NJHA show: Nebraska’s other big red
Kearney- For those in Nebraska who have missed ‘seeing red’ on the field, Kearney, Nebraska had plenty of red June 3 – 5 when the Nebraska Junior Hereford Association (NJHA) held its annual show at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds. These ‘reds’ may have four legs and a tail, but if you are an ag producer in Nebraska, you know that the Hereford breed is what made Nebraska the Beef State and although not as common on the hills as Angus these days, they are making a comeback, and this show proved it.
“This is the first year for the NJHA show here in Kearney,” said Railen Ripp, president of the NJHA. She and her brother, Ralston, did not have far to bring their animals to show, as they call Kearney home. “In the past the show has always been in Broken Bow, but we have outgrown the facilities there….a nice dilemma to have.” The Buffalo Co. Fairgrounds allowed expansion, not only for the show, but for added display area for the association and a trade show for the sponsors, “which we never had space for at Broken Bow.”
Ripp is very familiar with the fairgrounds, not only because she lives here, but because her mother Ronette Heimlichs, is the executive director of the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic (NCC) which is held at the Buffalo Co. Fairgrounds every February. The NCC 2017 is scheduled for Feb. 18 – 26.
For the NJHA show, the cattle were checked in Friday, June 3. Two-hundred head of Herefords, both horned and polled were entered by 175 exhibitors from not only Nebraska, but also Kansas, Iowa, South Dakota, and Colorado. “We (horned and polled) formed one association several years ago, and it’s been good for all,” Ripp explained.
Saturday began bright and early at 8 o’clock with the speech contest for four divisions. Seniors are age 18 to 21, Intermediate -14 to 17, Juniors are 10 to 13 and Pee Wees are 7 to 9. The senior howmanship – fit & show was next, then the futurity show for steers and heifers followed by showmanship – blow & show for intermediate, juniors and pee wee divisions. After the show there was a fitting contest and the day concluded with the awards banquet then the NJHA membership meeting. The winners for not only the speech contest were announced at the banquet but the annual photo winners were announced. “We have a photo contest with the categories of Herefords, People with Herefords and Around the Farm, “Ripp explained.
Ripp had the confidence of her peers to be re-elected to another term as president at the NJHA meeting. She has been showing Herefords since age eight and this will be her last year in the NJHA as she is now 21. Ripp will be a senior at UNL in Lincoln this fall, majoring in Animal Science and Agri-Business. The new Nebraska Hereford Queen was also crowned at the banquet. 2015 queen, Mickayla Sheets crowned the 2016 queen, Whitney Steckel. Also at the banquet, Katie Nolles of Basset, retiring National Hereford Queen, thanked those in attendance for their support as she traveled the country as “an ambassador for the Hereford breed.”
Sunday the show continued with cow/calf pairs, bred and owned (B&O) Bulls, alternating with polled and horned B&O heifers, ending with a steer show.
Judges for the show were Scott Starr, Cedar Top Ranch, Stapleton, Nebraska Saturday, and Marcus Arnold judged the animals Sunday. Arnold, who has coached livestock judging at Butler College in El Dorado Kansas, for four years, said this was the first time he had judged the NJHA.
Announcer for the show was Scott McGee of Fairbury, with Linda Lewis keeping the stats. “We will gear up for the National show which will be held at Madison, Wisconsin the week of July 9 to 16. He went on to proudly note that the National Junior Hereford show is the largest Junior show of any breed.
Besides the national show in July, other dates on this year’s calendar for the NJHA and their parent association, the Nebraska Hereford Association include the Nebraska State Fair Hereford Show Thursday, Sept. 1. The annual Hereford tour will be in the Callaway, Broken Bow, and Taylor area Sept. 10,11.
For a complete recap of this year’s NJHA show go to http://www.nebraskaherefords.com/junior