Aspiring veterinarian | Youngster pockets $3,000 for his cow-calf pair in the junior competition
REGINA — This year’s Canadian Western Agribition could be a red letter event for two Saskatchewan young people.
Cousins Baxter Blair and Nolan Blair were named winners of the Canadian Junior Beef Extreme Nov. 29.
Baxter won grand champion with a red Angus cow-calf pair and pocketed a cheque for $3,000.
“It will go for my education,” said the 12-year-old, who wants to be a veterinarian. He lives at McLean, Sask., and his father, Craig, operates Double B Cattle Co.
The cow-calf pair was also the champion of the First Lady Classic and earned a berth at the RBC Supreme championship, which is held at the end of Agribition. It showed against seasoned adults parading 33 other females before the panel of five judges and made it to the Top 10.
Nolan earned $2,000 for his Black Angus entry at the youth show.
“This is probably the biggest show I ever won. Usually my brother wins,” he said.
He is a student at Lakeland College in Vermilion, Alta., and at age 20 he is winding up his career as a junior cattleman. His family owns Blairs West Land and Cattle Co. at Drake, Sask.
Levy Jackson, one of the junior show organizers, emphasized the importance of encouraging young people to enter junior beef shows and display independence.
Each entrant comes into the ring one by one with a show stick in one hand and a curry comb rammed into the back pocket. Some are as young as six and others are more seasoned teenagers who have been doing this most of their lives.
“The only way to get better is to give them the chance to do it,” Jackson said.
In the past, many children received more than a helping hand from adults to prepare cattle. He said their experience consisted of walking the animal into the ring.
“Parents are allowing their kids to take on more responsibility,” he said.
Judge Tyler Libke was also part of this show as a youngster.
“It’s not easy to get up early in the morning to get these cattle ready,” he said of the early morning start on the final Saturday.
“I grew up showing at this very show.”
He and his wife, Erin, are now part of Sunny Valley Simmentals at Hanley, Sask., where they are the third generation on the family farm.