Hereford show at National Western showcases the breed |

Hereford show at National Western showcases the breed

Grant Hirsche of Alberta, Canada, shows one of the Herefords from Nelson Hirsche Pure Breeds. The Hereford show offered an opportunity for breeders to make connections for their businesses.
Photo by Samantha Fox |

Being top in a class wasn’t as important during the Jan. 11 Hereford show as in other National Western Stock Show events.

It was definitely a bonus, but the exhibitors’ main goal was to show off their breed in hopes of making new connections and attracting customers. That’s a huge reason why a lot of these exhibitors make it a point to come to NWSS year after year.

There are many exhibitors who have attended and showed at National Western for years, and when Jason Hoffman’s oldest son shows in his first show next year he’ll be the sixth generation.

Hoffman had 23 Herefords in this year in hopes of continual promotion of his herd.

“It’s great people in the cattle industry, but there’s something even greater about Hereford people.” Brian McMahonof Ayr, Neb

“I do it for the promotion and competing against the nation’s best,” Hoffman said.

At his ranch, genetics and bull sales are the main focus, selling semen and embryos to Australia, Uruguay, Canada and South American countries.

But showing at National Western helps build that customer base.

“There’s long-term dividend for coming here,” he said.

Brian McMahon from Ayr, Neb., said National Western is an important show for any cattle breeder to attend since “all the premier breeds come.”

McMahon’s family got into the Hereford business about 70 years ago because of his dad, Stanley.

McMahon’s dad really liked the breed because of the fertility, the ease of working with them and because the cattle industry is really accepting of them.

McMahon said National Western is a must for his business.

“It’s the best way to reach out to fellow breeders and the commercial industry,” he said.

For McMahon, there was no questioning whether he’d continue to work with the Herefords. It’s not just the type of cattle that keeps McMahon’s interest. It’s the way the industry works.

“It’s still a people business,” he said. “That’s what’s really a draw. It’s great people in the cattle industry, but there’s something even greater about Hereford people.”

McMahon’s ranch focuses on commercial bulls with an artificial insemination and embryo program.

McMahon said the connections made at National Western help his business “tremendously,” and Hoffman said there’s a lot of people he gets to know over time at the show, so it’s an event both prioritize throughout the year.

The reputation from the stock show brings people from across the nation, and continuously can open up more and more connections for breeders. That’s a higher priority than winning, but winning even a class is a plus.

“Just being able to have success at National Western says a lot,” Hoffman said.

His family has had a number of successes over the years. His side of the family started exhibiting Herefords in the 1970s, but his wife, Caysee Orr Hoffman, can trace back her family’s involvement in National Western more than 100 years ago.

While his kids will begin next year with showing — they’ll have cattle and horses — they’re already getting exposure to the business side of exhibiting that not all 4-H or FFA kids do.

“(The Hereford show) is a great showcase for your (cattle’s) genetics,” Hoffman said.

— Fox is a reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at (970) 392-4410, or on Twitter @FoxonaFarm.

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