Sunny Day Shorthorns started out
as 4-H project of the three Fanconi sisters, Shiela, Sherri, and Linda.
The three girls purchased their first animals from Don Cardey.
They took those animals and started cow families with them. They had the
Queen family, the Flora family, the Fauna Family, and the Lady family to mention
a few. As the girls grew up they lost interest in the ranch and grew
tired. They went off to college and got married.
The girl's father and mother,
Ben Jr. and Margie Fanconi, kept the animals until Sherri returned and married
Alpha. They effectively bought the herds of the rest of the family and
chose to continue the tradition, becoming the third generation to ranch the land
west of Atwater.
Ben Jr. also operated a
dairy operation called Lazy B Dairy until 1987. When the dairy was
sold, the Milk barn was converted to a show barn and the dairy corrals were
graced with beautiful Shorthorn cattle and the occasional Holstein.
Ben Jr. then began concentrated on his farming and haying business, thus
leading to open pastures and corrals for the Shorthorns.
When Ben Jr. passed away,
Alpha took over the operations of the entire ranch, spreading him very thin.
Luckily, about 14 years earlier, Alpha and Sherri were blessed with two
young healthy children, Amanda and Amy to help out on the ranch.
Amanda and Amy are the fourth generation of the family. They
had always helped on the ranch but it was time for them to take on some more
responsibility. Amanda and Amy would feed the cattle every morning and
night before school and after and drive tractor whenever they had the
In 2001, a few new faces began
appearing around SDS. Tim Whitfield began devoting
much of his time to the Sunny Day Shorthorns cause and he established this
website in September of 2002. Trevor Staats, a long time resident of
the ranch, became old enough to help out and began doing so also.
In 2004, SDS began registering all calves via
the internet and keeping detailed computerized herd records on
Tim and Amy were put in charge of this time consuming task.
Amanda was chosen as the Alternate
National Lassie Queen for the 2003-2004 season and in 2004 she was elected
the serve the American Junior Shorthorn Association as a director. She
moved to Kansas in 2004 to attend school at Kansas State University.
Amy also moved in 2004 to Fresno to attend
Fresno State University. She graduated in May of 2006 and moved home
right before marrying Tim. They now live at the main Ranch waking up every
morning to the serenading sound of hungry Shorthorns.
Amanda has been busy lately with the Judging
Team from Kansas State University. She went to Australia as the
American Shorthorn Association Ambassador in 2006. In addition she has been gaining
more recognition for the Sunny Day name as she exhibits Sunny Day and
Homestead Ranch cattle at the major Midwest Cattle Shows.
With numerous Champions and honors, Sunny Day
Shorthorns has come a long way from its humble 4-H beginnings and has matured
into a viable business.
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