The business partner and I were invited up to Deadwood, S.D. for a pharmaceutical company meeting a week and a half ago. The meeting was focused on reproduction and cow/calf production, which made me question why there was so many feedlot guys in the room. But hey, free rooms in Deadwood and throw in some rodeo tickets, I may have attended if the topic was on feedlot nutrition and riding health.

We were running early — which may have been a first for both of us — and decided to make a stop in Rapid City for a nose piercing. Before I lose all my readership, there was a purpose in this.

This winter, I was struggling. The pace of trying to keep up with two operations, and the struggles with my own body were wearing me out. Of course, this winter was a piece of cake too, especially when someone calves from February to June (and yes, that was pure sarcasm). I finally realized I was tired and was pretty close to my limit. I guess when one questions if working 80- to 100-hour weeks, with little or no sleep, is worth it, that is when one has to start getting a little creative.

Last year, I had a great lady from Colorado come up and help with calving. She works fulltime as an RN, and when she was not in “baby jail,” she’d come to the North Place and help. She was a natural and expressed a real love of the industry and a desire to become more involved. When I started thinking of ideas on how to manage things better, she was the first thought that came into my mind and the one idea I continued to come back to.

With months of planning and brainstorming, Jamie joined Flying Diamond Genetics officially on May 1. She is in the process of moving to western Nebraska and I, for one, cannot wait until she is up here fulltime. We already make a great team as her strengths are my weaknesses, and she’s fit right into this crazy lifestyle.

In any new business plan, I’ve learned that contracts are key. Though I would love to do everything on a handshake, those days seem to be a distant memory. We tweaked the contract for weeks. Every time we thought it was as good as it was going to get, something else would come up that would need to be added.

Finally, one day it was complete, or at least to the point that they were going to be finalized by their respective financial offices, and we were starting to feel a little celebratory.

I’m not for sure how the topic came up, but before I knew it, we had an addition into the contract (that the financial institutions were not privy to) that included upon signing by both parties, I agreed to getting a nasal piercing. Jamie has had one for several years, and it was usually a topic that I would rib her on, not knowing that one day she’d get even.

I think after the stress of those months trying to get everything worked out, in a weak moment, I agreed.

There were some minor particulars — I could take it out at any time and I could get whatever type I wanted (for some reason, I kept having a nightmare envisioning a bull ring with a clip on it for the Boss Man to lead me around). I usually try to keep my word, and with an hour of spare time on our way to Deadwood, the contract negotiation came up.

Literally shaking in my boots, I agreed, and we found a place in downtown Rapid City where 15 minutes later, I was sporting a nice little nasal stud. I’m pretty sure we were the only two at the pharmaceutical meeting with nose bling, but oh well, I guess neither of us would have been mistaken for John Wayne prior to that anyway.

The Boss Man’s Wife said it was stupid but did renege after she saw it in person, the Boss Man said he might consider getting one too, and I agreed to keep it in for 30 days and then reanalyze.

There is a moral to the story here. Sometimes business is challenging, but there is no reason to not have a little fun celebrating when hard work, dedication, and sometimes just pure luck pay off. Maybe next time, just not at the expense of my nasal cavity.

Jaclyn Wilson is more than a rancher, raising Red Angus cattle at Wilson Ranch near Lakeside, Neb. She’s an artist with a welder’s torch. She holds leadership positions with several agriculture organizations. She can be reached at

Sign up for our Weekly newsletter

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.