Clair Bye, a retired Navistar employee, is pictured working with two of his shorthorn cattle in his barn. He took up raising the animals in his retirement. This year, he won the Premier Exhibitor Award at the Indiana State Fair. (The Commercial Review/Virginia Cline)
Clair Bye, a retired Navistar employee, is pictured working with two of his shorthorn cattle in his barn. He took up raising the animals in his retirement. This year, he won the Premier Exhibitor Award at the Indiana State Fair. (The Commercial Review/Virginia Cline)
Dreams may not always come true. And sometimes if they do, the process takes a while.

In Clair Bye’s case, it took 50 years and he is enjoying every minute of it.

Bye, a 1959 graduate of Portland High School, was involved with 4-H and FFA while in school and his father raised shorthorn cattle.

But he took a different path and attended Purdue University where he earned a degree in industrial management and industrial engineering. He worked at Navistar in Fort Wayne as the production manager of a large division that produced front axles, differentials and transmissions.

“When I retired, I decided that I wanted to do something that kind of took me back to my roots because I was born and raised on a farm and I wanted to get back and be more involved in farm activities,” said Bye, 76.

It was then that he decided he wanted to again start raising shorthorns.

He teamed up with Colton Prescott, the son of friends Steve and Jane Prescott, who was having success showing cattle while also serving as class president and FFA president at Jay County High School.

“He was what we call a barn rat,” Bye said. “He was spending a lot of time with cattle.”

Bye bought three heifers, with Colton showing two and his brother, Hunter, showing the other. Colton won three major awards with the heifer known as All American Girl “or Ally,” including champion shorthorn heifer at the 2009 Hoosier Beef Congress in Indianapolis, champion shorthorn and reserve overall heifer at the 2010 Hoosier Beef Classic in New Castle and champion shorthorn heifer at the 2010 Indiana State Fair 4-H Show. Bye said at that time it was the first heifer to win at the Hoosier Beef Congress and the state fair.

“I mentored him, but now that he has graduated from college he’s almost mentoring me,” said Bye. “He’s a super young man — highly thought of in the cattle industry.”

He is now an agriculture teacher at Versailles (Ohio) High School and is owner of Prescott Cattle Company in rural Portland where he raises high quality club calves.

Bye, now the owner of Bye Well Shorthorns at 7061 E. Indiana 26, has continued what he started with Colton, showing offspring from HD Swagger and Ally that Colton first showed in 2009. He recently returned from the North American International Livestock Expo in Louisville, Kentucky. His twin bulls — known as BWS (Bye Well Shorthorn) Swagger Twin A and BWS Swagger Twin B — earned first and second place individually, finished second for pair of bulls and claimed first in the super cow class for two calves that have been sired from the same cow.

Bye has competed at four of the top five shorthorn shows in the country, traveling to Denver, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Fort Worth, Texas, and Louisville. He is also a member and past director of the Indiana Shorthorn Association, Ohio Shorthorn Breeders’ Association and the Ohio Shorthorn Ambassadors and Ohio Cattlemen’s Association.

At the Ohio State Fair this summer, the twins’ older brother BWS Swagger was awarded the junior yearling reserve division champion and one of the twins was awarded senior bull calf division champion.

At the Indiana State Fair, Twin A was named grand champion bull, BWS Swagger was reserve grand champion bull, Twin B was a division reserve champion and another heifer, named BWS Cool Ally, was champion junior heifer calf.

Bye also won the Premier Exhibitor Award.

“I had more champions than anyone,” he said, noting his 13 ribbons. “I basically swept the show.”

Bye Well Shorthorns has six producing cows, the three original heifers and two replacement heifers.

“I still have those three females, eight years later, and they have all produced multiple champions,” said Bye. “So I’m very fortunate.

“I’m living my dream.”