Eaton’s Alyssa DePorter wins grand champion in market beef show at Weld Fair
Judge Shane Bedwell paced slowly between the last remaining cattle, stopping occasionally to take a closer look at a potential grand champion.
He had narrowed it down to just a few that could take home the first-place title.
Bedwell was judging the Weld County Fair’s market beef show July 29, which had 86 entries.
After a short speech to the audience and a loud, heavy pause, he slapped the back of a fuzzy, tan cow named Touch Down, as he leaned over to shake hands with owner Alyssa DePorter.
As she pulled Touch Down out of the ring, DePorter was met with yells of congratulations, lots of handshakes and a hug from her excited younger sister. After all, she had just won the big one — the title everyone works toward. Grand champion is no joke. DePorter knows one thing is certain: She couldn’t have made it to this point without the help of her family and friends.
The 18-year-old Eaton resident is no stranger to the winner’s ring. She won the grand champion award in swine in 2009 when she was just 11, and last year one of her lambs won grand champion at the state fair.
“I love the livestock industry,” DePorter said. “It’s made me who I am.”
Julianne Fritz, the show’s superintendent, said that’s what the 4-H program does.
“We used to joke that we didn’t use kids to raise cattle; we used cattle to raise kids,” Fritz said.
She said as a 4-H leader she has seen the program teach a lot of kids important life lessons.
“The 4-H program really helps to raise good adults coming into this world,” Fritz said. “The life lessons that 4-H members learn — dedication, commitment, organization, business, public speaking.”
And, she said, the Weld County Fair is always a great example of those ideals.
“Showmanship starts long before they get in the ring,” she said. “I think there are three things that make a good animal: selection, a solid feed program and showmanship.”
Those three things, which take months of work and effort from each contestant, are reflected when they’re being judged in the ring.
“This really is the exclamation point to their projects,” Fritz said.
DePorter said that her younger siblings will also show eventually, though that’s a while down the road as the oldest is only 4. DePorter said she can’t wait to work with her siblings to show them all of the things she’s learned in the barn and in the ring.
“I’m very much looking forward to helping them,” she said. “They already love coming to watch me show and helping out in the barn.”
DePorter has one more year of showing left before she heads off to college — probably for animal science, she said.
Bedwell said it’s always a good show in Weld County and this year didn’t disappoint. He had plenty of solid animals to choose from this year.
Longmont’s Grant Vickland took home the reserve grand champion award.
“This is one of the best county fairs in the whole country,” Bedwell said. “I just think the way the cattle are presented would be as good as some of the state fairs.”
“We’re known as one of the top livestock producing counties in the nation and I think the Weld County show reflects that,” she said.
Bedwell said he always enjoys judging in Weld County.
“There are some great livestock minds here,” he said. “They know where to find the best of the best and they know how to feed them and get them ready. This show reflects that.” ❖
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