A bustling crowd filled the NRG Arena Sales Pavilion, Monday, March 5, to support exhibitors in the Junior Commercial Steer Feeding and Management Contest during the Junior Commercial Steer Sale. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ is the event these young cattle producers prepare for all year.
“This contest is extremely intense on the exhibitors,” said Chris Boleman, executive director of agricultural competitions and exhibits. “They know more about the cattle industry than any other young people in the state of Texas.”
Before the rattle of the auctioneer began, the eight contest finalists were announced. The top eight advance to the final interview round to compete for the grand prize of a 2018 Ford truck, a $1,000 cash award and a belt buckle, banner, and trophy.
“I wanted to improve my meat I.D. score, so I practiced every night for a month,” said Cassity Brown, 15, a Brazos County 4-H member and contest finalist. “This is my seventh year competing, and my first time in the top eight,” she said.
According to Cassity, to succeed in this contest, it is also important to have good steers, and keep up with the cattle industry by attending sales and talking with veterinarians.
All exhibitors raise a pen of three commercial steers for the contest, as well as compete in categories of interview skills, meat identification and a written test. However, only the steers that grade choice and above sell to the highest bidder during the Junior Commercial Steer Sale.
“I had all choice grade 2 steers this year,” Brown said, “and that was amazing!”
As the finalists celebrated with friends and family, the auction began. A full house boasted no shortage of bidders, who had been wined and dined with garlic shrimp and brisket at the Buyer’s Reception prior to the sale. Proceeds of the auction support the bright future of these young commercial steer exhibitors.