Black Hills Stock Show: Cattlemen’s Family Legacy program gives kids a start |

Black Hills Stock Show: Cattlemen’s Family Legacy program gives kids a start

While a strong legacy lives forever, somewhere, sometime, it had a beginning. A Black Hills Stock Show program is helping with this by linking beginner cattle producers to established cowmen and women.

Rylee Schroeder of Winner, South Dakota is one of two area young cattle producers who will take a donated heifer home this year from the Black Hills Stock Show courtesy the Cattlemans’ Family Legacy program.

Schroeder, an 8th grader at Winner, South Dakota, already has two Sim Angus cows, 3 registered Shorthorn cows, and several Red Angus cows of his own and currently has for sale two Red Angus bulls. He has shown cattle at the Western Junior Livestock Show several times, including market steers, futurity steer calves, bred heifers and bulls.

The bulls he has for sale are out of Red Angus cows he bought at the Black Hills Stock Show in years past.

He learned about the CFL program through friends and is excited to be chosen to receive a heifer next week. The Cattlemans’ Family Legacy program gives local cattle producers the opportunity to showcase their homegrown genetics while simultaneously giving an area youngster the chance to jump in to the cattle business in a real way.

This year, Gill Red Angus of Timber Lake, South Dakota and Holt Cattle Company of Mina, South Dakota, are each donating an open heifer. The Gill heifer will go to Rylee Schroeder of Winner, and Kaylie Phillips of Chadron, Nebraska, was named the recipient of the Chianina female donated by Jordan and Amanda Holt. The heifers and recipients were paired via a coin toss, said Amanda Kammerer, Black Hills Stock Show Livestock coordinator.

The Central States Fair Foundation, which operates in conjunction with the Black Hills Stock Show and Black Hills Stock Show Foundation chooses the recipient each year during the Western Junior Livestock Show which occurs in October each year on the Central States Fairgrounds. Interested kids ages 8-17 submit an application, essay and letter of recommendation and go through an interview process with members of the Foundation. In the past, one heifer has been given away – this is the first year two area showmen will take home a critter. The recipient must take care of the female and facilitate her breeding, then exhibit the female at this fall’s Western Junior Livestock Show as a bred heifer. The youth must also submit reports to the foundation to provide information about their care of the heifer.

The heifers will be halter-broke for the recipients, said Kammerer.

Bryan Gill is pleased with the opportunity to help a youngster get a start in the Red Angus business.

While his family as of late hasn’t showed their cattle at the Black Hills Stock Show, Gill Red Angus was a regular exhibitor in the 80s and 90s, and has purchased stock from several BHSS sales.

“One time we purchased the supreme row winner, together with Broken Heart Ranch,” said Gill. Joliet, Montana’s, Rock Creek Red Angus had raised the bull, named Federal Express.

“Over the years, I’ve met lots of people through the stock show,” said Gill.

Off and on for the past several years, Gill, who represents one-third of the Gill Red Angus program, has manned a microphone during the Black Hills Stock Show Red Angus Show and Sale, introducing the competitors and their animals.

“I get to meet new breeders and long-standing breeders,” he said. Gill makes a point of visiting with each exhibitor before the sale, to learn about their operations and breeding programs.

The Red Angus Association’s junior program is top notch, said Gill, who believes strongly in the need to spark the interest of the upcoming generation.

“I think it is very important to get youth involved in the day to day activities of ranching. They are the future and we have to support them, too many people are going away from it,” he said.

If a youngster doesn’t have a parent or grandparent to “show them the ropes,” Gill suggests they find another mentor of some kind. “The need to find someone who understands the industry and who will willing to help them. If they’ve got the financial backing, there is room for them in this business. Ranchers are getting older and there is a lot of land that’s going to be available for rent or sale in the future.”

As far as making a go of it, financially, Gill said newcomers may want to consider entering share deals. “A lot of young guys I know have started over the years doing share cattle. It’s a good way to get a foot in the door. There are a lot of older ranchers that I talk to who want to meet someone younger with ambition and dedication to the industry.”

Larry and Janet Gill established Gill Red Angus in 1979 after raising sheep, commercial cattle, and milking cows for about 10 years. Now, Bryan and his wife Kristen and their three children, along with brother Brent and his wife Emily and their four children work together with Larry and Janet on the ranch.

Holt Cattle Company is appreciates the chance to give back to industry youth and to the BHSS.

Jordan, his wife Amanda and their daughters Haleigh (12) and Maggie (10) are regulars at the BHSS where both girls will show a bred heifer this week.

The heifer they chose to donate to the Cattlemen’s Family Legacy program is the daughter of a female they purchased from the DeJong family several years ago at BHSS, and is out of a home-raised Chi-Angus bull who has produced exception females for their program, said Holt. The quiet heifer is “broke and ready to go” and will be on display for a week starting Feb. 2, at the BHSS.

Holts raise and sell registered Simmental, Hereford, Chianina and Charolais bulls, steers and females.

The Holts utilize AI and embryo transfer extensively, said Jordan.

The family is excited to help a young cattle producer get started in the industry and is thankful that the BHSS is allowing them to take part in the program. “We think it (the BHSS) is an absolutely incredible event and we look forward to it every year,” he said.

Holt Cattle Company exhibited the Supreme Champion female, a Chi-bred heifer, at the BHSS in 2015.

“We love the opportunity to help the youth of the area,” he added.

“Whether it is through 4-H or FFA or a junior breed association, showing livestock is a great way develop youth,” said Holt. “I hope they stick with it. Youth is our number one resource in this industry.”

Schroeder can’t wait to get his new Red Angus heifer. “I’ll take her home and get her big enough to breed to a Red Angus bull, and I’ll try to sell bulls out of her.” What if she has heifer calves? “That will be good, too, I can keep on building my herd.”

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