Steer Show ‘promotes involvement’ with cattle, agriculture

Katrina Sargent

Katrina Sargent

On Feb. 23-24, the Swiftel Center hosted an unusual crowd. The Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR) Presidential Steer and Heifer Classic and the Block and Bridle Club’s SDSU Jackrabbit Classic drew 230 head of cattle to Brookings.

The weekend of combined steer and heifer shows is a nine-year tradition, according to Garrett Davis, a sophomore animal science major and member of AGR.

Both groups reported record numbers of entrants.

“It was probably the best one number wise,” said Davis.

“It is a very good show with a lot of quality animals,” Kelli Rastede, a junior agronomy major, said.

The AGR Presidential Classic, held on Feb. 23, brought in 130 heifers and steers, and the Jackrabbit Classic, on Feb. 24, had 134 entrants.

Each show is run independently in its own way. The prizes and methods of separating the cattle are some of the ways the shows vary.

Altogether, the shows cost each group around $5,000, including prize money, advertising and renting out the Swiftel Center.

“Its great that AGR and Block and Bridle can do something like this,” said Amanda Nolz, a sophomore agricultural journalism major. “There is a really good turnout. It is very competitive. People really brought their best, so that makes it fun.”

The AGR Presidential Classic drew contestants in the five-state area from places like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado and Iowa.

Registration and check-in for the AGR Presidential Classic began on the evening of Feb. 22 and ended the morning of Feb. 23. The steers were put in groups based on weight and the heifers were separated by breed and age.

The show began at 12 p.m. and lasted about four hours, according to Davis. The prizes ranged from $1,000 for the champion steer to $375 for the reserve grand champion heifer.

The show is important because AGR gets its name out, and since it is an agricultural fraternity, its members have a chance to show, said Davis. It is also good for Brookings because it attracts visitors for the weekend.

“It’s growing in popularity. This is one of the shows people plan on attending each year,” said Davis.

Next year AGR hopes to pay more in prizes and add more divisions to the competition.

The Block and Bridle club had a slightly different set up and system for the SDSU Jackrabbit Classic.

The classic attracted contestants from surrounding states as well as places like Michigan, Illinois and Indiana.

The Block and Bridle club separated the steers on the basis of their hip height and divided the heifers based on their ages. Each class had a winner who went on to the overall competition, said Cam Christensen, a co-chair of the event and member of the SDSU Block and Bridle club.

“The steer show promotes youth involvement with cattle showing and agriculture,” said Christensen.

According to Christensen, this was the first year the club had outside help with fundraising. They received $1,000 from the Brookings Chamber of Commerce this year. Christensen estimated that $3,000-$4,000 was given out in prize money to competitors. The prizes for the Jackrabbit Classic ranged from $1,000 for the grand champion heifer to $500 each for the reserve grand champion heifer and steer.

“This show is a great way for the club to be represented to younger exhibitors who want to get involved,” said Christensen.

“It promises to get bigger every year,” said Davis.