Dale grew up in the small town of Cabery, IL. He was involved in raising livestock from a young age. His parents put a great deal of trust in him and allowed him to take part in the decision making process of their livestock based business in his teen years. After finishing high school he attended the University of Illinois, where he received his graduate degree in Animal Science. While in college he took the opportunity to travel abroad, spending a summer working on sheep and cattle ranches in Australia. While attending the U of I he was a member of the livestock judging team. During graduate school he had the opportunity to coach the livestock judging team at the University of Illinois. His involvement in livestock judging allowed him to opportunity to make several trips to Europe to compete in livestock judging events. Dale has taught collegiate animal science courses, as well as served as a professional livestock judge across the country for the past fifteen years.
Holly grew up in a military family. With her family she lived in Colorado, Germany and Texas before moving home to Oregon at the age of nine. She was also involved in raising livestock and a member of 4H and FFA. Like Dale, she was involved in livestock judging that paid for some of her college tuition and allowed her to travel to Europe to compete in livestock judging events. After high school she moved to Illinois, where she got her Bachelors degree in Public Relations, with a minor in Agriculture.
Dale and Holly met through the livestock judging world. Their similar interests and passions were an immediate draw to each other. They were married in May of 2003. Their lives have been prosperous on the family front. They have four children – Dylan, 11, Tara, 9, Chase, 6, and Kadie, 4.
Dylan is really becoming his own person.It’s interesting to watch your kids mature and develop and see the paths they choose for themselves in life.We got all of the kids involved in showing meat goats this past year.Dylan, being the oldest, was the only one eligible to show at our State Fair.We jackpotted the goats throughout the summer before our County and State Fairs.Dylan got a taste for winning and has decided he really likes it.He didn’t race motocross this last summer due to an injury, so he was really able to focus on learning what he needed to in order to be successful showing.In the coming years it will be a little bit more hectic, trying to juggle motocross races and livestock shows.Dylan also plays Basketball and Baseball.He has recently gotten very interested in creating videos for YouTube.Check out some of his videos by searching rickystern28 on youtube.com.
Tara has taken a strong interest in the livestock and agricultural world.She was able to show at jackpot and county fair shows and did very well.She won Champion Junior Showman at our county fair.We spent the last year building a barn for all of our show animals, which we just recently completed, just in time for our does to kid.Tara is very involved in the care of our livestock and the socializing of the young.Once we finish our pasture fence she will be adding a horse to the barn.She is also very as involved with caring for and socializing kittens.We could put her in charge of caring for weaned babies completely on her own and she would do a fantastic job.Tara is also involved in sports – volleyball and basketball, as well as jazz and tap dancing.
Chase is the future Animal Research Biologist.He takes great pride in his vast knowledge of all animals – where they live, what they eat, whether they are nocturnal or herbivores or whatever the case may be.It’s quite entertaining to quiz him on his knowledge.He is not too interested in the hands on experience with animals yet.It’s amazing that he could come from Dale and I, who have made animals our whole lives!We’re hoping that he will develop into wanting more hands on interactions with animals as he grows.He did show the goats a few times over the summer, only to be beat out by his little sister.He has also played a season of baseball, which was painful to watch.He’s at the age that his attention span is quite short – definitely not long enough to make it through an inning without stopping to pick some grass or kick some dirt!
Kadie started preschool two days a week this year.She is very excited to be able to go to school like the rest of the kids.She loves show and tell days – often dragging in some sort of living creature to show off.She is a genuine lover of all animals.She thoroughly enjoys helping “socialize” kittens.She hugs them and cuddles them and plays with them with the feathered teaser toy for hours at a time.When she’s not socializing kittens or cuddling the goat kids she is inside holding Scarlett, our pet Kinkajou.She showed goats a few times this past summer also, taking home our County Fair’s PeeWee Goat Showman title and trophy.She is very proud of her trophy and ribbons.Watching her show is quite a treat.She’s very intent and focused and is really able to get the job done.She will be a force to be reckoned with in the livestock world as she gets older.
The heart and soul of Select Exotics was born from Dale’s parents, Bud and Marilyn. While Dale was pursuing his graduate degree Marilyn continued breeding Bengals and working with Select Exotics’ first breeding Serval, Keystone. Without their tremendous efforts – carrying the load for many years – and their continued support Select Exotics would not be in existence.
Marilyn passed away in March of 2008. Her love for the cats was undeniable. She was willing to do anything necessary to make sure that all of her cats were happy and healthy. This goes for her family as well. She has and will continue to have a profound influence on our family and Select Exotics. We miss her love and guidance a great deal. Her passion for the Savannahs was truly a blessing.
Bud is still contributing to both our family and Select Exotics. His relationship and the help he offers in caring for his grandchildren are much appreciated. He also stays busy caring for our breeding cats on a daily basis. His efforts help make our whole families quality of life better. The excitement in his face to watch his grandchildren enjoying life – especially if it is on a dirt bike – is an immense joy for us.
We would like to thank both Bud and Marilyn for their contributions.