Horses kickoff the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic |

Horses kickoff the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic

Ranch horses in the arena for a meeting before competing.
Photo by Deanna Nelson-Licking |

Saddle and draft horses kicked off the opening weekend of the 27th annual Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic in Kearney, Neb. The NCC is a week-long show and sale of purebred cattle, ranch horses and a large trade show.

The Classic ran Feb. 17-25. The classic started Feb. 17 with a full day of saddle horse previews. The 15 horses were evaluated on conformation and they competed in a ranch horse versatility competition and a ranch horse competition. These competitions encompassed reining, cutting, taking a cow down the fence and roping. The afternoon also included a chance for the horses to showcase their team roping ability. The sale was held that evening.

Mark Wray of Ord, Neb., and Lisa Johnson of Broken Bow, Neb., were the judges for the day. The Hip O Ranch of North Platte, Neb., consigned a 6-year-old mare. She was shown by Darren Sellers of North Platte and won the ranch horse versatility competition and the title of Supreme Ranch Horse. The mare sold for $15,500 and was the high-selling horse. The Paxton Ranch of Tryon, Neb., consigned a 4-year-old gelding shown by Tyrel Licking of Thedford, Neb., which won the conformation award and was the high-selling gelding at $8,000.

Kyle Elwood of Lindsborg, Kan., was the sale auctioneer and Paul Cleveland of Keystone, Neb., announced the competitions. The 15 horses averaged $4,617, with three mares averaging $7,000 and 12 geldings averaging $4,021. This sale format offers potential buyers a chance to see the horses perform in various working situations and, new this year, the sale was condensed into one day instead the previous two-day format. The sale drew a good crowd which increased throughout the day.


Sunday morning was filled with demonstrations of working dogs and at 1 p.m. the classic hosted its second annual draft horse feed team race and show. A large crowd filled the stands to watch 23 teams of heavy horses and mules from four states including Iowa, Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska. All major breeds of draft horses were represented, including Shires, Belgians, Percherons, Clydesdales, Spotted Drafts and Haflingers. The light teams and mules raced in one class and the winner of that division was Adam Altmaier of Kearney with his team of Percheron mules.

The draft horse feed team race winner was Greg Kearns of Franktown, Colo., with a pair of Spotted Drafts. The feed team race is always a crowd pleaser as two teams run at a time, loading and unloading bales of hay and going around a barrel and cones, trying to stay in the set pattern. The show concluded with a working ranch class or rail class where the horses were judged on uniformity, harness and how well they drove and performed as a team. The winner of which was Bryan Olson of Hudson, Colo., driving a team of Percherons

Bob Haag of Indianola, Neb., announced the draft horse show and Bryan Holen of Bellevue, Neb., and Dick Pierce of Miller, Neb., coordinated and managed the event. The weather was beautiful and the opening weekend of the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic was a huge success. ❖

— Nelson-Licking is a freelance writer from the Nebraska Sandhills who uses her agricultural background to cover articles of interest to the agricultural community.


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