Showing livestock gives experience

Crystal Mohrhauser

Crystal Mohrhauser

Show ring knowledge and responsibility are what SDSU students say they get out of showing their animals in competitions all over the United States.

Megan Bishop, a 20-year-old sophomore animal science major, started competing with her Southdown lambs as a young 4-H member in Rio, Wis.

She wanted to get more involved in the breeding aspect of showing livestock and has been successful in various competitions, including her most prestigious win in Louisville, Ky., where her entry received the title of champion ram at the North American International Livestock Exposition.

She credits most of her success to her hard work and dedication.

“I start working with them when they are weaned,” Bishop said. “It’s a daily chore; breaking them to lead, fitting them, prepping them for the show.”

Kelly Bruns, an animal science assistant professor at SDSU said she knows many students who either exhibit their own animals or work for someone else showing livestock.

“Some have had very good success selling their livestock to other breeders in the United States,” Bruns said.

Much like Bishop, Matt Odden of Ree Heights has been showing since he was a 4-H member. Odden, 22, and his two brothers still show Charolais and Red Angus cattle. At each cattle show, Odden enjoys meeting up with friends he has made along the show circuit. He finds his contacts to be a valuable asset in the industry.

“Students get to interact with breeders from across the country. They further develop their communication and personal skills,” Bruns said.

Odden, a senior range science major, hopes to utilize the contacts he’s gained in the show ring in his future job with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“You meet a lot of people that you would not have otherwise met,” Odden said.

By knowing how to meet people, as well as being able to handle the responsibility, Odden feels comfortable showing to promote his family’s product.

Steven Resler, 18, agrees with Odden. “By showing, it helps you advertise and get your name out. It shows how you progress.”

For Resler, an Owatonna, Minn., native majoring in agricultural business, showing animals is a family tradition. He has helped on the family’s Spotted and Duroc hog operation for as long as he can remember.

He enjoys the opportunity to compete against others. Yet, Resler’s main focus is returning to the family farm.

“It’s been in the family for over 60 years,” Resler said.

Resler hopes his experiences and work ethic will help prepare him to handle the business side, including the genetics, when he returns to the family operation.

“I’m here for a reason; the more I do, the more it will help me in the long run,” Resler said.

#1.885897:3890020245.jpg:meghanbishop.jpg:Meghan Bishop: