Katelyn Brownd, 15, began her Saturday just like many other entrants in the youth breeding beef heifer competition of the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show.
The Canyon High School sophomore spent hours grooming a somewhat sulky, snow-white Charolais heifer — a 2-year-old named Hot Chick — for her afternoon turn in the show.
Katelyn left Fort Worth early Sunday morning with a grand champion rosette, about $550 in prize money. It was her best finish yet.
Unlike steer and barrow youth shows where the prize animal goes to market and its young owner collects what can be a six-figure deposit into a college fund, heifers live to show — and breed — another day.
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About 2,500 youth competitors are showing heifers in 15 breed categories in the show, which wraps up Monday.
“With the junior steer and barrow shows, it’s a more immediate payoff, but with the heifers, it’s a more deferred, long-term payoff,” said Matt Brockman, Stock Show information director. “The payoff comes in six months, and six years.”
For the youth heifer crowd, the winter Stock Show circuit is a patchwork of school days, travel days and days at show. The Brownd family returned from a Denver show early last week.
“We got [home] late Monday, and the county show was on a Tuesday,” said Katelyn’s mother, Luanne Brownd. “She went to school, showed in the county show that afternoon and got grand champion heifer.”
Plans call for Hot Chick to show on Feb. 13 and 14 in San Antonio’s stock show. “We are entered in Houston, Austin and San Angelo, too,” Luanne said.
“The cool thing about Texas is the number of junior contestants that are involved,” Luanne added. “It’s always difficult to get about 2,000 cattle in a barn.”
Parents praise the rewards beyond ribbons.
“I think what it does is, we all have to help,” Luanne said while she and family friend Mark Dorsey supervised grooming. “She has to step up and be responsible.
“Her heifer is bred, so we’re excited to start raising the next generation due in the spring.”
Katelyn, who has shown horses and livestock since she was 8, is not one to talk much, but she admitted that the grueling schedule has taken a toll on her classwork.
“I probably should study more on the road,” she said. “I’m a little behind at school.”
She will make a return trip from her West Texas home later this week to show a steer. But “I like showing heifers because I’ve done it longer,” Katelyn said. “Sometimes [Hot Chick] can be pretty mean, depending on her mood.”
With that, Hot Chick began scratching her stomach with a hind leg, a sign of bovine pregnancy discomfort.
“I had shown heifers when I was young,” Luanne said. “I think it’s a shorter route [to success]. We will have offspring to show and sell. Our goal is for her to start her own herd.”
Luanne’s father, James Waldrop of Crockett, still has some purebred Simmental cattle in his herd dating back to Luanne’s show heifers, she said.
“It’s an investment,” she said. “You want to start with the best genetics you can afford.”
Katelyn will have a choice of having a pure Charolais herd or developing a strong crossbred herd.
Luanne’s older daughter also showed heifers, and the girls did goat tying and barrel racing.
Gerald Young of Katy, the Charolais breed judge, outlined Hot Chick’s show ring attributes after the awards ceremony.
“She was the most complete, from head, neck, body depth,” Young said. “It all flowed together. She has a lot of femininity about her, and is super structurally sound.”