Have you ever been to a cattle show? Have you ever wondered what it takes to train a steer? Have you ever wondered how exhibitors prepare their animals for competition? A winning steer takes hours of patience, determination, respect for the animals, and impeccable animal husbandry – Come see what it’s all about Saturday, July 16 and on show day, Sunday July 17, from 1-5 p.m. in the Agrium Western Event Centre.
Youth from 9-21 years-old and their steers from across Canada come together to compete for some hefty scholarship dollars. In the past year the Junior Steer Classic through sponsorship has been able to increase the funds available to competitors. From the class winners, one will be crowned Grand Champion Steer and earn $12,000 in scholarships and $5,000 in prize money. The scholarship funds available extend past Grand and Reserve Champion and over $40,000 in scholarships are awarded to competing youth throughout the show. 2016 marks the 33rd Anniversary of the Junior Steer Classic.
Last years’ Grand Champion winner, Katie Serhienko will tell you that the scholarships funds won can be a game changer. Katie and her steer Vince, the 2015 Grand Champion winner took home a $10,000 scholarship. In 2016, Katie will complete her first year of Ag Business with a major in Marketing and Communications at Lakeland College. In the coming years she aspires to attend the University of Saskatchewan to finish her degree. Katie tell us, “ The scholarship money I won from Stampede is being put towards this education, and has made paying for school to be substantially less stressful for both my family and myself. I cannot thank the Calgary Stampede enough for the opportunities it has given me.”
Katie and Vince after winning Grand Champion in 2015 Calgary Stampede Junior Classic.
We asked Katie a few questions about what first time show-goers can expect:
Calgary Stampede: If someone has never been to a cattle show before, what would you tell them to expect?
Katie: Expect to see a lot of really good animals, and to see a lot of kids and parents that have spent long hours preparing their animals for the show. Also expect to feel a very excited energy throughout the barns and around the show ring.
CS: When watching a cattle show, what are some things to watch for?
K: Watching a cattle show and predicting what animals are going to win the class; and ultimately win the show, is something that can be lots of fun! If you watch the first few classes of a show, you can usually pick out what the judge is looking for in his ideal animal by looking at the type of animals that are winning the classes.
Also, when it is a junior show, there are always parents standing by the edge of the ring cheering their kids on. Watch for the proud looks on parents faces watching their kids do something they both love.
CS: How are steers scored?
K: Judges are usually looking for something slightly different in their ideal animal, which is what can make showing so exciting. Typically, judges are looking for an animal that is both long and deep sided, structurally sound, and wide when you view the animal from behind. Since it is a show, you also want the animal to have some style to it.
CS: What is your favourite memory of working with livestock?
K: I wouldn’t say I have a specific favorite memory of working with livestock. However, as my entire family is involved in showing, it is something that we can all do together. Nights spent in the barn working on the show cattle together are something that I will always cherish.
We wish Katie the best of luck with her education and are looking forward to meeting 2016’s new crop of competitors.
To check out the competition, see results of hard work and experience an authentic western show join us on July 17, 2016 for the 33rd Junior Steer Classic.