They come from Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming to compete in National Western Stock Show’s longest running program of practical beef cattle management. In just over 70 years, the Catch-A-Calf Contest has awarded nearly 3,000 steers to 4-H members hailing from the western United States.
The program began in 1935 when 10 boys caught 10 sponsored calves. The contest quickly caught on, and the program grew to include 52 calves by 1942. Soon after World War II, the program settled at 40 calves per year.
The program is designed so successful participants catch a calf, feed it, and return with the animal one year later as a market steer. The market animals are judged on rate of gain, quality of fitting, and carcass quality. The exhibitor is judged on sponsor relations, showmanship, their record book, and a personal interview. None of this would be possible without the incredible sponsors who donate the money to purchase the group of steers from a regional cattle producer.
Using a formula, that takes into consideration all of the things the steer and showman are judged on, two are selected to sell in the prestigious National Western Stock Show Junior Livestock Auction.
At this time, applications are being accepted for the 2013-2014 Catch-A-Calf participants. You can locate the application online at http://www.nationalwestern.com/catch-a-calf/ Any questions regarding the program can be directed to the Superintendents – Erin Van Peer (303) 637-8109 or Molly Keil (970) 222-1728.