Youth beef, sheep, goat shows added to BHSS schedule
Cancellations of youth stock shows nationwide in 2020 and projected in 2021 due to COVID-19 leave a void for kids, with nowhere to showcase their hours of work and premium livestock.
In September, the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado announced their cancellation for January 2021, soon followed by NebraskaN in Grand Island, Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, Arizona National Livestock Show in Phoenix, and more.
The glimmer of hope, though, is that the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo will be hosting the second annual Show-Rite Youth Beef Show in 2021, with the addition of the first Show-Rite Youth Sheep and Goat Show.
Marketing and livestock director Amanda Kammerer, says the Black Hills Stock Show had been looking for an opportunity to host a youth show for years. The 4-H Youth Day, held consecutively for many years, gave kids the opportunity to sharpen their livestock judging skills. However, BHSS sought to add something more.
Relocating the 2020 BHSS Horse Sale from the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center to the James Kjerstad Events Center opened up the show ring in the Civic Center. This allowed the addition of the inaugural Show-Rite Youth Beef Show in January. “Last year, when the horse sale moved, we had those two empty days at the Civic Center, and that’s where we were able to open up some space and add the youth show to it,” says Kammerer.
When show cancellations seemed to be overwhelming, stock show families reached out to Kammerer to ask about options for an expanded winter show. In October, the BHSS board of directors decided to repeat last year’s beef show, plus goat and sheep shows. Kammerer says several families inquired about adding breeding heifer and fat steer classes, as well, but it will not be possible this year due to space constraints. It is, however, on the radar for future Black Hills Stock Shows.
Kammerer will rely on her experience with youth shows during the Central States Fair, along with guidance from expert show families to host their first goat and sheep youth shows. Despite inevitable obstacles, she is confident that this year’s Show-Rite Youth Livestock Shows will be a success. “From a competitor standpoint, I think we’re going to see an increase in numbers. We’re one of the only options, so I think it’ll drive the attendance up,” she says. Last year’s Show-Rite Youth Beef Show was an instant hit, with 100 competitors and over 180 head of beef through the show ring.
The entry deadline for the Youth Show, set in January, will help the producers project a number of contestants for efficiency in stalls, space, and time.
One youth is grateful for the opportunity to compete with his livestock. Sage Krebs, a sophomore at Gordon-Rushville High School in Nebraska, has been showing cattle for eight years, alongside his two sisters. In a typical year, the family enters their show cattle at Denver, Hereford Junior Nationals, Charolais Junior Nationals, Fort Worth, and more, attending dozens of shows.
“All the cancellations this year have really affected us. At Denver, we usually take multiple pens of Herefords, multiple pens of Charolais, and we’re not able to do that. Those were some of the big ones that we rely on income out of. Without those, it’s kind of hard to advertise or make any money. It’s been awkward not going anywhere,” Krebs says.
He remarks on the opportunity provided by BHSS, “It’s one of the very few that are not going to get cancelled. Opening up the sheep and goat, it’s an opportunity for other kids to show other breeds, where they had not been able to go anywhere… Obviously you can’t make up for hundreds of shows, but it can help make up for what we’ve missed and get some young cattle in the ring.”
Krebs’ sisters, Kashlyn (9) and Kinsleigh (10), showed in the youth beef show last year. “They liked it. They enjoyed being able to show both open and a junior show,” he says. All three siblings are preparing for their few upcoming shows this winter: the Kansas Beef Expo, followed by the Stock Show in Rapid City.
Showmanship and breeding heifers will show on Friday, Jan. 29, with steers on Saturday, Jan. 30. The following weekend, Saturday, Feb. 6 will see the sheep show, with goats on Sunday, Feb. 7. In a year full of uncertainty, the highly-anticipated BHSS Show-Rite Youth Livestock Show looks to be a much-needed relief for livestock show families in search of a place to compete.
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