Record turnout at annual cattle show brings in local, national showmen


Samantha Richert, Reporter (She/Her)

The college-run Jackrabbit Memorial Jackpot Show had its largest turnout this past weekend, hosting a variety of cattle showmen.

The Jackrabbit Memorial Cattle Show is put on by the Block and Bridle Club and Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity members. The event is held at the fairgrounds in Sioux Falls.

The show was at a record high for animal entries with 206 heifers and 121 steers. This is about 125 more cattle than last year’s show.

“People are so excited to pack up and show what they have been working on,” Brian Fox, one of the show’s judges, said. “They are going to come out and do what they are comfortable doing.”

He also says that he thinks COVID-19 has brought together showmen now more than ever.

More and more shows are being canceled these days and limit how much showmen can get their animals out in the ring. They are willing to do anything and to work harder to ensure their time in the ring is a success.

“[Showmen] haven’t gotten to go to as many shows as you have in past years. You learn to make do with what you have,” Aiden Hiniker, an exhibitor at the show, said.

Lynsey Schmitz, another exhibitor, added that she and others work hard at every show because they never know if it’s their last.

“You do what you have to do to show,” she said.

Block and Bridle Club President Sammi Schrag said the exhibitors were great about following the COVID-19 safety guidelines that were put into place by the committee and wore masks without a problem.

The show’s committee followed a JacksRBack plan, which included guidelines like wearing masks in the ring and holding areas, making hand sanitizer available and using wristbands to make sure exhibitors were in the right places.

“They did a great job for a bunch of college kids putting on a show,” Fox said. “An awesome job getting everything set up.”

Having exhibitors from multiple states, the quality of animals that the exhibitors brought to the show was also at its best.

“It was deep in every division. All breeds were really, really good,” Fox said. “Top five was exceptional. I think they could go on and be tough all year.”

Even with COVID-19, showmen were eager to get into the ring, and the Jackrabbit Memorial was a great opportunity for many showmen to present their animals in a safe way and to continue to bring people together.

“It has shown the stability of the industry,” Schrag said. “People want to be involved in agriculture. They want to be showing cattle.”