One of our family’s summer traditions is heading to the Idaho Junior Beef Expo in Filer, Idaho. This is our fourth year attending with one of our own kids showing, but we’ve been going for many years as my husband and all his siblings grew up showing there. It’s a great family-friendly atmosphere. We get to see other cattle friends from around the region, and the kids have a blast running around together. They look out for each other, going back and forth between stall areas, help each other when needed, and congratulate each other for a job well done. Josh, MJ, my brother-in-law and the cattle headed out first thing Thursday morning to get the stalls set up and the cattle checked in. The rest of us headed up Friday morning. MJ participated in the judging contest Friday morning, then we had the banquet and auction (which raises money to support the show). Afterwards was showmanship, which is the contest to see which individual presents their animal the best to the judge. Most of the time it shows who has done their homework and worked a lot at home because you can see the teamwork between exhibitor and animal. Sometimes though, no matter how well they do at home, they are in a new environment at the show, and the animals act up. We’ve always told MJ she can’t always control how her animal acts, but she can control how she reacts to it. She can still remain calm, do what she knows and try her best. We’ve very proud of her because she never gives up!
This was MJ’s first show with this little Hereford calf we purchased this spring. She only had three weeks to halter break her, and get her ready to go. I’m so proud of her hard work. She was at the barn with her Dad nearly every day, washing, blow drying and leading her around. The heifer is really sweet and has a great disposition, so that definitely helped the two get along right away.
As a “show mom,” my first concern is always that the animals behave well and don’t take my little girl for a ride. I tend to stand with my breath sucked in watching to make sure they stay calm. Her steer acted up a little, but she stayed relaxed. The judge remembered how well she had done with her heifer and noted that she was a good showman; it was just a day where her animal got her beat.
Even though these three aren’t showing yet, you can be sure they love to watch from the sidelines and help wherever they can. E found herself helping hand out awards. Little J enjoyed combing on the animals at the stall. And B cheered from outside the ring.
Love these memories of my kiddos and their Uncle getting the cattle ready! I remember when he was Little J’s age. It’s fun to see him get to help the younger ones now.
On Saturday, the kids show their animals for the quality show. During these classes, the judge looks only at the animals and places them according to how closely they fit certain qualities. You want all cattle to be balanced, heavily muscled, eye-appealing, structurally sound and to look like their breed type or kind. Every judge is different, but they usually pick animals they would want to use in their own breeding program when they are judging heifers and bulls. When they judge steers, they are thinking of the end product—beef and how that animal will continue to grow to market weight.
MJ won her class in the Angus steer show and received Champion Angus steer. We were really excited as we had raised this steer. He’s sired by our herd bull, Bushs Sure Deal 33.
MJ showed two of her Angus heifers. Her big heifer received the top award and was named Champion Angus heifer. It was definitely an exciting day for her.
It was such a fun time with family and friends. After a long day of showing, everyone helped break down the stalls and load things back into the trailer. That’s probably the least fun part of the whole weekend, but it must be done. And the more hands to help pitch in, the faster it goes. We’re so fortunate our kids have the opportunity to show cattle. They learn how to win, and lose graciously, how to work hard and be responsible, as well as make some great friends. I have so many memories from showing horses and cattle while I was growing up; excited to share these experiences with my own kiddos!