Kane Aegerter wins Champion Jr. Shorthorn Plus Heifer at NWSS
From under his cowboy hat, his intensity can be seen from the side of the ring as he sets up his heifer while keeping his eyes on the judge. This young showman is truly dedicated, and that dedication paid off at the 106th National Western Stock Show.
Kane Aegerter of Seward, Neb., claimed the honors of Champion Jr. Shorthorn Plus Heifer at the NWSS this year. His heifer, born in April of 2010, is named Sull Miss Direction. However, for Aegerter, this is no ordinary heifer.
In fact, he has won with her all over the country. She won the junior national show last year, which was held in Indianapolis. She was also the Supreme Champion at the Nebraska State Fair.
Half Angus and half Shorthorn, she has had great success in the Shorthorn Plus category. This category has really grown in the Shorthorn Association, and now a large percentage of the cattle that are registered are done so in this category.
The Aegerter’s have had her since she was a weanling, and have worked with her every day to make her into the champion that she is today.
“Well, it’s been a great experience for us. We had a great Plus heifer this year, and it’s been so much fun to show her. It’s sad to see her go, since this is her last show. It’s so much fun to have that time with my mom and my dad and it’s just a great experience,” Kane Aegerter said.
Even though this is his heifer’s last show, she will be staying at the ranch. She is due to calve at the end of February, and Kane hopes to get several calves out of her in the future.
“He’s had some real good luck this year, and she is a great heifer,” said his father, Jeff.
The son of parents who both showed cattle, Aegerter has been showing cattle since he was seven. He is now 12, and takes purebred Shorthorn and Shorthorn Plus heifers all over the country to compete. They travel every year to Denver, Louisville and Kansas City every year to compete, as well as for the National show, that is in a different venue every year.
“We feel very passionate about this industry. It teaches him a lot of responsibility. I am very proud of Kane for his success showing,” said his mother Darla Aegerter.
Showing Shorthorns is a family affair for the Aegerter family. Darla said, “It’s fun because it’s a family opportunity and we do it together as a family. It keeps us together and close. We work real hard at it,”
“We have a very unique opportunity. We have a young kid who runs with us and raises Shorthorns as well, so we all work together. We have some local, young Nebraska kids who help us as well. We have a young, little group that helps each other out,” Darla said.
Darla still shows cattle. She grew up showing Angus cattle and on a cow/calf operation, and now shows just Shorthorn cattle.
“It has been a very easy transition. Coming from an Angus, which is a bigger breed, to the Shorthorn breed, which is a smaller breed, has made the transition a lot easier. From a breed perspective, the Shorthorns are a more docile breed as well,” Darla said.
His family has 50 cows that are calving this year, where the majority of the calves being sold to others to be shown. They are sold all over the country.
They have a production sale in the fall. However, a majority of the cows are embryo transfer recipient.
“We have an extensive embryo transfer program. We are calving about 60 percent embryo transfer cattle right now, and 40 percent are the cows carrying their own calves,” Jeff Aegerter said.
He added, “We are able to duplicate the quality that we see in an individual in numbers with embryo transfer.”
Kane now has several heifers of his own that will calve this year, and those heifers will allow Kane to show in additional classes at the national level.
“We are really hoping to get into a bred and owned thing for Kane this year. The bred and owned at the junior national is a separate show,” Jeff Aegerter said.
The Shorthorn Plus category is a class that is growing rapidly in the Shorthorn business. “We are seeing some pretty good opportunities with the kind of cattle they are to help build the market. It has brought other people into the breed that aren’t really involved with the breed. They might not be a hardcore Shorthorn breeder, but they like what they see with the Shorthorn breed.” Jeff Aegerter said.