The beginning of a new year is upon us, and with that brings the excitement of the National Western Stock Show held annually in Denver, Colorado. This particular show is unlike any other, only comparable to the historic Chicago International that concluded its 75-year run in 1975.
The locations of both Chicago and the NWSS were selected because of the railways that run through the sites. Originally, trains were the main form of transportation to get your stock to the show, so it only made sense to build the facilities around them. Although the times and forms of transportation have changed, the main purpose of the stock show remains the same. Many ranchers and producers use the NWSS as a way to display and market their genetics while taking advantage of the thousands of local, national and international customers that make their way to the Front Range for the historic event.
The NWSS is also where the Limousin breed’s most prominent events are held. Breeders can attend the Annual Membership Meeting, consign to the National Sale and make purchases in the Genetics On Ice Auction to benefit the future of the North American Limousin Junior Association (NALJA).
The Corner Post Heifer is always the centerpiece of the annual fundraiser, and this year’s heifer has been donated by Wies Limousin Ranch of Missouri. The April heifer was shown alongside her dam at the All-American Limousin Futurity last summer, and she won her class at the North American International Livestock Expo (NAILE) in November. All funds generated by the Corner Post Heifer are used to help fund the National Junior Limousin Show and Congress as well as educating current and future NALJA members.
The Medal of Excellence (MOE) program comes full circle at the NWSS. A new year for the program is kicked off at Denver, and the awards for the previous show season are presented at the Annual Membership Banquet held during our time in Denver.
The NWSS is one of five Level I MOE shows that are major events for Limousin exhibitors. Year after year breeders bring out the best bulls and females to represent our breed at shows across the country. One thing that is important to remember is cattle that compete in the MOE program on all three levels are the cattle the public sees. There are many people who believe the show ring is a waste of time and resources, but I strongly disagree. What better way to advertise and promote your breeding program than by getting your cattle in front of other breeders and producers? The best place to do that is at a cattle show.
These animals compete for points during the calendar year by being exhibited at shows across the country. Each show’s level is determined by the number of head that participate. Therefore, the more cattle that show the more points are awarded. The ultimate goal is earning the prestige of becoming the year’s Gold Medal Bull or Female. Silver and Bronze awards are also given out to the second and third place animals in each division. Superior Dams and Sires are recognized through the MOE program as well. Each year NALF presents an award for the Gold Medal Dam and Sire based on the success each of those animals’ progeny has had throughout the year. Silver and bronze awards are also presented
The 2012 MOE year has been very competitive. We have seen close to 750 head competing at the various levels throughout the year. Some folks “chase the points” and exhibit at as many shows as they can. This dedication to the breed is crucial for its continued growth. They are working to promote Limousin in their own way. If you’ve flipped through an issue of Limousin World lately you would have to agree that these members are doing our breed justice with the quality of cattle they drag to shows.
What is even more impressive is that nearly half of the top 10 animals shown in three of the four MOE divisions are owned by our junior members. They are a passionate group of young people who are committed to the breed’s future.
Our current NALJA board wants nothing but the best for its junior members and because of that they are making great strides for next summer’s National Junior Limousin Show and Congress. The members of the board are working together to make a more relaxed schedule to allow exhibitors the chance to participate in all of the events and still be able to spend time with their cattle and families.
A formal show order was established for the regional shows to help them run more efficiently. The junior board also put together an education committee to create more educational experiences for the junior membership. These are just the initial steps in what is a bright future for our Limousin junior program.