae has really enjoyed getting to know the other girls on the livestock judging team and was thankful that they all just clicked. The first month in El Reno gave Lynae the opportunity to go to more than just a cattle sale. She was also able to visit many ranches to see livestock. Sadly, all athletics (livestock judging team included) were shut down due to one athletic team testing positive for COVID, moving classes to online for a few weeks. Despite this challenging situation, Lynae is persevering and doing what her parents and showing livestock taught her.
“Lynae has always had a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility. She’s always been independent, self-motivated and tenacious,” April, Lynae’s mom said.
Traits that may have made Lynae a difficult toddler, but are serving her well as a young woman. While these traits may in part be innately a part of Lynae, it is also just how she was raised.
Both Lynae’s parents, April and Neil, showed livestock at the NC State Fair growing up, learning the same strong work ethic and sense of responsibility that their daughter did. The lessons they learned showing livestock were something that they felt passionately about passing on to their own children. As April’s mother once said when asked how they could afford for April and her sister, Amy to show cattle, “we can’t afford not to.” What she and April and Neil realized was how showing livestock provides kids with goals to work towards, develops responsibility, and teaches them to care for another living being.
The lessons learned while showing livestock do not escape Lynae.
“One of the top lessons showing livestock has taught me is dedication. If you work hard everyday and be responsible in the care of your animals it will go a long way in terms of the way they look in the ring. Hard work doesn’t cost you anything other than time (well…and some hair products),” said Lynae.
She also said that showing livestock has helped her in college. She is more organized and able to have better time management after keeping track of showing multiple species in different barns and rings at the same time.
For Lynae, cattle, livestock, and showing are more than just something she enjoys. It is a heritage she continues from past generations.
“It means a lot that I am able to do things my parents did (like show at the NC State Fair) and follow in their footsteps. My mama’s Daddy, “Pa” also showed hogs as a young adult so it’s neat to have those shared experiences,” said Lynae.
Livestock is a part of who she is, and it is a tool that has prepared her for life in El Reno, college studies, and any other future aspirations she may have.
And, although Lynae is enjoying Redlands and chasing her dreams, that is not to say that she doesn’t miss home or it doesn’t miss her. Lynae has said that she misses her family and her pups (no pets allowed in the dorms). While her family is discovering just how much work Lynae did on the farm.
“It’s hard to get everything done without her, but we know that she’s having experiences and opportunities that she wouldn’t have had here,” April said.
Lynae is certainly pursuing those opportunities, despite a pandemic. Although staying true to her roots of strong work ethic, sense of responsibility, passion for cattle, and love of family, she is stretching her wings and chasing dreams. She hopes to pursue a degree in Animal Science with a focus in genetics.
Wherever life takes Lynae, there is no doubt that how she was raised and her experiences with showing livestock will help her soar.
Lynae is a 2020 NC State Fair Junior Livestock Scholarship recipient.