Tis the season for winter calf shows and bull sales.
High-school basketball season is in full swing, and that means plenty of bleacher time as my family watches my sister Kaley play ball. Our family is pretty big into sports; we love going to games and cheering on the Mitchell High School Kernels. We are lucky to have Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU) in town, as well, and after chores are done, you might find us watching a college game or two that DWU hosts at the local Mitchell Corn Palace.
Equally as fun as our addiction to basketball is our love of cattle shows and sales. With the Sioux Empire Farm Show, Black Hills Stock Show and National Western Stock Show just around the corner, we are busy making plans to attend the shows and getting bulls ready to consign in the sales.
We spent Christmas afternoon clipping steers and heifers to take to the Davison County Calf Show held in my hometown on Friday; just as soon as we get home, we will switch gears and start clipping and picturing bulls for sale season.
I truly think shows and sales are the “sports” of the beef industry. Soon, my mailbox will be stuffed with sale catalogs and advertisements, and my calendar will be loaded with auctions and shows to attend. Every purebred breeder has a different tactic for getting customers in the stands on sale day, and every advertising house has its own unique approach for building campaigns to showcase their breeder clients’ sale offerings. By the time bull sale season is over, I’ve got stacks of fliers and catalogs on my coffee table, and I always keep the best ones for inspiration when I build our own advertisements for our family’s operation.
There’s nothing like taking in a cattle show and sale, where you can meet up with old friends from across the country, view great-quality cattle, and take a break from the monotony of chores at home. I also think it’s a great way to compare notes with fellow breeders and see how our cattle stack up to the competition. For me, it’s a great motivator to keep improving our cowherd and never grow complacent.
When I talk to folks outside of the beef industry, I always compare this time of year to basketball season. Whether it’s a ball game or a cattle show, it’s certainly a fun time of year.
What are your thoughts on this topic? What sports teams are you watching this time of year, and which cattle shows are you prepping to compete in?