Calgary – Stories abound about a boy and his dog, but when was the last time you heard a tale about a girl and her steer?
Well, the real-life story of Lilly Howell and W.D. involves lots of hard work, quality time together and a storybook finish as the duo earned third place in their class in the 33rd annual Junior Steer Classic at the Calgary Stampede Sunday. The pair took home $250 in scholarship and $300 in cash for their placement.
“My best friend. A nice guy. He sometimes gets moody, but not often,” is how the 10-year-old from Penhold, Alta. described her black Angus buddy, her BFF since last fall. “I like spending time in the barn and with my animals and outside.”
It’s a sentiment echoed in the stories of many of the 68 competitors in the annual event. In 2015, the Calgary Stampede refreshed its steer classic show to be entirely oriented to youth competitors aged nine to 21 as part of the Stampede’s commitment to developing the next generation of agriculture advocates.
And there are some hefty payoffs for all the work that goes into showing an animal. Twelve-year-old Tommy Glover received $12,000 in scholarship funds and $5,000 cash for the Grand Champion title, showing his cross-breed steer Spook in Class 7. Reserve Grand Champion Toby Noble of Lloydminster, Alta. took home $8,000 and $3,000, respectively.
Spook is a real show-stopper, a striking grey-black mix that is the result of his heritage of short horn, Maine Anjou and Chianina, an Italian breed of cattle.
“He’s real sweet, but he does get worked up sometimes,” said Tommy, who made the trip from Elgin, Okla. with his parents and sister to show at the Stampede. “He’s pretty good everywhere. There’s not really anything wrong with him structurally. He’s real complete.”
Tommy, who has been showing cattle since he was six, said he will put the money towards college and “projects.” (That’s rancher-speak for more cattle.) It was Tommy’s first time to Canada and the family was pleasantly overwhelmed with their reception.
“From the moment we got here, it’s been very welcoming. People are really friendly. It’s a great show,” Tommy’s dad Dustin Glover said.
It was Lilly’s first time showing at the Stampede, too, but she’s been coming since she was a babe in arms. Her mom, Sara, and dad, Dusty, run the family’s Fairland Cattle Co. operation and won the Reserve Champion steer in 2010. Generations on both sides of the family have shown at the Stampede, as well. But there was no pressure that comes along with that heritage. Sara’s advice to Lilly on competing in the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth?
“Just have fun.”
For full results from the Junior Steer Classic, please visit http://ag.calgarystampede.com/results
About the Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede celebrates the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of the west. The Calgary Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through our world-renowned 10-day Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. Exemplifying the theme We’re Greatest Together; we are a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and celebrates our western heritage, cultures and community spirit. All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.
See more at calgarystampede.com