Cattlemen’s Classic gives producers chance to shine
The 21st annual Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic is set to kick off on Feb. 20, at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds in Kearney, Neb. This event showcases Nebraska cattle and horse producers, and offers a variety of events for attendees to attend. The classic runs through Feb. 26.
“There is something for everyone at the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic, no matter how old you are,” said Ronette Heinrich, Manager for the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic.
On the first day, attendees can watch the ranch horse sort, team penning and speed penning during the day, and team roping in the evening.
On Feb. 21, 33 teams will be competing in the ranch horse competition. Seven dogs will also be competing in the dog trials and will be sold in a sale that evening.
On Feb. 22, exhibitors from the Hereford, polled Hereford and Red Angus breeds will showcase their cattle. That night, the Nebraska Beef Council, Whiskey Creek Steakhouse, Builders Warehouse and the Classic are teaming up to promote beef at Ladies Night. Attendees can enjoy the “Horse Races at the Classic,” which is new this year. The Beef-n-beer-n-wine Tasting Night will also take place.
On Feb. 23, Angus, Simmental and Charolais breeders will compete. This day will also feature the fancy pen of 3 heifer show and sale, and the Royal Ice Sale, where embryos will be sold.
Cattle Feeders and Veterinarians Day is also on this day, and Dr. Chris Calkins, Professor of Animal Science from the University of Nebraska will be speaking on “The Future of the Beef Industry” at 5:30 p.m.
On Feb. 24, Limousin, Gelbvieh, and Shorthorn breeders will show off their livestock, and the Commercial Man’s Pen of 5 heifer sale will take place. During the day, 60 third graders from Meadowlark Elementary will be attending the classic to learn more about the beef industry.
At 7:30 a.m. that day, the Cattle Feeders and Veterinarians Breakfast will take place at the Best Western Plus, where Kansas State University Agricultural Economist Ted Schroeder will speak on “Beef Demand – the Trump Card.” Bradley D. Lubben, Policy Specialist Director, North Central Risk Management Department Education Center of Agriculture Economics from the University of Nebraska will talk about “Policy Effecting Cattlemen Today” as well.
The Feb. 25 show will feature Maine Anjou/Maintainer and Chiangus/Chimaine breeders. The 4-H, FFA and college youth judging contest will also take place on this day, which is hosted by the University of Nebraska.
That evening, youth can compete in the Blow-n-Go Junior Showmanship contest. The Supreme Row Judging, which is the Grand Finale of the Classic, will also take place. All of the breed champions compete in this event. The Supreme Champion bull and heifer carries a prize of $2,500 to the consignor, and $1,000 to the buyer. Three judges will determine who the overall winner is.
On the final day of the Classic, Feb. 26, the junior shows will take place. Both breeding heifer and market heifers/steers can compete.
One part of the Classic that is unique is the Junior Heifer Award Program. Any junior that purchases a heifer during one of the sales is eligible, and they must compete in the Classic Junior Show.
The heifers can then be entered into a Junior National Show held in Nebraska, which this year will include Herefords, Shorthorns and Charolais. Heifers that compete at the Nebraska State Fair or AkSarBen (held in Omaha in September), are also eligible.
Any junior who meets the requirements and competes will receive $100 cash reward. If that heifer wins her class, the showman will receive $100 towards the purchase of another animal. If the heifer becomes a Junior National Champion, the showman will receive $250 towards a purchase.
‘It is very rewarding working with our youth, and creating opportunities and enthusiasm for our future leaders in the beef industry,” said Heinrich.
The show takes a lot of planning, and the majority of people who work the event are volunteers. “It takes a team to produce this show. We are proud to work with all the different Nebraska Breed Associations, and lots of volunteers . I work year round to coordinate the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic,” said Heinrich.
The show allows those who attend and compete a chance to meet other producers, and learn more about the beef industry.
“In my opinion, the best part of this show is the friendships that I have formed after 20 years of being a part of the event,” Heinrich said.
She continued, “This is Nebraska’s Livestock Showcase. It is great for the beef industry in the Midwest.”