Beef show gives youths ranching experience

Argen Duncan

The Breeding Beef Show teaches participants what ranchers deal with every day, the show superintendent said.

In the show at the Roosevelt County Fair, youth exhibited heifers — females that haven’t had a calf — and one cow with a calf, while the judge evaluated their physical appearance and movement.

Superintendent Jim Duncan said the show lets youth who want to breed cattle promote the offspring. They may show animals they’ve bred or buy an animal, show it, breed it and show the calf the next year.

“They get an experience of what daily care is and what cost is involved in raising breeding animals, so they know what a big rancher is up against every day,” Duncan said.

Raising breeding animals is a specialty, requiring more care than commercial beef production, he said.

Kaly Cone, 13, of Portales won Grand Champion with her heifer.

“I’m pretty excited,” she said.

Cone thought her heifer won because the animal would cooperate during the show and stand so that it looked its best. She practiced the stance with the animal every morning, she said.

Cone has shown breeding heifers for two years and steers since she was 9.

“They’re like big babies,” she said of why she liked showing cattle. “They’re just really sweet, and they get fluffy and stuff.”

Justus Criswell, 17, of Elida High School took Reserve Grand Champion.

“I feel lucky and privileged to win Reserve Grand Champion heifer,” he said.

Criswell said his trick for raising winning heifers was tying the animal under a shade tree, where it was cooler, to encourage its hair to grow. This is his third year raising beef heifers.

“They’re similar to show steers in many ways, and I’m a rancher myself,” Criswell said of why he likes showing beef heifers. “It’s just fun.”