Wyo producers continue Stock Show tradition
Denver, Colo. – Wyoming producers exhibiting bulls in the Yards at the 2009 National Western Stock Show say the relationships developed during 10 days working in the Denver Union Stockyards are what make the show worth it.
“I enjoy the relationships and the people from across the nation that we only get to see once a year,” says Dudley Booth of the Douglas Booth Family Angus Ranch of Torrington. “We get to know the other Angus breeders and we get to see how ours look compared to the others’. We’ve got good friends here that we get to spend 10 days with, and that’s the cattle business. It’s about a relationship and we build our customer base through relationships.”
The Booth family has attended the Stock Show for the last 11 years consecutively, and off and on before that. “We bring the bulls here that we’ll take back to our sale. We bring them out to show other people and to develop a new market that we wouldn’t have around Torrington,” says Booth. “Plus, we can bring them out here and put them up against everybody else’s cattle and see how they compare.”
The fourth generation from Middleswarth Herefords of Torrington, Ashley Middleswarth and her sister Jessica Middleswarth, have traveled to the Stock Show every year since they were young. “Our family’s been coming to the Stock Show for about 50 years, and we always bring cattle to the Yards and we also show some up on the Hill in junior and open shows,” says Middleswarth of their involvement.
This marks the seventh year G Bar H Cattle Company out of Veteran has brought Angus bulls to the show. “By bringing cattle here we get to show other people our cattle who wouldn’t otherwise come to our place to look at them,” says Boone Herring of G Bar H. “The biggest challenge is the preparation work – getting the bulls to look the part. We’ve got to start with a good one, then feed it correctly and work on tone so they’re ready to look the part and be competitive on show day.”
To get everything prepared, Middleswarth says they’ll bring one person for every bull, or five to 10 people total, depending on their entries in both locations. “The first thing we’ve learned to do is pack for any weather,” she says. “That’s always the big thing. Some years it’s really hot and some years we’re shoveling snow out of the pens every day.”
She says they also have to make sure they have the manpower that will be able to handle the Stock Show. “There’s a lot of elements here at the Stock Show that you don’t see at other shows, so we’ve got to bring a crew that’s ready to handle it.”
“The hardest part about the Stock Show is the weather and the time commitment,” says Booth. “We never know what kind of weather we’ll get. Three days ago it was almost a blizzard and yesterday was really nice. Some years we’ve been down here and haven’t even brought cattle in because nobody’s looking because of 20 below temperatures. Showing in the yards, we never know what the weather environment will be.”
Of the time commitment, Booth says, “It takes a lot of time to get the cattle broke and clipped and brought down here for 10 or 11 days when we could be home.” The Booths rely on family and friends to look after the cattle at home while they’re showing.
“I’ve met a lot of people, even across breeds, that I now classify as my friends after meeting them down here at the show,” says Herring of his experience.
Middleswarth, also an ag teacher, says the Stock Show’s diversity is her favorite part. She brought students down mid-week and they were able to see horse, cattle and goat shows. “There are so many different breeds, and the best part of Stock Show is the diversity and the learning experience, not only within breed associations but across the livestock industry as a whole,” she says.
Christy Hemken is assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.