Young people know they have hit the big time when they step into the show ring at the Calgary Stampede.
A premier junior steer show and a week-long competition in a youth event called Summer Synergy exposes hundreds of youngsters to education, showmanship and large cash prizes.
This year, 12-year-old Tommy Glover from Elgin, Oklahoma, won grand champion steer at the July 18 show with his 4-H project. He earned $12,000 in scholarship money and $5,000 cash.
This was his first trip to Canada, and he heaved a big sigh when he realized the silver-blue steer he named Spook was not returning home with him.
“We needed to take the steer somewhere, and this was the best option,” he said.
The steer automatically becomes the property of the Stampede, and it was auctioned off for $21,000 to support the Stampede Foundation to fund future scholarships and youth programs.
Reserve champion steer was the entry of Toby Noble of Lloydminster. That win earned him $8,000 in scholarship funds and $3,000 in cash. It was auctioned off for $5,000.
The next four top animals were each awarded $3,000 in scholarships and $1,000 cash. Additional money was offered for individual class winners.
Standing next to the champions in the third to sixth place were Katie Serhienko of Maymont, Sask., Dakota Townsend of Sylvan Lake, Alta., Emily Geisel of Estevan, Sask., and Maguire Blair of Drake, Sask.
The Synergy event, which was held in conjunction with the Olds Agriculture Society in Olds, Alta., had record entries this year with more than 700 animals entered and 357 youths from Quebec to British Columbia. Winners go to the Stampede for a supreme show at the end of the week.
The supreme champion purebred beef animal was led out by Wacey Townsend of Sylvan Lake, Alta., with a two-year-old black Simmental cow with calf at side. He also earned $3,000 in scholarships through the Synergy program.
His family has a purebred Angus herd, but he and his sister, Dakota, have branched out on their own to raise Simmental under their own name, Rock Star Cattle.
“Dakota and I are taking Simmentals more seriously,” said the 17-year-old, who has decided to make livestock his career as a sixth generation stockman.
“We wanted something different with new genetics.”
The family also has llamas and miniature donkeys, and Wacey has his own Boer goat business. He has about 100 goats and sells the meat into the Calgary market year round.
The commercial supreme beef award went to Matthew Edwards of Carbon, Alta., with a Simmental influenced heifer.
The Alberta 4-H provincial sheep show is held in conjunction with Summer Synergy. The supreme sheep was the entry of Cassidy Wise of the Irricana 4-H club.
The Canadian Charolais Youth Association held its annual gathering in conjunction with Summer Synergy. The grand champion female went to Megan McLeod of Cochrane, Alta. The champion bull calf was awarded to Shae-lynn Evans of Kenaston, Sask. She recently returned from the Australian National Charolais Show, where she was awarded the showmanship championship.