The small Texas town of Reagan, Texas is famous for two things: the historic red Texas Aggie Barn on Highway 6, and Tusa Show Cattle. Ironically, Texas A&M University was the spark that helped two top young cattle showman meet, fall in love, and start a livestock business that’s helped hundreds of young people throughout Texas achieve their dreams.
The Tusa Story
Tusa Show Cattle was officially established in 1998 by Jacob and Ingrid Tusa, but the story begins a lot further back.
Jacob Tusa grew up in Reagan, just 35 miles south of Waco, and showed steers and hogs as a youth exhibitor across Texas. Because of this success, he was recruited to attend Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (NEO) on a livestock judging scholarship. While in college, Jacob started helping other young people with feeding, fitting and selling steers. This practice laid the foundation for Tusa Show Cattle.
This same exact time, six hours away, Ingrid Oman was busy living the dream with her own family’s Hereford operation in Ericksdahl, Texas. From as early as 1 month old, Ingrid was on the stock show circuit accompanying her older sisters in one of the powerhouse Hereford steer-showing family of Texas during that time – including winning Champion or Reserve Hereford at every major steer show in Texas and earning 3 TCCA breed champion buckles.
A True Aggie Love Story
Like many top young livestock showman of Texas, both Ingrid and Jacob dreamed of attending Texas A&M University to study animal science and be on the livestock judging team. When Jacob and Ingrid both enrolled in the livestock judging class at Texas A&M, fate stepped in. The two instantly made a connection with their mutual love of livestock and agriculture. Both Ingrid and Jacob were members of Texas A&M’s National Champion Livestock Judging Team, and Ingrid was a member of the National Champion Meats Judging Team. After many hours spent together in a livestock judging van, the two fell in love and married in 2003.
Becoming Tusa Show Cattle
The young couple decided to make their home in Reagan. Centrally located to nearly every Texas major city, it was a natural choice for their business. Their daughter, Georgia, was born in 2008 and son, Charlie, was born in 2011. The family loves the small town life, and are active members of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Falls County A&M Club, and Texas 4-H Friends and Alumni Association, Texas Farm Bureau, and more.
While it was Jacob who envisioned Tusa Show cattle nearly 20 years ago, the success of the business wouldn’t be possible without his parents – Frank and Sandy – and brother, Jared. Frank has experience in the feedlot industry, farming and ranching sector, cow/calf and stocker business. Sandy has been instrumental in helping the business for 20 years. Jared joined the business in 2008, when he hit the ground running and hasn’t stopped since. Jared married Kalli Poole in 2015 and Kalli has been a great asset to the business.
What Makes Tusa Show Cattle Different?
The Tusa’s want more than just to sell someone a show calf. They’ve built their successful business by providing quality livestock and service while building personable relationships with their clients. They believe in going the limit to serve their clients and providing services that most other businesses don’t. Their pursuit of education, excellence, and experience have made them a favorite choice for many 4-H and FFA members in Texas buying show steers.
One example of their excellence in service is the Tusa Retreat – a weekend of educational clinics for young showman. The Tusa family provides hands on instruction in feeding, showmanship, fitting, equipment skills, daily hair care, selection, and more, to help their customers learn the skills to be the best.
Their efforts have paid off. The Tusa’s have sold show steers and heifers nationwide. They also own prominent bulls that are used in A.I. programs. As each year continues, the Tusa’s success has continued to expand. In 2017, they sold cattle that were winners at FOrt Worth and are hopeful for the cattle that will show in San Antonio, Houston and Austin as well as other Texas county fairs in 2017. Last year, they were proud to have been associated with the Reserve Grand Champion Steer at Louisville – the North American International Livestock Exposition – shown by Denver McKay.
The State Fair of Texas means a lot to the Tusas, Ingrid says. ‘That show has always been a big deal to us. Jacob grew up showing there, and so when we sold the Grand Champion Steer there in 2015 with Laurel Kelley, and then Laramie Priest in 2011, and Emily June Kelley in 2008..those are moments that really stand out.”
Another win that holds a special meaning to their family is when Charlie Wilson won Grand Champion Steer at San Antonio in 2008. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without the Wilson Family,” Ingrid says. “They have done so much for our family and they are so important in helping get Tusa Cattle to where it is today.”
While major shows are always fun, the Tusas are also proud of their success at the county fair level, where they feel they can help so many young people’s dreams come true. In 2016, the Tusa family helped their clients win champion or reserve championships at Bee, Klebert, Freestone, Victoria, DeWitt, Matagorda, Bastrop, Nueces, Fayette and Kendall County Fairs in Texas. They also sold the Supreme Champion Steer at the In It To Win It Show Series.
Tusa’s Thoughts on Marketing
From the start, Jacob and Ingrid have been firm believers in the power of marketing to help grow their brand. For more than 10 years, they’ve run a monthly print advertisement in The Showbox Magazine to help create brand awareness amongst Texas exhibitors. In 2003, they were one of the first club calf operations to build a website, www.tusacattle.com. Designed by Ranch House, the website showcases hundreds of young people who’ve won at county fairs and major shows since 2001 while showing Tusa cattle. In the last few years, Tusa’s have added Facebook marketing and also hold online sales to reach a large nationwide audience.
“We are really starting to pick up a lot on Facebook marketing,” says Ingrid. “We also added Instagram this year and have found a lot of young people to be active on those two outlets.”
Why They Do It
For the Tusas, it’s all about family. First, they have pride and love for their own family business – which they built from the ground up, together, working hard to believe in their dreams. Second, they share in the joys of watching other families grow and work together to achieve their own dreams.
For more information on this family livestock business, visit www.tusacattle.com.