Learning to handle and show a beef animal in less than a half an hour would be a challenge for any person, let alone someone who has never been around livestock. That is exactly what several Colorado dignitaries did at the fourth annual Governor’s Beef Show this year, held on August 23 in Pueblo, Colo., during the Colorado State Fair.
Legislators and dignitaries were paired with state fair junior market beef exhibitors, and were shown the ropes on how to show a market beef. They then entered the arena to compete for the title, putting their newly learned skills to the test.
The show was won this year by the Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture, John Salazar. As the grand champion showman, Salazar and exhibitor Sydney Jackson of Alamosa County received a commemorative belt buckle.
“I am so proud to represent the San Luis Valley, especially with such a wonderful young lady who raised a beautiful steer and has done such a wonderful job. I have known the Jackson family for years and their family has been a vital part of agriculture production in the valley,” said Salazar. “Congratulations to Miss Jackson for what she does and her work. I am very proud of her, as I am sure her parents are too.
Salazar originates from the San Luis Valley, where his family has farmed for seven generations. He has served as the Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture for two years, as he was appointed by Governor John Hickenlooper in 2011.
The show is hosted by the Colorado Farm Bureau. Don Shawcroft, CFB President, judged the participants on how well they showed their market beef and their answers to a variety of questions.
“We are pleased with how the show went, and want to thank everyone who came out to watch the show,” Shawcroft said. “Congratulations to all of our participants, and especially to Commissioner Salazar for his excellent showmanship skills.”
Rene Brown, Colorado State Fair Foundation President, was named the reserve grand champion showman. This was her first year showing in the Governor’s Beef Show.
The following participants competed for the championship title: John Salazar, Commissioner of Colorado Agriculture; Ed Avalos, Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs for the USDA; Clint Corey, PRCA Bareback Bronc Rider; Rene Brown, Colorado State Fair Foundation President; Rep. Mark Ferrandino, Colorado Speaker of the House; Ginny Vietti, State Fair Board Member; Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg; Sen. Greg Brophy; Pam Simpson-Rose, Consul and Senior Trade Commissioner for the Canadian Consulate; Private Ziriko Yaca, Colorado National Guard.
The purpose of the show is two-fold, in that it introduces attendees to dignitaries and legislators, and it helps to teach the public about agriculture, as most of the questions that participants are asked are related to agriculture in the state.
Salazar stated, “This show is all about trying to keep young men and women involved in agriculture in Colorado. It shows the public the importance of agriculture, particularly the beef industry.”
He continued, “Only two percent of our population produces our food and are typically from rural areas, and 98 percent of consumers live in urban areas. I commend those who are working daily to produce the best and most abundant food supply. We truly have the most efficient and productive producers, especially in the state of Colorado.”
Shawcroft echoed the importance of agriculture to the state. “Agriculture is the lifeblood of Colorado, and Colorado Farm Bureau really enjoys being able to have the opportunity to help educate people about agriculture through events like the Governor’s Beef Show. Our member families work hard every day to produce food and fiber for consumers across the globe,” he stated.
The show also gives youth beef exhibitors not only the chance to meet with dignitaries, but to showcase their projects during the show. All of the market animals that were used for the show were provided by youth exhibitors who prepared the animals, and then worked with the beef show participants, showing them how to show.
The youth then entered the ring with the exhibitors, and instructed them throughout the show on how to show their animals. “We would like to give a special thank you to all of the youth who allowed us to use their beef animals during the show. We appreciate your help, and know that without your animals and your assistance with the participants, this show would not be possible,” said Shawcroft.
The event was considered a highlight of the state fair by many in attendance, as it was family friendly and connected state fair attendees with legislators and dignitaries. ❖