Calgary — Just like the cowboys who hold on to a bucking bronc for dear life, the team cattle penning riders who bullet into a herd to cut out a cow and the sheep shearers who clip against the clock, the participants in the International Youth Livestock Supreme Championship and Scholarships thrive on the competition.
After all, there’s more than $70,000 in scholarships and cash awards for the taking, and it’s up to the competitors to get their name to the top of the list. Take Megan McLeod of Cochrane, Alta.: she’s been competing in the event since she was seven, and has the winnings to prove it.
“I am competitive at heart, so I really appreciate that aspect of it. And we do five different competitions: cattle confirmation, showmanship, grooming, multispecies judging and marketing,” said McLeod, 21, who has been showing livestock at the Stampede for 14 years. (Her first two outings involved showing sheep, as there was a rule that you had to be nine to show cattle.)
A solid chunk of McLeod’s tuition at the University of Saskatchewan has been paid for with her scholarship and cash winnings. She’s entering her fourth year of business studies, with a major in marketing. Her honours project will focus on international marketing in agriculture, a field she’s gained valuable experience in by showing cattle.
“We use the shows as a marketing tool. It’s a way to get our genetics out there. From a competitive side of things, it showcases that our genetics are very competitive and they showcase these traits. We are very proud of our genetics and we want to highlight them not only to other breeders, but to the general public as well.”
She comes by her cow sense honestly: there are 150 head of purebred Charolais at home and the family business includes the renowned Balzac Meats. Her brother Colby won the UFA Steer Classic at the Stampede in 2009; she matched his accomplishment in 2014. This year, McLeod was particularly proud of her cow-calf pair. The two-year-old cow is deep-bodied with impressive heft and its January calf is well-matched in terms of build, creating a uniform pair.
McLeod made it to the Championship round, but it wasn’t her year. Laurie Morasch, also a longtime Stampede competitor, was named Supreme Champion in the Purebred Beef Female for her black Angus cow-calf pair.
“I’ve been competing at the Stampede since 2012 and this is definitely my best showing,” said an ecstatic Morasch shortly after being awarded her win in the Agrium Western Event Centre on Sunday afternoon. “I will be back next year, for sure.”
The 19-year-old from Bassano, Alta. is putting her winnings towards her studies in animal science at Lakeland College. This year, 55 scholarships adding up to more than $70,000 were awarded in the International Youth Livestock Supreme Championship and Scholarships. The event for youth aged nine through 21 is a unique partnership between the Stampede and Olds Regional Exhibition, with the support of Alberta 4-H and Alberta Junior Beef Breed Associations. From July 10 to 14, Summer Synergy — a large, integrated event with approximately 1,700 participants — took place at Olds Regional Exhibition. Approximately 250 competitors from across Western Canada showcased their stewardship skills in sheep, dairy cattle, light horse and beef as a qualifier to compete at the Stampede.
On Sunday, class winners at the Stampede advanced to the Supreme Championship final. Other results include:
· Supreme Champion Commercial Beef Female: Bailey Wauters, of Wrentham, Alta. with a MaineTainer
· Supreme Mature Ewe: Jaxson Peltzer of Rosemary, Alta.
· Herdsman Awards: junior – Kasey Adams; intermediate – Kyle Yaremko of St. Paul, Alta.; senior – Tell Calvert.
For full results of the International Youth Livestock Supreme Championship and Scholarships, please visit https://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 promotes western heritage and values. All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.
See more at calgarystampede.com