DENVER, Colo. — When nine-year-old Hadley Hartman entered the show ring with ponytail swinging and a big smile, few probably realized this little girl was leading out champions.
Showing against dozens of adults at the National Western Stock Show’s Red Angus event in Denver, Colorado, Jan. 13, Hadley’s three entries were named grand champion and reserve champion females as a well as calf champion.
During the junior heifer event the day before she won grand champion with the same bred heifer named EDG Finley 3121 against about 100 entrants. The reserve was Smoky Y Gisele 1900G and the calf champion was Top Line Red Princess 9060.
A Grade 3 student who is active in sports and the cattle business, she got off to an early start in the show ring.
Too young for 4-H, she started showing through the North American Junior Red Angus Event because organizers were willing to take preschoolers, said her father, Mike Hartman.
“I was four at my first show. It was my birthday,” she said.
Her family bought Red Angus because they sell Simmental breeding stock and show cattle and did not want to compete against potential customers. The Angus are in Hadley’s name, and she now has a small herd of five.
Working with her grandmother, Kay Hartman, on the ranch at Tecumseh, Nebraska, she works with the cattle every day after school.
“We practice every night at the barn and that’s how I learned,” she said.
Added Kay: “She does pretty good for a nine-year-old.”
Four generations of the Hartman family have been involved in the cattle business, owning a variety of breeds. Kay’s father was head of the American Shorthorn Association for 32 years.
The family of Mike and Kay, Dalton and Jill and their three children have become active with the North American Junior Red Angus Event. Through this annual event, Hadley has made friends from across the country.
The event started 15 years ago and has about 300 members. Youngsters can learn to show, market, groom, take on public speaking and win scholarships. The events are divided into peewee, junior, intermediate and senior categories. Hadley is still a peewee member.
This year it will held at Madison, Wisconsin, at the end of June.
The goal is to bring families together for fun and education, said organizer Cheryl Johnson.
“It is all about networking,” she said.
“Anything we can do to put a positive spin on agriculture is always a good thing. You don’t have to show cattle. We are making events for families.”
Results from Denver
The National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado, started Jan. 11 and ends Jan. 26.
- Grand champion bull: Rojas TR Chivas 17109 from Thomas Ranch, Harrold, South Dakota
- Reserve: MCKY 8731 from L83 Ranch, Westhope, North Dakota
- Six Mile Red Angus had a first place heifer calf and won champion spring bull calf with a youngster named Six Mile Glory Road 675G. The family also had a first place May heifer calf.
- Dave Bablitz of Rainbow Red Angus, Cherhill, Alta., also had a first place February heifer calf.