Cattle Call: Showing cattle at N.D. Winter Show and beyond a tradition for Oakes sisters
Valley City, N.D. March 1, 2021 – Lynsey Schmitz has livestock shows running through her veins.
She’s the third generation in her family to show at the North Dakota Winter Show in Valley City.
The nineteen-year-old, a resident of Oakes, N.D., grew up the daughter of Cathy and the late Paul Schmitz. By the time she was two years old, she had shown a pig at a livestock show, and from then on, that’s what she (and her family, including sister Lacey), have done.
In addition to hogs, she’s shown cattle, sheep and goats, competing in 4-H while she met the age requirements and now as a junior.
She and her family go to about thirty shows a year, including the Winter Show at Valley City, the North Star Classic, also held at the Winter Show arena, the North Dakota State Fair, the Black Hills Stock Show in Rapid City, Ak-Sar-Ben in Omaha, Neb., Denver’s National Western Stock Show, and the American Royal in Kansas City.
In fact, last October, it was her Angus heifer that won breed champion at the American Royal, one of the top shows in the nation, and the same heifer was reserve champion at Ak-Sar-Ben.
The heifer, who weighs about 1,400 pounds was named Linda by Lynsey and her sister after a video they’d seen with the dialogue of “listen, Linda.” Linda is “kind of sassy,” Lynsey said. “She has her own personality.” Linda the heifer seems to know when it’s Lynsey or Lacey leading her. “I like to think she likes me the most but my sister would probably argue that.”
Lynsey isn’t the first in the family to show livestock at the Winter Show and beyond. Her dad’s dad, Richard Schmitz, showed, and so did her mom’s dad, Bob Steichen. Richard, who lived in Oakes, would come to the farm several times a week, perch in his lawn chair in the barn, and offer advice and encouragement to his granddaughters as they showed him their show animals. With two artificial legs, he was a hero to both of them for his perseverance.
Lynsey’s mom and dad met while judging livestock at the Winter Show, and after they married, continued going there. Paul passed away in 2009, and for Cathy and her daughters, it’s a poignant moment when they show. “It’s bittersweet,” Lynsey said. Last month, the family sponsored the banners the winning exhibitors get, in honor of Paul.
Showing livestock is a great way to spend time as a youth, and a good teacher of life lessons, too, Lynsey said. “The biggest thing is knowing the animal and knowing it relies on you for its care,” she said. “You have to be there, even on your worst day. They need you.”
Showing has also taught her how to pursue her dreams, teaching her “how to work hard and try to achieve any goals you have. You have to stay committed and driven.”
She and her sister are close and hold each other accountable. Lynsey would rather stay in bed longer on summer mornings but Lacey gets her going. The calves need to be moved to cooler quarters in the summer, to keep their hair thicker, so Lacey makes sure Lynsey is up to help with chores.
At this year’s Winter Show, the sisters will show four animals: a crossbred steer named Swiper, two Simmental heifers (Ruby and Precious), and an Angus heifer who hasn’t been named yet. Each girl will show two animals.
With her birthday on March 10, the Winter Show is a good place to celebrate, Lynsey said. She loves to shop, so the commercial exhibits and the craft and antique market are places she is sure to hit. And a serving of mini donuts and lemonade is on the list, too. “Meeting up with friends and hanging out, catching up on what you’ve missed is always good.”
This year’s cattle show at the NDWS is Sunday, March 14 at 8 am.
More information can be found online at NorthDakotaWinterShow.com or by calling the Winter Show at 701.845.1401.
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