Beef still a classic |

Beef still a classic

Ruth Nicolaus
for Tri-State Livestock News
Haley Ehrke, Orleans., shows her Champion Market heifer. The 18 year old is a youth member of the Nebraska Cattlemen. Photos by Ruth Nicolaus

The future of the beef industry took the lead (rope) Feb. 22.

The 24th annual Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic wrapped up in Kearney with young beef producers and their quality cattle taking center stage.

Nearly 600 cattle from fifteen different breeds were shown by 300 youth from across Nebraska.

Schelkopf, who is fifteen years old, showed his cross-bred steer named Phil for supreme honors. He has shown livestock since he began 4-H as an eight year old, and he has tried his hand at cattle, sheep, pigs and goats, but cattle and sheep are his favorites. “I like cattle because they’re fluffy and fun and they have great personalities.” Showing goats was a short-lived career for him. “I just don’t like their attitude. (The goat) was a pain, or maybe it was just the goat I had.”

The Genevab., showman wasn’t thinking goats when he led his steer to Supreme Junior Market Animal last week.

Chandler was joined in the show ring by his older brother, Conrad, who won third place honors overall with his crossbred steer named Bill. The family, including youngest brother Cooper who is just beginning to show, travels across the nation and has shown everywhere from local jackpots and the county fair to the American Royal in Kansas City, Ak-Sar-Ben in Omaha, Louisville, Ky., Phoenix, and Denver.

He and Conrad spend their summers at the farm outside of Geneva with their livestock. The days begin with feeding, then one brother washes cattle while the other walks sheep. If time permits, they wash pigs, and then it’s noon and time to eat. After lunch, they work on “setting up, then do feed chores, and then they’re usually exhausted and call it a day.

Chandler, a freshman at Fillmore Central High School in Geneva, strives to get good grades. Studying comes naturally to him, “but I work hard at it because I like to keep a 4.0 because my brother (Conrad) has a 4.0.” The only B Chandler’s ever had was one point away from an A, in art class. “I was pretty mad.”

In addition to his studies and livestock, Chandler is involved in One-Act, Mock Trial, Speech, cross-country, basketball, and track. He’s also on his school’s Principal Honor Roll, as is Conrad.

Big brother Conrad, a senior, is involved in One-Act, Speech, cross-country, basketball and track. He and his brother work closely together on their livestock, and even though they’re the best of friends, it pained him a bit when Chandler won Supreme and Conrad finished in third at the Classic. “Yeah, that’s a hard one to swallow,” he smiled.

The elder brother loves livestock and showing. “I like the competitiveness. I get hyped on that. I feel like it just fits me. I love it so much, I’d do anything for it. I like the attitudes (the animals) have, and you can become really close to them.”

The boys are the sons of Scott and Jana Schelkopf.

Earlier in the week at the Cattlemen’s Classic, the future was on the mind of Haley Ehrke of Orleansb.

The 18-year-old daughter of Leon and Janelle Ehrke, bought a steer as part of the Classic Steer Scholarship Program on Saturday night, and showed that steer on Sunday, Feb. 22, winning the class.

Now that she’s bought the animal, she is enrolled in the Classic’s scholarship program, which gives her the opportunity to go on cattle tours, learn more about the industry, keep a record book on her animal, and be part of the interview process this fall. Eight steers are sold and next year at the 2016 Classic, scholarship winners from steers and the sister heifer scholarship program purchased this year will be determined.

First place will win $2,500, second place wins $1500, and third and fourth will win $500 each.

This is Haley’s third year of participating, and she has a good track record so far, wining third place this year and second place last year. “I was fortunate enough to win both times,” she said.

She has become a very articulate spokeswoman for the Classic and the cattle industry as a whole. She’s attended on-the-road dinners and tours, and learned much. “We just learn a lot about how the beef industry works. It’s really good to see the other sides. There’s more than just the show side” to the beef industry. She has two uncles involved in feed yards, and the Scholarship Program has enhanced her education with other aspects of the business. “There’s an end to everything. Everything lives and dies. So you have to learn the importance of that, and where cattle go when they’re not able to be in the ring, which is the majority of cattle.”

Haley will put in lots of hours with her scholarship steer in the next year. “I’ll show him at numerous shows. It looks better in your scholarship interview if you participate in other events.” And she’s ready for the interview this fall. “You have to keep records about your calf, and in the interview, they’ll ask how knowledgeable you are about the industry, what you know about your calf, and how did he do. And if your calf didn’t turn out like you wanted to, why didn’t it, and how would you fix it? That’s a great question to ask younger kids. They really need to figure that out.”

Her interest in cattle has given her a part-time job. She does the social media for Powerline Genetics from Holbrookb., keeping their Facebook, Youtube, and website pages going. “I’m their coordinator and I take care of their emails,” she said. She goes on-site at bull sales to take pictures and video of bulls to post. “This Classic program has really looked good on my resume,” she said. Not just every high school sophomore pursues college scholarships. “It’s amazing for me to be able to do that. Every little bit helps in college.”

Now a junior at Southern Valley High School south of Oxfordb., where she participates in Future Problem Solvers, Journalism, Mock Trial, Speech, Hayley is a junior leader in 4-H, is on Honor Roll with Distinction, and is secretary for the FFA chapter. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and is a youth member of the Nebraska Cattlemen.

