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Producers gather for 2020 Davison County Winter Beef Show

Over 100 from multiple states take part in event

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Laramie Priest, center, of Waco, Texas, who served as livestock judge at the 2020 Davison County Winter Beef Show Saturday at the Davison County 4-H Grounds in Mitchell, inspects cattle during the junior showmanship competition portion of the event. Over 100 exhibitors braved the cold weather to take part in the show. (Erik Kaufman / Republic)

A South Dakota cold snap didn’t keep away producers and youth from far and wide from converging to display their livestock Saturday at the 2020 Davison County Winter Beef Show in Mitchell.

The annual event, sponsored by the Davison County 4-H organization, took place at the Davison County 4-H grounds in Mitchell.

“The show is going great,” Caroline Hansen, Davison County 4-H adviser, told the Daily Republic following the morning show session. “We had our 4-H show earlier, and now we’re into our open class show. There are kids here from Iowa and Minnesota and all over South Dakota that brought their livestock to showcase, and we’re so excited to have them here in Davison County.”

The show presents an opportunity for producers and youth to show off their animals and handling skills for judges in a competitive format prior to presenting them for sale at market, Hansen said. Youth could also test their livestock knowledge in the Beef-Skillathon. It’s an event that allows participants of all ages to be involved, she said.

Youth of every age led cattle into the show ring to display their ability to lead and present their animal. A judge then inspected the cattle and watched how the youth control them and awarded places based on their skill.

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“The showmanship competition this morning is the kids themselves getting judged on being able to handle their animal and the presentation of their animal. The (open class) show is the confirmation of the animal itself - how well it’s put together, it’s bone structure, all those things,” said Hansen, a Turton native who showed livestock at the Davison County show in her youth. “So the showmanship portion is cool because it’s for the kids, even if you don’t have the best animal in the barn, you can still go out and compete in the showmanship show.”

Hansen said the show this year had between 110 and 120 head of cattle prior to the official final count, which jibes well with what the show has drawn in previous years. The weather, which saw temperatures dip well below zero overnight, didn’t provide much of a deterrent for those heading out the fairgrounds.

“These cattle producers are a pretty tough bunch, and a lot of these guys have been out and around before. This isn’t the first show of the year for them, and a lot of them bring heaters and generators and heat up their trailer,” Hansen said. “But the cattle are pretty tough and so our exhibitors.”

In addition to the friendly competitive nature, an event like this is an opportunity to get livestock in front of an audience prior to heading to market, Hansen said.

“A lot of them are bringing (livestock) out just to get them out of the barn once before they take them to Denver or the Black Hills Stock Show, or places like that. It’s a good opportunity to get their livestock out and get them used to different noises and sights and things like that,” Hansen said.

The event is only part of a busy calendar year for the local 4-H organization. Hansen said 4-H groups are already working on projects and getting ready for Achievement Days this summer. And there continues to be a full slate of activities ongoing throughout the year.

There’s something for everyone in the 4-H organization for everyone, she said, and she encouraged those who are interested to check it out.

“There are so many things you can do. You can be involved in livestock, arts and crafts. Shooting sports is meeting every week, so there’s a place for everybody and anybody in 4-H,” Hansen said.

Related Topics: AGRICULTURELIVESTOCK4-H
Erik Kaufman joined the Mitchell Republic in July of 2019 as an education and features reporter. He grew up in Freeman, S.D., graduating from Freeman High School. He graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1999 with a major in English and a minor in computer science. He can be reached at ekaufman@mitchellrepublic.com.
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