Good lookin’ ladies on exhibit at BHSS |

Good lookin’ ladies on exhibit at BHSS

The 2016 Grand Champion Commercial Heifer Show winner is Aaron Lau (accepting the jacket), Corsica, S.D., pictured with judges and sponsors and his wife Kathy (to his left). Photo courtesy BHSS.
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The Black Hills Stock Show is all about livestock, and one of the many events during the show is the Commercial Heifer Show.

Scheduled for Sunday, January 29 at 9 am, the Bohringer Ingelheim Commercial Heifer Show is a competition for commercial cattlemen. Ranchers enter a pen of five heifer calves that are judged according to structural correctness, uniformity and conformation. Heifers are placed in three divisions: lightweight, medium weight and heavy weight, and prizes are awarded to champions in each division, plus the grand champion, who is selected from the three division champs.

The show was the brainchild of South Dakota rancher Jerry Hammerquist and fellow ranchers, who were looking for a way to showcase cattle about 25 years ago. The Stock Show attracted potential buyers, and they wanted their cattle in front of them. “We thought it was a chance to show our cattle and hopefully the buyers would respond,” Hammerquist said.

Heifers entered in the show cannot be fitted, washed or groomed, and ranchers must have pre-registered by Jan. 10. The show usually attracts a couple dozen exhibitors, and it used to require sale of the heifers, but no longer. “We used to sell them, but (ranchers) didn’t like to pick out their five best and sell them, so we quit doing that.” The cattle aren’t broke; they are run into the show ring, as three judges give them marks, not knowing who the cattle belong to.

Aaron Lau, from Corsica, S.D. won grand champion honors last year. His Angus heifers won him the use of a one-year lease on a stock trailer, and, for him, it’s a no-brainer to bring cattle for the commercial heifer show. “We were going to the Stock Show anyways, and there’s not a lot of work involved with it,” Lau said.

He has entered heifers in the show for the past six years, he estimates, and he likes it. “I enjoy seeing how my cattle compare against somebody else’s. I take a lot of pride in my cattle, and I’m always trying to improve them.” The show also includes a steak and eggs breakfast for exhibitors and spectators. “They serve a super breakfast, and that in itself is worth going for.”

Hammerquist has brought a pen of heifers every year he’s had heifers to bring, and he believes in the show. “It showcases each person that comes,” he said. “That was our intention (when the show was started.)” Exhibitors come from a five-state area, and the cattle are a good fit for the region’s ranchers. “The cattle are really similar in style.”

This year’s grand champion will win a one-year lease on a Big Bend stock trailer, which Lau has his eye on. He’s won his weight class three times, and will return the 2016 trailer, “and hopefully win the next trailer.”

Weigh-in for the Commercial Heifer Show is on Jan. 29 from 8-9 am. Breakfast begins at 10 am, and the show starts at 11 am.

Only 2016 born heifer calves are accepted, and entries must be home-raised, with a certificate of veterinary inspection, verifying pregnancy status, official calf-hood, vaccination for brucellosis, and presence of brucellosis tattoo. Health papers are required. Registration papers will not be allowed. For more information, visit the Black Hills Stock Show website.

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