When you combine ties to a United States President and roots deep in academia and sports, the result is the dynamic power couple of Shane and Tonya Meier. Over the years, they have taken Shane’s background in Agriculture and Tonya’s love for education and youth to impact the livestock world in more ways than one. Meier Show Cattle, Battle of the Cattle and most recently The Patriot, are all well-known entities with Shane and Tonya at the helm. Recently, The Showtimes had the pleasure of sitting down with the two to discuss both their outlook on life and their dedication to bringing out the best in those around them.
Shane was born and raised in Stonewall, Texas where his dad managed President Lyndon B. Johnson’s ranch. L.B.J. passed away in 1974, the year that Meier was born; but his family continued to work the cattle and land for Johnson’s wife and the government. Along with his two younger brothers, Shane grew up highly involved with the Hereford breed – heifers in particular. Over the years they added crossbreds and steers to the mix. In addition to the cattle, Shane found success in livestock judging where he was a member of the State Champion 4-H Livestock Judging Team and State Champion FFA Livestock Judging Team in consecutive years. He left home to judge and pursue an education at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Tonya grew up in West Texas where her focus was on sports and school. No livestock. Growing up, she was highly competitive in cheerleading. Following high school, Tonya attended Texas Tech University where she studied Pre-Family Law. Her passion for learning and youth led her to obtain a Master’s in Education. It’s this love of kids that has been a driving force for Tonya as both she and Shane not only tackle life, but approach it with the mindset of – how can we make it better?
And that’s exactly what they have done…
Coming from the two different upbringings, together, Shane and Tonya have dedicated their life to taking a leadership role in producing opportunities for youth in Agriculture. Along with their sons, Mills and Mason, they own and operate Meier Show Cattle back in Shane’s hometown of Stonewall. Although both boys are currently at Texas Tech, family is still an important aspect of everything they do. Over a decade ago, they founded Battle of the Cattle – also known as BOC. What started as nutrition clinics, camps and showmanship seminars, grew into a prospect steer show series, open to youth from all across the nation. One would think between their show cattle operation and BOC that the Meier’s would be left with little down time.
In the Fall of 2020, Shane and Tonya felt the need of a Junior National type show for the show/club calf industry – as they are, in all rights, a breed of their own. What did they do? They announced the Show Steer Junior National that will take place July 21-25 in Abilene, Texas. The announcement came as an exciting spark across the industry! The Meier’s plan to run the event similar to other breed Junior Nationals with various contests, activities and shows.
Just weeks after announcing the Steer Show Junior National came the cancellation of the 2021 Fort Worth Stock Show. Shane and Tonya did not miss a beat. They rallied their troops and formulated The Patriot Junior Market Steer Show. A Texas Major. Anyone who has never attended a major show in Texas may not grasp the magnitude of this type of event. Classes with close to 100 head and nearly 2,000 total entries (one calf per exhibitor) - it was no little undertaking. Yet, within a few months’ time, Shane and Tonya executed what may go down in history as one of the most fun, big-time, smoothest run cattle shows. They did not leave one stone unturned; from the volunteers and decorations, to fundraising and organizing a sale where they raised thousands of dollars for the youth of Texas! All with a crew of less than 25 people!
Time and time again, Shane and Tonya have made the youth of our industry a priority in their lives. Everything they do they give 100%. They describe walking away from various shows and events over the years with the sense of, “How can we improve that?” They would take notes on things that were done well and things that could be done better. It is so important for them to use livestock to help raise kids and to do everything with the kids in mind.
Anyone who has attended a BOC event or The Patriot will attest to the atmosphere of positivity, inspiration and motivation. While at the end of the day, everyone strives for the Champion slap, Shane and Tonya tailor their shows to be highly interactive, educational and an outlet for people to spend time together and form relationships. A great example of this is the BOC’s Panel of the Pros – an opportunity for kids at the show to talk to industry leaders, such as Brandon Horn and Clint Petzold. Not only does this provide knowledge, but it also breaks the ice for them to reach out and communicate with those leaders throughout the event and beyond.
One word of advice Tonya shared that she strives to live by is, “People will forget what you say to them, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” What she and Shane do day-in and day-out is a prime example of living one’s life in a way that betters those around them.