Roggen’s Huwa family celebrates strong showing at National Western Stock Show
For more information about the National Western Stock Show or to see what’s coming up, visit http://www.nationalwestern.com.
Denver — Tonya Huwa walked back to the steer pens with tears in her eyes Jan. 21 — tears of joy, tears of pride and mostly tears of relief.
Her son, Austin Huwa, 14, had just won the grand champion award in the eighth class of the junior market steers show at the National Western Stock Show.
“This is a big deal right here,” Tonya Huwa said. “There are so many good steers here. To win a competition like this — it doesn’t happen every day.”
Earlier in the day, another of her five children, Trey Huwa, 11, won the reserve grand champion, or second place in his class. Both boys fell short of overall top honors at the junior market steer show, with the overall grand champion going to Macey Goretska of Corydon, Iowa, and overall reserve grand champion going to Jagger Horn of Anson, Texas.
It’s a lot of work to raise the steers, and the Huwas work really hard at it. Huwa patriarch, Brent, said it’s a family event.
Still, when Roggen’s Huwa family packs up to head to the National Western Stock Show every year, they know they’re heading toward some stiff competition.
Keith Maxey, director of Weld County extension, said the Huwas are not alone in their feelings.
“National Western is a well established show that every year attracts kids from all over the nation. It’s the cream of the crop,” Maxey said. “To win this show is not only an honor, but a challenge.”
Still, every year, Weld County sends kids who place in the tops of their categories, though they might not always win the overall champion award.
“If you place in the top two of these 14 classes, you’re doing well,” Maxey said. “Obviously, (Weld) can’t always win the grand champion award, but the kids compete very well.”
There were about a dozen kids representing Weld County on Thursday, Maxey said, all of whom put a ton of work into their animals.
“It’s fun to show but it’s a lot of work behind the scenes,” he said. “They have to pick a good steer to start with, you have to feed them right so they grow right, and of course you have to work with them in the barn.”
Austin Huwa followed about five minutes behind his mother to the pens after he showed Thursday afternoon. He was trailing her because he was stopped so many times on his way from the showing ring to the stalls so everyone could get in their congratulatory handshakes.
He said it was exciting to win his class. He, too, noted how tough the competition is.
But he raised a good steer, and Austin said he was happy and excited to win the title in his class.
“The judge liked how he had big shoulders and big feet and a lot of bone,” Austin explained.
Austin said he was confident going into the evening competition, where the overall grand champion would be chosen. His brother, Trey, who got the reserve title in the Class 6 competition, joined him in the ring.
While their oldest brother, Cody, 17, didn’t quite make the cut for the late competition, he said a win in the family is a win for him.
“I enjoy helping my little siblings from my past experiences — good and bad,” he said. “We all work together. It doesn’t matter who wins between us because we’re all part of a team.”
Cody said it’s about working together because those early mornings in the barn are tough alone.
The three Huwa brothers all show steers, and their sister Kylie, 16, shows pigs. Their youngest sister, Brealynn, 6, was there for support, but she’s too young to show anything yet.
While neither of the Huwa brothers placed in the final competition, grand champion and reserve grand champion awards in their classes are both great prizes to take back to Roggen.
Tonya Huwa said she’s happy her kids are involved in showing livestock. It teaches them life lessons — like winning and losing.
“I think it’s good for the kids,” she said. “You put in all the work but sometimes you might not win. It’s just part of the competition.”
She said she’s pleased with how they handle their losses, and the how they earn their wins.
“I’m just proud of my kids,” she said. “They work hard at this and they do well.” ❖
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