Stock show is a huge event for Atascosa County, especially when the passion for showing is passed down generation to generation. Sisters Karen Rankin and Jessica Rankin-Schimelpfening are two of six siblings who spent their share of time in the show ring. The sisters and their siblings got their love of showing from their father, Ray Gallaway, participating in local and big shows across the state.
“We come from a long line of showers,” said Karen. The family goes back at least three generations, beginning with Karen and Jessica’s father, Ray, who showed steer at Burbank HS. The family moved to Somerset where their mother, Charlotte, was also the 4-H leader and a huge supporter of her children’s hard work as a family. “Although she didn’t show animals growing up, she did grow up on a farm and would help her mom and dad. She was also the one that helped us feed most of the time because Dad was busy running the family business, Gallaway Brothers Feed Store in Somerset.”
Not only do they come from a line of showers, but a line of winners as well. In 1986, Jessica won Grand Champion with her Santa Gertrudis steer at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Then, in 1990, Karen took home third place with her Santa Gertudis steer in Houston.
The family’s legacy didn’t stop with the Gallaway siblings, though. Jessica and Karen married brothers Lance and Scott Rankin, who also attended Somerset ISD and both showed chickens and pigs. However, Jessica’s husband, Lance, passed away in January 2012. She then remarried to Chris Schimelpfening of Pleasanton, who showed turkeys. Now, the families have the privilege of seeing their legacy shine through their own children in the show ring. Between them is a total of seven children: Hunter and Chase Rankin, sons of Karen and Scott; Blair, Jake and Brooke Rankin, children of Jessica and Lance; and Skylar and Sadie Schimelpfening, daughters of Jessica and Chris. Jessica’s eldest, Blair, is 19 and a graduate of Pleasanton ISD, but she also showed during her time in school.
“The children definitely have fun working together and preparing for show. They get the opportunity to learn from and encourage one another,” said Karen . “However, they do have their moments when they get on each other’s nerves. Especially, when it comes down to who hasn’t done their chore for the day, but they still get it done and have fun in the process.” Showing is an all year round deal for the families. As soon as one season ends, they are already preparing for the next. “We’re getting animals, buying feed, cleaning or building pens, it’s a never ending job,” she said. “We get no breaks whatsoever, and that’s with the kids being involved in school sports and activities.”
When the kids spend time with friends outside of school and sports, their work doesn’t stop. “We tell them, when you get back you still have to feed and work your animal. Even if a friend is coming over, they still have to do their chores,” said Jessica. She says the kids’ friends will even volunteer to help them out when they come over for a visit, creating lasting friendships over the years. Of those friendships, one in particular brings memories at this year’s ACLS: the friendship between Karen’s youngest son Chase and the late Brock Powell.
“We get our pigs from Powell Livestock, so that’s how they met,” explained Karen. She mentioned Chase has been taking it extremely hard since Brock’s passing in November. “They were best friends. We’d go over to get our pigs and the boys would the pigs or just play together. Brock showed him how to deal with the pigs and that is how Chase got interested in showing them.” This year, Chase will be showing a Duroc pig named Red Rocket, in honor of Brock. Also at this year’s ACLS, the children will be wearing a shade of orange in honor of Brock as that is what Karen described as his “favorite and lucky show shirt color.”
The Rankin/Schimelpfening families truly enjoy their time in the show ring. Their dedication and devotion to stock show is one that won’t end anytime soon, and it doesn’t just stop with Karen and Jessica’s families. The Gallaway family extends all across south Texas, including the Rankin and Schimelpfening families in Atascosa County. You can catch them all at the 65th Annual Atascosa County Livestock Show this week and in years to come, whether that’s through showing, teaching or inspiring others to stay involved. You can view more photos of the Rankin/ Schimelpfening family on our website at www.pleasantonexpress.com.