Brothers continue family tradition of showing animals at National Western
January 6, 2017
It's about competition for the Sidwell family, but that doesn't mean showing in 4-H is any less a team effort.
Jed, 14, and Cal, 10, will be showing lambs and cattle at the National Western Stock Show, keeping up the family tradition. Their parents, along with their grandparents and great-grandparents competed at the show that brings in young 4-Hers from across the country.
But that's what makes National Western exciting for the brothers. Having the top exhibitors from across the country makes the show even tougher than the already very competitive, high-quality State and Weld County fairs.
"When you walk in there, you know it's going to be fun, it's going to be tough," Jed said.
The brothers will both show lambs and each have a prospect steer. Cal will also show another steer. This will be Jed's fifth year showing, and Cal's second, but the two have never missed a show.
Since they were born, their parents, Casey and Cal, have taken them to the show. Their parents have never missed a show either. But having Jed and Cal show in 4-H is something Casey sees as really important.
"We're big believers in the value of 4-H," she said.
And the boys love doing it too. They know they need to put in a lot of work, but being able to perform well when showing is the big payoff.
Jed has made market at National Western all but one year, and two of those years he's been able to make the lamb and steer sale.
The brothers are competitive — as Casey said the whole family is — but they don't let that stop them from helping each other out.
"We're partners in everything," Cal said. "We practice on our own lambs, but we help each other."
Cal said he will help feed and take care of Jed's animals when Jed's at wrestling practice, and the pair will work with their animals together.
For Cal, he has a steer, Rooster, who he's trying to compete with again at National Western. But as most 4-Hers have each year, Rooster is the stubborn one of the pack.
And Cal's not the only one with a stubborn animal, Jed's Blackfaced lamb, Odell Beckham the Third, doesn't like to be guided.
"He's not real sociable. He wants to do his own thing, but I still like him," Jed said.
But it's the stubborn animals that take more work. And when they do well, it's all the more rewarding.
"It's good for them, they learn hard work and responsibility," Casey said.
And the boys know it too.
Even though school is back in session, and the boys still have wrestling practice in the evenings, they don't try and skim on their 4-H work.
And that's what they hope will get them to do well at National Western.
"You can't just show up. You have to put in the hours," Cal said. ❖