October 17, 2013
Exhibiting cattle takes time, preparation and dedication. For one local cattlewoman, her hard work was rewarded with the overall champion purebred Simmental female.
Emma Vickland, Longmont, Colo., has raised cattle her entire life. Her family raises nearly 100 head. "It took a lot of work and a lot of hope and effort from so many people. I have a lot of people to thank and wouldn't have ever dreamed of winning that title without the help of many amazing people who had mine and her best interest at heart," she said.
She continued, "The day I won with her will go down in history as one of my favorites. I've never won a show of that magnitude before. I've been showing since I was four and have always dreamed of winning a junior national show."
She credits her success to those who helped her, as well as the heifer, Roller Girl. "Actually winning one was so surreal. I just have ultimate gratitude to her for making it happen for me and all the people that it wouldn't have been possible without. Showing is about so much more than just winning. It's about hard work, commitment, family, God, a lot of hope, and with a little luck, you can accomplish things you never thought were possible," she explained.
In addition to Simmentals, they also raise Maine-Anjou, Charolais, Angus, Red Angus, Chianina, Hereford, Shorthorns and crossbreds. "My family and I raise a multitude of different breeds and Simmental is just one of them. Regardless of breed or color, we just like to have good cattle," she said.
They raise and purchase cattle to show. "We purchased her in the beginning of October 2012 from Ryan Johnson and the Werning family. She was very skinny when we first got her, but she was like a diamond in the rough. We knew with just a little work and a lot of hope she would eventually shine one day," she said.
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Vickland also placed in several contacts. She was 16th in Sales Talk, 12th in the judging contest and 13th overall in combined points throughout the week.
She is currently attending college, and has three years left to show in the junior's category. "I go to Redlands community college on a full ride livestock judging scholarship. I hope to double major in ag communications and animal science. I just hope to be involved with the cattle industry in some way, whether it's working for a breed association or ag communication and promotion company, as long as I can make a positive impact on people's lives and help make their agricultural successes as good as mine have been," she explained.
Vickland enjoys showing cattle for several reasons. "I love everything about show cattle. I was hooked forever the second I was tall enough to hold a calve's halter and hold a show stick. The sweat, tears, and blood, the hard work, the success, even the failures you learn something from. The connections you make, the life-long friends you make, are just a testament to how great the cattle industry is. I know, for one, that it's given me countless opportunities that I would have otherwise never gotten," she said.
She added, "My favorite part is spending time with my cattle and family, seeing your younger brothers and sisters learning from you and turn that into their own success stories, and seeing show heifers turn into great cows and produce progeny that can go on and be successful for your customers."
The American Junior Simmental Association (AJSA) National Classic was held July 8 through 13 at the Lancaster Events Center in Lincoln, Neb. A total of 375 AJSA members along with their 634 head of Simmental and Simmental-influenced cattle infiltrated the facilities for five days of learning, exposition, and friends.
Exhibitors gathered from 27 different states with the hopes of success in exhibition under judge Kyle Colyer of Bruneau, Idaho. Attendees competed in educational contests aimed at further developing communication skills, leadership, cattle knowledge, and passion for the industry.
Another young cattleman who found success was Chad Russell of Sugar City, Colo. Russell's Simmental-cross steer, Bernhardt Chopper 61 Z, was 18th overall market steer contest. He was also ninth in the Cattlemen's Quiz contest.
"My whole family has shown cattle before, so I was born into it. I joined 4-H, and then I joined FFA and do both now. I show both steer and heifers," said Russell.
In addition to the contests, Russell also participated in the mentor program, where he helped younger first-time attendees, and was on the Western U.S. fitting team.
"I really enjoy the experience and fitting. I also like meeting new people," he said.
Russell's family runs 50 head of Simmental and SimAngus cows, and produces both commercial and seedstock offspring. Russell has his own head of 10 cows, which are from old show heifers that he has shown. They use artificial insemination on their operation.
"Raising cattle has taught me about selling, and how to have good time management," he said.
This skill has come in handy, as Russell spends several hours each day walking, washing, blowing and fitting his cattle. "It's important to spend time with them and work with them every day. I spend at least a half hour per head each day," he said.
He is raising three steers, and will be taking them to his local county fair in Crowley County next month. He hopes to take them to state fair as well.
The AJSA is the official youth organization of the American Simmental Association; founded in 1975, the AJSA has more than 3,500 members. The AJSA strives to enhance youth potential for life success by instilling a comprehensive understanding of the beef industry while developing leadership, networking and communication skills.
The National Classic is the highlight of the AJSA summer events. It provides an opportunity for AJSA members to showcase their knowledge of the cattle industry and their cattle. Unlike any other beef breed national event, the AJSA National Classic requires exhibitors to participate in three of four educational competitions to be eligible to exhibit cattle. Competitions in public speaking, livestock judging, cattlemen's quiz, sales talk, and interview at the Classics is real-life experience to develop confidence and communication skills for our youth – the future of the Simmental industry.
Juniors from across the nation vie for top honors in the Top 20 of each of the contests and the esteemed Overall Top 20 of each age division (junior, intermediate, senior). For many, the National Classic is the ultimate summer vacation. Social events such as dinner, dances, baseball game and the banquet are highlights for both juniors and adults.
For more information on ASA summer Classics, please visit http://www.juniorsimmental.org. ❖