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Our Story

        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 chance.

       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 CattleMax.  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 Pluth's 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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