Ryan Gilchrist’s sideline business of raising and showing steers has earned him a dandy paycheque.
His Shorthorn influenced steer won the grand champion carcass award at the Calgary Stampede steer show.
While the red roan stood middle of the class during the live show, once the hide was off, graders gave it the top quality award.
Gilchrist’s family farm is between Rimbey and Bluffton in central Alberta where they keep about 60 cows. For 25 years they raised purebred polled Herefords. A member of the junior program, he started showing Herefords at age five. He was also in 4-H for nine years.
Gilchrist’s day job at Rimbey is with ABS Global, a cattle genetics company, but any spare time is devoted to his show cattle business.
His Stampede champion was from a home-raised Shorthorn-Angus cow and Maine Anjou-Angus bull.
“I use only show calves I have raised,” he said.
He won reserve carcass in 2008 and started showing at the Stampede 10 years ago when he was 16.
He also sells show steers to 4-H members and one family has come for five years to help their children select club projects. Three out of the five years, the youngsters have won inter-club champion titles.
Gilchrist will start selecting show prospects at the end of summer when they weigh around 500 pounds and starts to eliminate them as the show season progresses.
It takes several months to prepare for the show season where he is busy every week with the cattle. Besides jackpot shows, he also takes several entries to Canadian Western Agribition prospect steer show and sale each year.
“You really have to like doing it. It is like hockey. You have to live it,” he said.
The champion steer had a score of AAA 90 marbling, a ribeye of 90 square centimetres, a Sterling Silver score of 82 and a carcass weight of 743 pounds. It earned Gilchrist $3,000, plus the value of the carcass.
The reserve champion came from the market heifer class entered by Kyle Mitchell of Airdrie. He received $2,000 plus the value of the carcass.
Will Harvie of Olds was third with a Hereford steer. He won $1,500 plus the value of the carcass.
In all, two Shorthorns and two Speckle Parks earned spots among this year’s overall top 10 results.
While the steer show dominates, a market heifer component has been growing at the Stampede show.
The first place market heifer was from Fraser’s Murray Grey of Ardrossan and second went to Victor Zuidhof of Lacombe.