As a spectator approaches the Hereford Female Show at the National Western, they’ll likely notice that most showmen match their heifers. Sporting red vests in the show ring has become the norm for Hereford exhibitors in major open shows across the country, and serves as a unifying standard for exhibitors young and old.
“Showmen have probably been wearing red vests for nearly twenty years now,” says Amy Cowan, Director of Youth Activities for the American Hereford Association. “It’s become a trademark.” The day when a young Hereford enthusiast gets their first red vest is an important milestone, likely the first of many memorable experiences in the show ring.
Eighteen-year-old Kaylyn Bauer of Bonfield, Illinois began showing Herefords at age seven, and remembers the special feeling of getting her first red vest. “My dad and two older brothers each had their own vests, and the day eventually came for me to get mine,” said Bauer. “I had been watching my older brothers show since I was three, it was so exciting when it was finally my turn.”
Whether an exhibitor is entering the show ring for the first time or the hundredth, the red vest they wear serves as a reminder that they are all a part of something incredibly special. For a young Hereford showman, it’s more than just a vest – it’s an exciting new beginning.