Stockyards Arena is home to animals of all sizes, both big and small. This includes the National American Aberdeen Show.
Lydell Meier, Clinton, Tennessee, sorted the National Aberdeen show at the National Western Stock Show. Almost 60 cattle were shown today in the Stockyards Arena, and while quality ran deep through the entire show, the elite still found their way to the top.
Among those elite cattle was a bull raised by Archer Valley Ranch of Priest River, Idaho. Jeff and Ellen Archer exhibited their bull, AVR Dominator, this morning in the Aberdeen show. Just as his name suggests, he dominated the show as he was crowned Grand Champion Fullblood Bull.
However, AVR Dominator is no stranger to the winner's circle. The Archers have exhibited this bull seven times and he has been named grand champion six times and reserve champion once. Holding an already impressive record, the Archers were very excited to bring him to the NWSS this year.
Not only is he impressive phenotypically, but he boasts the numbers to back it up. AVR Dominator scanned a ribeye area of 18.43 inches. This is among the highest REAs ever recorded for fullblood Aberdeens.
The NWSS will be AVR Dominator's final show, but his legacy won't end here. The Archers are excited to get him back to Idaho and offer semen in hopes his offspring follow in his namesake.
This year at the National Western Stock Show, the American Highland Cattle Association held the 32nd Annual National Highland Show. However, the success of this event certainly didn't come without humble beginnings.
When the National Highland Show first came to the NWSS the show was held in the Stockyards. After being in the yards for a few years, Highlands were moved to the barn - literally. The first show on the hill for the National Highland Show happened in the barn, between the stalls.
"All breeds want to be on the hill, Highlands included," said Ginnah Moses, AHCA Operations Manager. "We all have to start somewhere and that was a great stepping stone to getting Highlands on the hill."
Over the years, Highland cattle have seen tremendous growth. From their beginning in the Stockyards to showing in Stadium Arena, Highland cattle have been making their climb up the hill here at NWSS.
The growth of the breed is especially evident in the results of their sale. Their sale average has climbed each year here at the stock show.
"We have had an especially strong sale the last several years," Moses said.
Moses attributes this success to the enthusiastic, progressive-minded chairs of the event. Additionally, the auctioneer for the sale is an international auctioneering champion. Moses also believes sales across the country have aided in the success of the sale at the NWSS.
"We're seeing a real boom in the southeast," Moses said. "We have a very active group of breeders down there who started a sale."
The north central region also holds a sale each year. Moses feels the good sales and shows members put on throughout the year give a real boost to the success at the NWSS.
The "Grand Ole Breed" has seen tremendous growth and even has members in each of the 50 states. The association looks forward to continued growth here at the NWSS as well.
As the infamous green carpet was rolled out for a final time at the 2020 National Western Stock Show, a range of emotions were in the air of Stadium Arena before selecting the Grand Champion Junior Market Steer.
Eighteen-year-old Ashtin Guyer from Flat Rock, Illinois, has exhibited steers for nine years at NWSS. As she stepped foot in the NWSS steer ring for the last time, she ended her journey at the show with the slap from three judges naming her steer the champion.
“Being my last time, it is bittersweet,” Guyer said with a grin. “But, this is just awesome.”
After her victory, Guyer was immediately embraced by family and friends. Overwhelmed with emotions, Guyer expressed her gratitude to all of the individuals who helped her achieve this goal.
“I am so thankful for my family and friends who have helped me along the way,” Guyer said. “Without them, I would not be who I am today.”
As she walked away from “the Hill” for the last time as an exhibitor, Guyer was honored to leave as a champion.
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.
Exhibiting market hogs at the National Western Stock Show has been a tradition for Alli Stromberger for the past six years. What makes this year different? She won.
Alli Stromberger, a 15-year-old sophomore in high school, hails from Iliff, Colorado. Alli began showing pigs eight years ago and has been exhibiting at the NWSS for six years.
"My family has a strong tradition of 4H and showing animals," Alli said. "I am honored to continue the tradition."
Though she always enjoys competing at the NWSS, this year was different. Not only was this Alli's first time winning the show, but it was also her first year making the sale.
Alli competed in the heavyweight crossbred division. After winning her division, she was named champion crossbred. This meant she would be competing for champion overall honors on the green carpet. Before the grand drive, Alli was filled with nerves and anticipation.
After all of the breed champions and reserves were paraded, the judge, Will Winter, took the microphone. Even after judging many major shows over the years, Winter said this was the best set of hogs he has judged to date.
Alli certainly didn't let those nerves get the best of her. Her hog was named Grand Champion at the 2020 NWSS.
"I'm at a loss for words," Alli said. "My early mornings and late nights have paid off."
After such an accomplishment, Alli was overcome with emotion. Surrounded by family and friends, she celebrated her victory.