New BHSS youth beef show draws widespread attention
The stock show always has a bustling atmosphere with a variety of events catered to everyone from horsemen to cattlewomen, and artists to clinicians. A new event taking place for the first time this year was developed to emphasize a very special group of beef showers- the youth.
The Show Rite Youth Beef Show will be taking place in Rushmore Hall at the civic center at 11 a.m. on Feb. 1. The show is open to youth ages 8-21, and there is a payout for the top 5 for both heifers and steers.
The youth show was possible this year because the horse sale was moved to the Central States Fairground, which opened the space in Rushmore Hall.
Many competitors at the BHSS have been faithfully showing for years. It holds a special place in their hearts. For Chip Huckfeldt, it’s been a staple to his family, and they’re excited to have the opportunity to exhibit at a new youth show.
“We need something in this area this time of year. All the kids have young and hairy calves, and the more you get them out the better they’ll be in the end. Anything I can do to support it, I’m there. I’ve been wanting this for quite a while.”
Chip and his wife, Della, along with their daughters Casey and Sydney, operate Huckfeldt Cattle Company near Gering, Nebraska. They raise registered Shorthorns and registered Angus. They’ve earned a Reserve Champion Market Beef title, and a Champion Division Market Steer at the Nebraska State Fair in the last few years. Chip’s grandpa and dad both showed cattle, and now Casey and Sydney are following in the family footsteps. Sydney, a freshman at Gering High School, will have both a market steer and heifer at the Show Rite Youth Beef Show. Huckfeldt also helps other ranches with the other shows, and Casey, now in college, attends to help fit the cattle.
“The Black Hills Stock Show has always been near and dear to my heart, and it’s great people to work with,” Huckfeldt said. “Ron (Jeffries) and Amanda (Kammerer) bend over backwards to make sure we’re taken care of as a show family.”
BHSS is a true family event. Huckfeldt’s cousin, Bob Mills, has been in the showing world for as long as he can remember, and recalls the first time he attended the BHSS he was around 10 years old. His grandpa, Joe Huckfeldt, showed ‘from the very beginning of the Black Hills Stock Show.’
“My daughter Bailie showed in junior nationals and a lot of big shows, and a lot of county shows. Anywhere we had the opportunity to show at the time. Chip would help, and then his daughters got to showing so I’m repaying all those years. It’s not really repayment, because I enjoy it so much. It’s fun, I just get to go clip and he’s the one that’s all nervous now, not me.”
Mills is a member of the BHSS Livestock Committee and was honored with the Silver Spur award in 2017. He gives most of the credit of the new youth show to Amanda Kammerer, the Livestock and Marketing Director.
“This has been something she’s always pushed for, and rightfully so. We had a very nice facility (open) when they moved the horse sale out to the fairgrounds, so it was the perfect opportunity to have a youth show and get the youth more involved. These kids will bring cattle back to the actual stock show when they’re older,” Mills said.
Mills believes the youth that compete will even be able to find another calf they like and buy it, then show it at the Central States Fair and the following year’s BHSS, giving them a chance to compete against each other and the ability to exhibit what they can do with what they’ve purchased.
Interest in the new youth show has been far and wide. “There’s been a ton of interest because there’s a lot of sponsorship behind it already. I take my hat off to the people that have stepped up for the first year and said, ‘we’ll kick in some money.’ It’s great for Rapid City to bring people in. There’s going to be a lot of cattle just out of the Gordon and Gering area. Chip has pushed it hard and been great about promoting it,” Mills said. Huckfeldt was able to recruit many eastern Nebraska showers to compete in the youth show.
“It’s very important to recognize everyone, from the people helping in the ring to the judges to the people financially behind it. No matter the outcome of this year, we need to look at making it bigger and better next year,” Mills finished.
Kammerer has been pushing to have a youth show for the five years she’s held her position and was finally able to make it a reality.
“I knew if we wanted this to be a big thing, we had to put the money behind it. We had to go out and work for sponsors, and the easy part was that it included the BHSS and youth, so it was appetizing for sponsors to put money up for it,” Kammerer said. The largest sponsors for the show are Show Rite, Black Hills Roxor, Chadron State College, and Sullivan Supply.
Kammerer said they’ve had interest from numerous states. So far, the entries sit around 30, but registration will remain open until 10 a.m. the morning of the show. She’s expecting this to be larger than any of the breed shows and says they may need to find more space next year if all goes as forecasted.
The Show Rite Youth Beef Show is an opportunity for young showers across the upper Midwest to demonstrate their ability. The advantages are mutual, as Kammerer discusses the benefits for the growth of the BHSS. “A big way to grow the stock show is through the youth. Nobody really decides to start showing at age 35 or 40, so why not? If we can get kids in here as youth, we’ll have a better retention rate as they get older. We need them to stay on as future consigners for the breed shows later in the week. It’s presenting an opportunity for them.”
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