There are no halters and no fitting chutes. Just pens of fat cattle straight from the feedyard, and a judge with an eye for beef carcass traits on the hoof and on the rail.
It’s Beef Empire Day in Garden City, Kan., and it’s a unique celebration of the cattle feeding industry in the state and throughout the Plains.
Beef Empire Days features many activities for families, but the one that’s most anticipated among the agricultural crowd is the Merck Animal Health Live Show. Cattle feedyards from around the region bring in selected pens of heifers and steers that they fed to finish weights for evaluation by Shane Bedwell, Live Show judge, and COO and director of breed improvement for the American Hereford Association.
Bedwell sorted 53 head of heifers and 99 head of steers to select the top 25 in each division.
In the heifer division:
1. Tag. 470. 1,404 pounds, fed by Irsik & Doll Feedyard, owned by Heritage Cattle
2. Tag 613. 1,344 pounds, fed by Brookover Feedyard, owned by Brookover Land Enterprises
3. Tag 471. 1,406 pounds, fed by Irsik & Doll Feedyard, owned by Russ Smith
4. Tag 604. 1,354 pounds, fed by HRC, owned by Schurrtop Angus and Charolais
5. Tag 622. 1,500 pounds, fed by Triangle H, owned by STP Cattle
In the steer division:
1. Tag 593. 536 pounds, fed by Lane County Feeders, owned by Foote Cattle Co.
2. Tag 555. 1,606 pounds, fed by Reeve Cattle Co., owned by Reeve Cattle Co.
3. Tag 621. 1,496 pounds, fed by HRC, owned by Schurrtop Angus and Charolais;
4. Tag 552. 1,628 pounds, fed by Reeve Cattle Co., owned by Reeve Cattle Co.
5. Tag 617. 1,522 pounds, fed by HRC, owned by Schurrtop Angus and Charolais
Once the cattle are evaluated on the hoof, they are loaded and hauled to a processing plant for the Carcass Contest, sponsored by Tyson.
This year, Irsik & Doll Feedyard, with Heritage Cattle Co., had the trifecta, according to Beef Empire Days (BED) coordinators. Irsik & Doll not only had the champion heifer in the Live Show, but that same heifer took champion in the Carcass Show. Irsik & Doll also garnered the award for the highest BED index of the heifer division, earning them the Earl C. Brookover Award for their efforts.
In the heifer division:
1. Tag 470. Fed by Irsik & Doll Feedyard, owned by Heritage Cattle
2. Tag 588. Fed by Kinsley Feeders, owned by Blattner Cattle
3. Tag 622. Fed by Triangle H, owned by STP Cattle
4. Tag 576. Fed by Sublette Feedyard, owned by Max Barkley
5. Tag 594. Fed by Sunbelt Feedyard, owned by Dale and Carol Voran
In the steer division;
1. Tag 558. Fed by Beef Belt LLC, owned by W6 Cattle
2. Tag 578. Fed by Turon Feedyard, owned by Kendall Williams
3. Tag 653. Fed by Triangle H, owned by Snake Creek Ranch
4. Tag 620. Fed by HRC, owned by Schurrtop Angus and Charolais
5. Tag 585. Fed by Kinsley Feeders, owned by Kinsley Feeders LLC
Cattle Working Contest
Of course, the cattle feeding industry is only as good as the people who work in its feedyards. The annual Beef Empire Days Cattle Working Contest, hosted by Finney County Feedyard, Garden City, evaluates feedyard intake crews on their cattle handling skills.
This year’s top three winners were:
1. Deseret Cattle Feeders
2. Finney County Feedyard
3. Centerfire Feedyard
The Beef Empire Days Committee supports area high school students pursuing agricultural fields of study with scholarships, supported by Animal Health International Inc. and Cobalt Cattle. This year’s recipients include: Korbin Clawson, Meade High School; Grace Dillinger, Hugoton High School; Brandon Springston, Garden City High School; Cassidy Paz, Hodgeman County High School and Kansas Connections Academy; Alexa Molina and Alec Walton, Stanton County High School; Ally Brennaman, Manhattan Virtual Academy; and Sage Waggoner, Ashland High School.
Beef Empire Days contributed to this article.