Keep calm and show beef
4-H’er stays strong despite trials in ring
Weston Schroeder, 9, of Chase County loves making friends with other 4-H’ers at the spring beef show, but this year he learned an important showmanship lesson.
“No matter what happens, you just have to know to stay calm,” he said. “That’s the key.”
Schroeder was one of more than 35 4-H members competing at the Marion County Beef Show Saturday at the county fairgrounds in Hillsboro.
With a sense of determination in his stride, Schroeder took the leather halter and held his animal’s head high as they entered the ring. He knew one thing: he was going to do his best.
Schroeder started showing beef cattle last year, but didn’t prepare for it as well as he should have. He commented that it takes a lot of work and commitment to show beef cattle.
“You’ve got to be out there with them all the time — not just during show time,” he said.
For eight months, Schroeder has gone out to the barn every day — not just to water and feed his animals, but to spend some time in training with each one.
“I usually try to walk them around a bit, so they get used to the feel of the halter,” he said. “Then it’s not so much of a surprise.”
True to form, Schroeder’s heifer stood stock still outside the cattle show ring. There was just one problem: she didn’t want to walk.
“Sometimes she wants to move, other times she doesn’t,” he said. “Can’t help it.”
While in the ring, he also had some issues controlling his animal.
But, he had been trained to overcome these circumstances and he knew what to do: keep calm and get through it.
“I just couldn’t get her under control,” he said. “I lost her once, but not for long; she didn’t go too far. She was just getting tired of the ring.”
While the 4-H’er was able to get his animal under control, he struggled through it — and was only able to persevere by pure attitude.
“I just decided that I was going to finish the class,” he said.
Taking a deep breath each time she acted up, Schroeder leaned his bodyweight into the animal in order to get her moving in the right direction.
He said it took all of the strength he had in his arms to keep her head help up high.
Schroeder said he spent hours before the show getting his Simmental and Charolais crossbred cattle fitted for the show and was disappointed when he came in second during his novice showmanship class.
Judge Jeff Stump from Ill. said he was impressed with the quality of Schroeder’s cattle and hopes the difficulty he had in the ring doesn’t discourage him from showing.
“You have the makings of a great showman, right there,” he said, speaking of Schroeder. “A different day, with a different judge, there might have been a different result.
“But that’s just how I saw it today, with the animal he had.”