This weekend I had a first experience that I am not likely to forget. I attended my very first cattle show at the Block and Bridle Bear Classic, the livestock club that I am a part of. Being a nontraditional agriculturalist, I never had the opportunity to attend a show, and I have to say that I was impressed and astonished at how technical it was and how passionate the exhibitors were about their craft. There were exhibitors of all ages, from the “Grizzly Bear” class of 22 and older, all the way down to kids in elementary school. The common thread between all of them was the knowledge of the animals and the dedication they had for what they were doing. Trailers started arriving at 6 A.M. with cattle, show supplies, fitting chutes and excited people. There were three divisions in the show: heifers, bulls and steers. At the beginning of the day I figured that it would be a quick show; that we would fly through the heifer show and then the three bulls and about 20 steers that were present. I found out later that there were about 50 classes of heifers and they were separated by breed and age that made the classes and then we would get to the bull and steer classes. From my past judging experience, I inferred that they would be separated in that way, but the differences between the classes proved to be only about a month in age.
I was stationed at the prize table, so I was front and center and had the opportunity to listen to the judge and his reasons for choosing the champion and reserve champion cattle. He was mostly looking for conditioning, structural correctness, how they moved when tracked and overall presentation. I am very eager to learn more about this aspect of agriculture, and am thankful to have had the experience. I am definitely more impressed with the show world than I was going in, and commend the hosts of the show and the exhibitors who made a simple cattle show a great learning experience for me.
Photos Courtesy of: Missouri State University Block & Bridle