Lyman County Youth Wins Breeding Heifer


HURON, S.D. – During the 2020 Western Junior Livestock Show, Keeleigh Elwood became the recipient of a show heifer through South Dakota Farmers Union’s Build Your Own Herd contest.

“Raising and showing livestock through 4-H, develops youth who are responsible and are comfortable leading. Through this contest, Farmers Union is able to support tomorrow’s agriculture leaders,” says Doug Sombke, President of S.D. Farmers Union.

A panel of judges selected Elwood from a pool of candidates based on her application essay. Elwood is a member of the Lyman Longhorns 4-H Club. She was motivated to fill out the application because she was hoping for the opportunity to begin building a show herd.

“I am in love with showing,” says the 15-year-old Chamberlain high school sophomore. “I am a competitive person, so I love the competitive side of showing, all the people I get to meet and all the friends and memories I’ve made.”

For as long as she can remember, Elwood has been involved with her family’s Reliance Ranch. And when she turned 5, her grandparents, David and Brenda Reis helped her start her own herd.

“At age 5, they take us out into the herd and let us pick a heifer calf. It is our College Calf. As it grows up and becomes a cow, whatever money comes from its calves goes into a college fund they set up for us,” Elwood explains.

Like ranching, 4-H is also a family tradition explains Elwood. “My mom, showed in 4-H when she was younger and 4-H was something she continued with us.”

Over the last seven years, Elwood says in addition to 4-H being a fun activity, she’s gained life skills from showing livestock in 4-H. “I learned that what you put into life is what you get out of it. If I put a lot of time and effort into animals and work with them every day, I will get better results in the showring than if I only work with them once in a while.”

During the 2020 Western Junior Livestock Show, Keeleigh Elwood became the recipient of a breeding heifer through South Dakota Farmers Unionu2019s Build Your Own Herd contest. Photo courtesy SDFU

Elwood named her Maine-Chianina heifer, Babs. Babs was purchased by Farmers Union from the Beare family of Ree Height. Shortly after receiving Babs, Elwood competed with her at the Springs Showdown in Wessington Springs. Elwood and Babs received fourth place in her breed class.

–South Dakota Farmers Union