But the biggest thing cattle and showing livestock has taught her is more important than scholarships, money and jobs. “What showing has done for me, is you have to lose to win. You can’t always win. Showing has taught me so many life lessons, that honestly, you wouldn’t learn in a classroom. You are not going to win every time. I’ve always had my mentality of win, win, win, but I always know how to be a graceful loser when I don’t win.”

In addition to her scholarship steer, Haley showed the Champion Market heifer, a crossbred steer, and her brother Parker showed a Mainetainer steer.

Haley has one more year of high school, but she has the future in mind. She hopes to attend the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, earn a degree in agri-business, and work at her uncle’s feed yard in cattle development.

2015 Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic junior show results:


Senior Division

1. Savannah Schaferhawka

2. Allee Maronde, York

3. Jefferson Keller, St. Paul

4. Emilye Vales, DeWitt

5. Isabelle Schultz, Cairo

6. Emily Keiser, Gothenburg

7. Miles Stagemeyer, Page

8. Chase Samuelson, Palmer

9. Sydney Glatter, Sumner

Intermediate Division

1. MeKenzie Beattie, Sumner

2. McKenna Hubbard, Elm Creek

3. Riley Eisenhauer, Farnam

4. Jace Stagemeyer, Page

5. Marissa Meduna, Colon

6. Morgan Leefers, Otoe

7. Jacob Gall, Clarkson

8. Korynn Clason, Beaver City

9. Tejlor Strope, O’Neill

10. Bret Heinrich, Hickman

Junior Division

1. Ansley Maronde, York

2. Kasey Meyer, Blue Hill

3. Lex Larson, Valentine

4. Radley Eisenhauer, Farnam

5. Ben Spencer, Gibbon

6. Mattison Beattie, Sumner

7. Cassidee Stratman, West Point

8. Reese Schultz, Cairo

9. Tucker Stagemeyer, Page

10. Kassi Jones, Bladen

2015 Breeding Heifer Show Results


1. Whitney Steckel, Taylor

2. Kendi Miigrel, Ravenna

Polled Hereford

1. Harrison McMahon, Ayr

2. Sage Krebs, Gordeon

Miniature Hereford

1. Cameron Lashley, McCook

2. Cameron Lashley, McCook

Red Angus

1. Kassi Jones, Bladen

2. Kendi Miigrel, Ravenna


1. Tucker Stagemeyer, Page

2. Kolton Kleinschmidt, Sutton


1. Josh Taylor-Forster, Loomis

2. Ansley Maronde, York

Foundation Simmental

1. Ed Spencer, Gibbon

2. Michaela Clowser, Milford


1. Tayler Gall, Clarkson

2. Taylor Benes, Valparaiso

Composite Charolais

1. Jake Zahm, Osceola

2. Jacob Gall, Clarkson


1. Jack Watts


1. Korynn Clason, Beaver City

2. Megan Amos, Stapleton


1. Yancy Welsh Franklin

2. Madalynn Welsh, Franklin


1. Makaela Franzen, Gothenburg

2. Riley Eisenhauer, Farnam

Shorthorn Plus

1. Jaclyn Frey, Albion

2. Renae Sieck, Martell

Maine Anjou

1. Beau Bremer, St. Edward

2. Lauren Robertson, Roca


1. Ansley Maronde, York

2. Caitlyn Walbrecht, Lincoln


1. Atlanta Maronde, York

2. Isabelle Schultz, Cairo


1. Rylee Stoltz, Pierce

2. Brett Heinrich, Hickman

Supreme Breeding Heifer:

Champion LimFlex Heifer shown by Korynn Clason from Beaver City.

Reserve Supreme Breeding Heifer:

Champion Maine Anjou Heifer shown by Beau Bremer from St. Edward.

2015 Market Animal Show

Market Heifer

1. Haley Ehrke, Orleans

2. Atlanta Maronde, York,NE

Chiangus Steer

1. Ryan McBride, Wisner

Chianina Steer

1. Colton Kleinschmidt, Sutton

2. Brooke Schilke, Imperial

Mainetainer Steer

1. Kathlyn Hauxwell, McCook

2. Mattison Beattie, Sumner

Maine Anjou Steer

1. Dane Hubbard, Elm Creek

2. Dalton Wagner, Albion

Shorthorn Plus Steer

1. Brendon Hauxwell, McCook

2. Derek Reardon, Lindsay

Shorthorn Steer

1. Berren Strope, O’Neill

2. Abby Stallbaumer, Oconto

Charolais Steer

1. Daniel Beller, Leigh

2. Bailey Reuter, Norfolk

Foundation Simmental Steer

1. Chandler Schelkopf, Geneva

Simmental Steer

1. JessaLyn Hudson, Belvidere

2. Keller Twohig, Franklin

Angus Steer

1. Cheyann Lovett, Bladen

2. Savannah Schaferhawka

Hereford Steer

1. Noah Koller, Arapahoe

2. Kendi Miigrel, Ravenna

Crossbred Steer

1. Chandler Schelkopf, Geneva

2. Brendon Hauxwell, McCook

Classic Steer

1. Haley Ehrke, Orleans

2. Malina Lindstrom, Elm Creek

Supreme Market Animal:

Champion Crossbred Steer shown by Chandler Schelkopf from Geneva

Reserve Supreme Market Animal:

Reserve Crossbred Steer shown by Brendon Hauxwell from McCook.