National Western Stock Show junior steer winner is a repeat champion
Lillie Skiles, 13, was nervous heading into the grand drive Jan. 18.
She was excited, no doubt, but she gets nervous showing. It didn’t show as she led her steer down the green carpet, along with the other 13 class champions at the National Western Stock Show, all hoping to be the one the judge points to in naming the grand champion.
Of the final 14, though, Skiles had more reason to be confident than the others, as the green carpet treatment wasn’t new to her. With the 14 winners lined up in two rows, the three judges walked around, reassessing the livestock and trying to decide which steer was the best.
And, just as they did last year, the judges picked Lillie’s steer as the grand champion.
Winning grand champion at any junior livestock show is the goal, but for steers at National Western, it can mean six figures. Lillie’s grand champion steer last year sold for $135,000.
The love for steers runs in the family, Skiles said. The Skiles family is from Hereford, Texas, where her mom is a teacher and her dad works at a feed yard.
Lillie said steers are special to her because of the atmosphere around showing.
“I like the excitement that goes on around everything, like in the barn or during the show,” she said.
The excitement of winning took a while to set in for Lillie, whose face lit up when she was selected, but the weight of the emotions came out once she was embraced by family and friends outside of the pen after Tommy Glover of Elgin, Okla., was named the reserve grand champion.
Once tears of joy started, Lillie had a hard time getting them to stop as she waited to take the traditional grand champion photo with her new purple banner, the judges and her family. And, of course, her champion steer.
While Skiles was more reserved, even in winning, during the final class champion selection, there was no hiding Sydney Wisnefski’s excitement. Her steer, Jose, just won class champion — and it wasn’t Wisnefski’s first win of the day. Just two classes before Wisnefski, of Coal City, Ill., was named champion, Wisnefski’s other steer, Brad, was named class champion, too.
This was Wisnefksi’s second — and last — year showing at the stock show. It’s the last year she’s eligible, and there wasn’t any question as to whether or not she’d compete this year.
Making sale was her goal, but taking first in two separate classes was an even bigger deal.
At the 2017 stock show, she took third in her class, falling behind two steers which ended up taking grand and reserve grand champion for market steer.
-Fox is a reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at (970) 392-4410, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twiter @FoxonaFarm.