Junior Beef Roundup—An Event for All Ages

Junior Beef Roundup doesn’t have an age limit…well, okay, maybe technically it does, but that isn’t the point. If you step onto the NC State Fairgrounds and look around the cattle barn, you’ll quickly see that while only ages six to 21 (by Jan. 1) are allowed to show and compete, there are people at the event of all ages. Those attending the Junior Beef Roundup may vary in many different ways, but there is one thing they all have in common—a love for beef cattle.

Even though not everyone at the Junior Beef Roundup is able to show, they are still just as happy to be there to support the youth competing. They also lend a hand by washing cattle, scooping poop, taking photos, or feeding hungry stomachs (kids and cows). The Junior Beef Roundup is a time for friends and family to come together for a fun weekend.

For some, aging out of the competition, doesn’t prevent them from attending the event. Mary Dunn of Wayne County continues to attend despite aging out and just graduating college to support her younger brother, Daniel, and other friends. Mary misses showing, but still enjoys attending shows for the people, environment and culture. She also likes being able to help others.

“I miss showing cows, but it is fun to get other kids involved in showing. I really love to see how the things they learn showing helps to mold and shape them for their future,” said Mary.

During the Junior Beef Roundup, you could find Mary snapping photos of her brother and friends in the ring, catching up with others, and helping with the cattle.

Photo Mary Dunn took of her brother at the Junior Beef Roundup

The event started on Friday, May 31. Youth and their families arrived with their cattle to register for events and settle in. They also competed in livestock judging (cattle only). The next day started at 7:30 a.m. with steer weigh-in, followed by the Skillathon contest (a competition to test how much youth know about livestock) at 8 a.m. At 10 a.m., the Breed Heifer Show began. This show separates classes into breeds. The following breeds were represented: Piedmontese, Shorthorn, Simmental, Angus, Charolais, Commercial, Gelbvieh, Limousin, Hereford, Santa Gertrudis, Belted Galloway, Red Angus, and all other breeds. Upon the Heifer Breed show ending, the Steer Show took place to round up the day.

The final morning started early at 7:30 a.m. with a devotional service followed by showmanship classes. Showmanship classes were divided into the age categories of Pee-Wee, Senior, Intermediate, Junior, and Novice. The final show was cow/calf pairs and Supreme Champion Heifers.

Other contests that took place at the Junior Beef Roundup included a Beef Digital Graphic and Photography Contest. The goal of this section of the event is to allow youth to explore the area of marketing, an important step between producer and consumer. It also gives youth the opportunity to tap into their creative side.

An ice cream social hosted by the N.C. Junior Angus Association brought the whole event to a perfect ending. After all, what could be better than kids, cows, and ice cream?

Neither ice cream nor cattle have an age limit, and the Junior Beef Roundup is a perfect example of that fact.

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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