Producer’s passion for cattle means planning for two jobs

At 22, Nikki Ross of Innisfail, Alta., is a seasoned cattle producer. | Barbara Duckworth photo

A young veteran of the livestock show circuit puts herself through hair stylist school but isn’t giving up on the show ring

REGINA — Nikki Ross feels like a veteran at 22.

Active on the show circuit from the time she was old enough to hold a halter, she continues to make time for cattle.

Ross is among that group of younger-than-30 beef enthusiasts who realize agriculture may be part of the future but often have to be supported with a day job.

She won the Canadian Western Agribition junior beef supreme with an Angus female when she was 10 years old and won a large scholarship. By competing at other cattle events like Summer Synergy at Olds, Alta., she was able to save enough money to support herself at hair stylist school in Red Deer.

“The junior program here has really evolved. I think they are all building to make them better. The scholarships are great for everyone who wants to go to school,” Ross said.

Based at Innisfail, Alta., she will be qualified as a stylist in February but is already planning to schedule her work life around her show life to attend the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, Agribition and the National Western Stock Show at Denver.

“Showing cows is something I did my entire life. It is just natural to me,” she said.

Before she decided to return to school, she worked for Cattlevids, which is connected with the online auction service DLMS. She travelled extensively throughout Western Canada producing videos of cattle for sales.

When it comes to grooming people or cattle, she is ready for both.

“I like both. You can go all over to fit cattle. I worked in Texas for shows down there but with hair you can do it everywhere and make a solid income,” she said.

Ross grew up at Innisfail, where she raises Corgis and owns cattle in partnership with Hollinger Land and Cattle of Neudorf, Sask.

“Whenever I have a good one I bring her out for the fall run,” she said.

At Agribition 2018 she won the intermediate heifer calf division and sold it for $8,500 at the Power and Perfection Angus sale held Nov. 23.

Her extended family is still involved in the breed and the show circuit, but becoming a full-time producer may be an elusive dream even though she was raised around cattle.

“The interest is always there but you need a job in order to do that,” she said.

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