A Special Report to AgWeb by Diane Johnson of the Livestock Publications Council
The livestock business has its share of celebrities. Nolan Ryan. Terry Bradshaw. Mel Gibson. They are familiar with stardom. But this week a family from the center of Oklahoma is experiencing the celebrity life and it will eventually be documented on the hit show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
On Monday morning, Feb. 1, Brian Skaggs, 39, his wife Audra, 38, and their children Merit, 5, and Jhett, 3, received the famous "knock on the door" from show host Ty Pennington at their Lexington, Okla., home. By Tuesday morning they were jetting off to Disney World while their property was being transformed with a sea of volunteers and construction workers plus endless lines of construction trucks of every kind. A brand new 2,700-sq.-ft. house and new barn are in the works. The 24-hour-a-day process has only 106 hours from beginning to the final reveal to the family and public, which will be on Sunday, Feb. 7. An airdate for the show has not yet been set.
Brian is both a cow-calf and commercial producer with an emphasis in Limousin and Lim-Flex cattle. He also maintains a satellite embryo program where he owns the recipient cows, receives embryos, takes the calves to weaning and then they go back to the owner. He and three other Limousin-based cattle ranches are planning a joint production sale to be held the last weekend in April.
His future goals are to build a show heifer program for his two children. They already have cattle registered in their names and, according to Brian, show a big interest in becoming active in the show ring.
A familiar face in the cattle industry, Brian recently completed his final year on the Oklahoma Limousin Breeders Association board of directors after serving as president in 2006. He also serves on the North American Limousin Foundation board of directors.
The home builder is Ideal Homes, Norman, Okla., owned by Gene and Vernon McKown, former Limousin breeders with McKown Limousin. McKown Limousin was a major force in the Limousin breed in the 1970s and '80s. The McKowns also have a successful horse business with quarter horses and Gene is active in the American Quarter Horse Association and National Cutting Horse Association.
This show is designed to help families in need but also to bring communities together through volunteerism and awareness to specific needs of the family. In the case of the Skaggs family, son Jhett was diagnosed at the age of ten months with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with left ventricular noncompaction and metabolic myopathy. On Nov. 29, 2007, he had a successful heart transplant and continues to improve into an active three-year-old. To follow the Skaggs' story and find out more details, go to www.idealextremehome.com