Ward Cockburn says attending the National Western Stock Show is about promotion more than winning ribbons
DENVER, Colo. — Pretty show heifers come and go, but that broody heifer in the pen may be the mother of the next grand champion.
That is the opinion of Ward Cockburn, who showed his Red Angus females and a bull at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado, Jan. 14.
Entering the prestigious show is a major commitment for breeders like Cockburn, who left his Briercrest, Sask., ranch a week before the Jan. 12-27 event.
Travelling with his friend, Shane Kaufman of Ceylon, Sask., the event is an important promotion tool and is not necessarily about hauling home satin ribbons.
“We are raising heifers that we show sometimes,” he said after the Red Angus show, where he earned a first place spot with a heifer named Red Cockburn Abigail 8003 and second place with a January bull calf.
“It is promotion of our herd. We are trying to raise the ones that will go out and work.”
He has sold semen to American interests, and his bulls, named Red Cockburn Conquer and Red Cockburn Assassin, had progeny at this year’s event and were shown by American exhibitors.
“The more our name appears the better,” he said.
An international event like the stock show, with more than 20 beef breeds, is an education. Different types of cattle suited to different climates are on display, offering something for everybody, which Cockburn sees as a good thing.
His family has been in the red business for 26 years, raising about 150 purebreds and 350 commercial cows. A bull sale is held at the end of March, and he attributes his presence at Denver with some of last year’s success when his high seller went to North Carolina. His class winners will be offered for sale this year.
He and his wife, Brittany, offered 45 Red Angus bulls and a few Simmentals with sales partners Merit Cattle of Radville, Sask., which offered 50 Black Angus bulls. They also held their first female sale last fall with Southview Angus.
The family chose Red Angus because they believe the breed is versatile and crosses well with other breeds.
“It is the only breed, in our opinion,” he said.
- Grand champion bull: Damar Mimi E381, Cloud 9 Cattle Company LLC, Emerald, Wisconsin
- Reserve: KJHT Power Take Off, L83 Ranch, Westhope, North Dakota
- Grand champion female: Damar Barcelona, Morley Griffith of Shawnee, Oklahoma
- Reserve: Roja Moonbeam 194W 7102, Hunter Anderson, Plum Creek Angus, Algona, Iowa