Photo courtesy of ShowChampions USA
An Ohio State student won a national championship, but in an arena that usually has sawdust, rather than grass on the ground.
Lindsey Grimes, a second-year in animal science, showed the grand champion Angus female at the National Western Stock Show Jan. 13 in Denver.
For serious livestock enthusiasts, competing in Denver is like competing in the Olympics, said Marshall Ernst, livestock manager of the National Western.
“Winning a championship here is like winning a gold medal because it’s just that prestigious and just that hard to do,” Ernst said.
While not taking home an actual medal, Grimes received the traditional purple banner awarded at most major livestock shows across the country. She said she will hang it with other similar awards the Grimes family earned over years of competition.
Grimes grew up on the family cattle farm outside Hillsboro, Ohio, and started showing cattle more than 10 years ago. She said exhibiting the grand champion Angus heifer at one of the largest livestock expositions in the country was the perfect end to her years as a junior exhibitor.
“This is my last year (of eligibility) in the Junior Angus Association, and this was my first national win,” Lindsey said. “I’ve watched my younger sister win four national shows. This is always a family event, and we always work together, but it was finally nice to get over that hump for once.”
For the Grimeses, showing cattle is a family affair, including Lindsey’s parents, OSU alumni John and Joanie, and younger sister Lauren.
“Each of our daughters won a national show this year,” said John, OSU Extension faculty and beef coordinator. “Lauren won the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville in November, and Lindsey won the National Western in Denver.”
“The National Western goes on for 16 days,” Ernst said. “We have about 15,000 head of livestock that go through the show.”
The largest component of the show, he said, is the beef cattle exhibition.
“Beef cattle are the main event, and Angus and Hereford are the two largest breed shows here,” Ernst said.
The American Angus Association said Grimes’ heifer bested 178 other entries from around the country to win the show.
For the Grimes family, shows like Denver provide many opportunities. Lindsey said the most important is the chance to learn.
“It’s worth the trip because you see people from all around the country and share your philosophy of raising cattle and what you do in your program,” she said. “You get to see what (others) are doing with their cattle and see if their breeding programs are working and how yours compare to cattle all across the country.”
Despite the years of work, countless hours spent in the barn working with cattle, and long trips to shows like the National Western, Lindsey said her victory in Denver made it all worthwhile.
“It was awesome,” Lindsey said. “It was two years of hard work and blood, sweat and tears, and it all paid off at my favorite show.”