California teen takes grand champion steer title at National Western Stock Show |

California teen takes grand champion steer title at National Western Stock Show

DENVER – Sydney Schnoor didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, so she did a little of both after her 1,305-pound steer – called Bob – was named grand champion of the National Western Stock Show Market Beef Show Thursday afternoon.

And in a shocker, Dan Hoge of Blackhawk College in Kewanee, Ill., took the grand champion market heifer as his overall reserve grand champion. It was the first year heifers were exhibited at the show. She was exhibited by Bailey Core of Pleasantville, Iowa.

“The final decision was close, believe me it was close,” Hoge told a crowd of about 1,500 who attended this year’s selection, which saw Kyndal Reitzenstein of Kersey, Hannah Vickland of Longmont in the grand championship drive and Jayl Linn Lohr of Gill in the running for reserve champion.

Sydney, 13, of Chowchilla, Calif., said it was only the second time she brought a steer to Denver.

“I’ve shown steers since I was little, but this is the best steer I’ve ever had,” she said, noting a steer she had last year finished fourth in her class.

“Winning this was only my wildest dream, I can’t believe it,” Sydney said.

The win was also special for Core, 15, because she had sold the heifer to a friend, then decided to buy it back just before coming to Denver.

“I really didn’t know if I wanted to bring her here or keep her and make her a cow. I think I made the right decision,” she said. The sleek black heifer, which weighed 1,249 pounds, still looked small standing next to the steers in the show, but as Don Norgren of Platteville pointed out, “when you look at her standing by herself, she’s really solid.”

Hoge said judging at the National Western was “a thrill of a lifetime,” adding that while shows like the one in Fort Worth, Texas, are loaded with cattle “this is by far the best set of cattle I’ve ever evaluated in the 40 years I’ve been doing it.”

He said the 101 head he evaluated earlier in the day, including five heifers, were excellent.

“There were some classes that you could go three, four or even five deep that could have been used as champions,” Hoge said.

But then he paused, and explained what livestock shows like Denver and others are about.

“The one final thing I want to say about junior livestock shows is that we need to make sure we use the cattle to show off and develop our youth and not use the youth to show off and develop our cattle,” he said.

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