February 12, 2020
The National Western Stock Show is one of the greatest traditions in the livestock industry and a 15 hour car ride allowed me time to reflect on the history of the show.
When you stop and think about it, Denver is such a unique experience no matter the reason you attend. For me personally, I had the chance to work on Hereford cattle in the yards for the second time, as well as put the coveted maroon jacket back on in the place where I received it at the Junior National Hereford Expo this past summer. Throughout the week and on the ride home reflecting on these things, it was easy to see what great opportunities had arisen to me and everyone else there that week.
As breeders, we got to see the BEST of the best in our breed. We saw what genetics could win in the showring and also what genetics we want to take home and use in our own herds. We, as breeders, were fortunate enough to make connections with new breeders, friends and customers, and catch up with lifelong friends that we only see when there is a cow show in town. Not to mention, we got to see the incredible generosity and support of the Hereford Youth Foundation of America (HYFA) and the National Junior Hereford Association (NJHA), with the Lot 1 Foundation Female truly being a staple of the Denver tradition.
Through all these opportunities, I continually try to remind myself to remember to take advantage of them. My piece of advice to junior members trying to improve themselves and their herds, is that you can’t get the 2020 National Western Stock Show back. Go up and shake the person’s hand that is looking at your calf and have a conversation with them, take notes on which pedigrees you like so you don’t forget when you get home (speaking from experience), talk to other breeders there that you admire and that you see as your definition of successful, and just give it your all in whatever you do while you’re there.
Take those things and apply it to every show you go to. No other industry can teach you what the people in this one can. They will help you get better as a person, a breeder and as a professional. When you’re at any national show, especially the National Western, there are so many unique, tremendous, once in a lifetime opportunities waiting for you to take advantage of and grow from. So, the only thing left to think about is…how can you take advantage?