Crawford, Nebraska, hosts bull, heifer show in the street

Buckles were awarded to Champion Overall Heifer Pen, Champion Bull Pen, and People’s Choice.

Cattle Call Winners:

Grand Champion Bull Pen: Kearns Cattle Co., Rushville

Reserve Champion Bull Pen: Vin-Mar Cattle Co., Gordon

Bull Calves People’s Choice: ZumBrunnen Ranch in Lusk, Wyoming

Grand Champion Overall Heifer Pen, Bobcat Angus, Galata, Montana

Reserve Grand Champion Overall Heifer Pen, Huntrod Red Angus, Harrison, Nebraska.

The Crawford Cattle Call has built to an event promoting agriculture and the town of Crawford, Nebraska. The Third Annual CCC lined the streets of Crawford last Saturday with pens of cattle, vendors and small businesses, and activities for families.

The event draws cattle from Nebraska and Wyoming primarily, though this year, there were cattle from Montana.

Ranchers exhibit pens of three head of bulls and bred heifers and heifer calves for competition. Other cattle are welcome to be on display. Cattle may not be clipped or fitted in order to qualify for judging.

“I’m on the Crawford Chamber [of Commerce] and we were looking at new activities to have in Crawford,” said Samantha Dyer, a lifelong Crawford resident and small business owner. “They have a Bull Bash in Valentine, Nebraska, right around Valentine’s Day. They also tried to do something in Rushville, Nebraska, on Main Street but just as cattle on display. In order to get people to actually come we decided to have a contest of some type. I had seen an ad for a commercial heifer pen show at The NILE. We knew we wanted something agriculture-based in Crawford, and we wanted it to be competitive, so when I saw that bred heifer ad, I knew that would be it.”

In its first year, CCC had 17 pens of cattle and only bred heifers judged. Other cattle were on display. Heifer calves were invited into the judging in the second year, and 27 pens stretched along Main Street. This year 41 pens featured judged heifer calves or bred heifers, and judged bull calves, as well as other cattle on exhibit..

“Some guys bring their actual herd bulls to have a display pen,” Dyer said. “We don’t allow clipping or fitting, but we had some we had clipped on for Rapid City [Black Hills Stock Show] we brought, but they didn’t compete.”

Belt buckles were awarded to the champion overall heifer pen chosen by the three judges, champion bull pen, also chosen by the judges, and people’s choice, voted on by exhibitors and agriculture vendors.

They also get premiums. “There was almost $4,000 that went back into the pot,” Dyer said. “It’s a neat event because the ranchers come in and visit all day long. It’s a fun day to get to see people we don’t often get to see through the year. I think the ranchers maybe enjoy that more than the actual contest.”

Jason ZumBrunnen, of ZumBrunnen Ranch in Lusk, Wyoming, brought three bull calves, three bred heifers, and a show pen of four heifers that will be in a sale next week, he said. His bull calves won People’s Choice.

“We’ve taken stuff there since they started, so all three years. The first year, we didn’t place, but last year, we got second in class for our bred heifers,” ZumBrunnen said. “This year, there were a lot more exhibitors, a lot of cattle, and some quality cattle. It’s nice to show off animals, and also nice to have a chance to make new contacts. You can maybe find other people that might be interested in your genetics. I’m always looking for new customers, so this gives us an opportunity to find some.”

Youth were invited to participate in a Beef Cook-Off this year with a $250 scholarship at stake. Jasmine Dyer won it with her beef salami.

“That’s something we hope we can grow. There were only two participants this year, but they had so much fun,” Samantha said. “They’re probably talking about it at school, so we hope to get a few more next year.”

Four decorated hay bales graced the street corners for a contest that included Wilbur the pig, a sunflower, a turkey, and JAC the cow, which was the winner. JAC was created by Crawford residents Julie Micheel, Alicia Robertson, and Charlee Ebmeier.

Varying vendors also lined sidewalks selling everything from agriculture insurance to jewelry and clothes. Free-will donations were accepted for plates of cookies and desserts to support 4-H clubs as well. A bounce house, petting zoo, pony rides, and corn pit with prizes were set up in an area for kids.

“I think the event is great for business downtown, especially the restaurants and bars; they were full all day,” Samantha said. “Plus, we had great weather. We’ve had three good years of weather. We said it’s not going to be like this every year, but if it’s bad, we figured that if Valentine could do theirs in February, we could do ours in November and get away with it.”

The community helped make the event possible, including Crawford’s fire truck which was driven around pens all day, filling water buckets.

“There were so many people who helped with it; tons of sponsors, there was over $6,000 worth of sponsorships, a ton of community people that helped and stepped in through the day, whether setting up or tearing down, especially FFA, 4-H and youth groups. They were exceptional,” Samantha said. “The people who allow us to use their equipment, the city who cleans up all the chips, all the trucks it takes to remove the chips, there are a ton of people that make it happen. It’s a whole community that helps pull it together.”

“We always like to promote ag, and it’s nice to get it in a town,” ZumBrunnen said. “People don’t always get to see some of that stuff, so they have an opportunity to walk around see what we do, how we treat our animals. I think it’s great.”