The Yak Pen Show, held in the Stockyards, took place today at the National Western Stock Show. Husband and wife duo, Scott and Michelle Steiner, evaluated the show. Former yak breeders, the Steiners evaluated each animal based on confirmation, quality and size while Wini Labrecque judged the animals' fiber.
The yak show has been a part of the NWSS since 1994. Though everyone looks forward to the show, yak exhibitors find a unique opportunity to create awareness around their breed.
As you walk through the Stockyards, a faint aroma of grilled meat surrounds you. When you arrive at rows 1700 and 1800, you discover why. Yak producers grill samples of yak meat as well as provide samples of jerky and summer sausage.
"When you tell someone about yak meat, you have to get them past the word yak," said Stephanie David, IYAK President.
The producers have found the best way to do this is to simply show consumers what they've been missing.
David said yak meat tends to be sweeter and leaner than traditional beef. However, the hardest part of selling the product is getting people past the unfamiliarity surrounding it. To do so, producers invite all visitors of the NWSS to try it out for themselves. In fact, they gain many repeat customers from the experience.
"We welcome everyone to taste the yak meat and see the products actually made from yak," David said.
No part of the yak is wasted and this holds true with the products on display at the NWSS. In addition to yak meat, producers also have fiber products available for sale. However, the greatest attraction of this section of the yards is Diego.
Diego is a family friendly yak who has been attending the NWSS for six years. Visitors of the stock show are able to pet Diego and take pictures with him.
Attendees may be drawn in by the smell of grilled meat and the ability to see and pet a live yak, but they stay because of the quality product and the fun, inviting environment the yak producers have created here at the NWSS.