Grabbing a Mask and Showing Cattle

“Be stubborn about your goals and flexible about your methods.”

The goal was to give youth opportunities to show their cattle in the midst of the pandemic. In order to meet that goal, everyone had to be flexible and willing to do things a bit differently.

The North Carolina Junior Beef Roundup is an annual event that many cattle families look forward to. It is a tradition that centers around family, fun, and cattle. It is a time to catch up with old friends and show off prized cattle. It’s a place to where conversations revolve around the cattle industry and a great deal of time is spent clipping, washing, and preparing cattle for the show ring.

The North Carolina Junior Beef Roundup is a place for family, memories, cattle, and tradition.

Sometimes, in order to keep a tradition going, some changes need to be made. In this case it involved masks, a bit of distance, and some flexibility.

The 2020 Junior Beef Roundup was held August 7-9 in Fletcher at the NC Mountain State Fairgrounds (WNC Ag Center).  

Masks were required and provided to all exhibitors and social distancing practices were taken during the competition. There was also hand sanitizer available, hand washing stations, and entrance and exit only signs up. The show was live-streamed since the event was not open to the public.

The first day of the event consisted of check-in of cattle by officials and a veterinarian, livestock judging contest, and a committee meeting.  The livestock judging contest only consisted of cattle and included four classes, 1 set of questions and not oral reasons.

The next morning started at 7:30 am for steer weigh-in, followed by the skillathon contest at 8 am. At 9:30, a required exhibitor meeting was held to go over expectations and schedule. Following the exhibitor meeting, the breed heifer show began followed by the steer show. Breed classes included Angus, Shorthorn, Simmental, Percentage Simmental, Commercial, Gelbvieh, Limousin, Hereford, Red Angus, and All Other Breeds. To have a breed class, there had to be a minimum of 10 head of cattle from that breed represented. If there were not 10 head, then they were moved to the All Other Breeds class.

After a full day of showing, the exhibitors would be back the following day for a devotional service, showmanship classes, and select Supreme Champion and Top Five Overall Heifers in addition to the Top Five Cow/Calf Pairs.  

The competition also consisted of, digital graphic and photography contest, showmanship, and beef skillathon contest.

The entirety of the Junior Beef Roundup is about exploring the beef industry through testing knowledge of beef cattle, highlighting the quality of beef cattle, and emphasizing the passion that so many families have for the industry and showing cattle.

When preparing for a show, a good showman checks off a list of what they need for the ring.

  • Show stick
  • Halter
  • Show Shirt
  • Belt
  • Cattle Comb
  • Boots
  • Jeans

This year, they grabbed one additional accessory—a mask. If that was what allowed them to do what they love and show cattle, then they gladly reached for that mask.

The families who participated in the event were humbled and thankful to be given the opportunity. Charmae Kendall shared her gratitude for those who put the event on:

“Thanks to the crew who put the show on. They could have easily said they were not up for the COVID challenge. We are lucky as a state to have you!” Charmae said.

Other individuals were excited to be back in the show barn, spending time with their cattle and other “cattle people”.

The goal of so many in the livestock show world is simple—provide opportunities for youth to show, learn, and develop character. In COVID times, the goal has not changed. Our livestock community has remained flexible in their methods and are meeting goals and making sure the show goes on.

About Marisa Linton See

Marisa grew up showing and raising livestock in NC. She has shown animals at the N.C. State Fair for 15 years and is a past youth livestock scholarship recipient. She is an N.C. State University graduate, agricultural photographer and blogger.

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