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Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic celebrates 25 years, brings new events for anniversary year

Written by Gayle Smith

As the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic celebrates its 25-year anniversary, they will be investing in youth and the future by awarding over $25,000 in scholarships. The Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic will be held Feb. 13-21 at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds in Kearney, Neb.

This year’s event will be special.

According to Ronette Bush-Heinrich, who is the manager of the Classic, “What began as a dream to showcase the beef industry in Kearney in 1990 has grown into the winter event for the entire family. The inaugural event was held in 1992, and it included the 11 cattle breeds shows and sales, the commercial trade show and the junior show.”

Opportunities for all

The Cattlemen’s Classic has something for everyone.

Over the last 25 years, the show has grown to also include a ranch rodeo, ranch horse competition and sale, commercial Pen of Five heifers sale, fancy open heifer sale, prospect steer sale, beef judging contest, feedlot tours, scholarship programs, an FFA day and elementary school tours, dog trials, a wine tasting event and the Royal Ice sale.

Each year, new events are added to the Classic, and this year is no exception.

On Feb. 16, the Classic will host a Cattlemen to Consumers Day. During this event, Viaero Wireless is hosting a technology workshop. Some of the presentations at this event will be Kent Boughton, chief forecaster with NTV/KFXL Fox, using technology to sustain health in beef production, RosTech barn cameras and using technology to support growing operations.

That afternoon, contestants can show off their cooking skills in the first ever Classic Steak Cook-off. Contestants must bring their own grills and fuel, but the Classic will supply the steaks. The contest is a jackpot, with a $100 entry fee.

A Battle of the Breeds will also be held.

According to Bush-Heinrich, “All breed associations in Nebraska are challenged to be in a ‘Tail-Gate in the Showring.’ Each breed association is challenged to have a display to promote their breed and have beef samples of their favorite recipes.”

Consumers can vote for the best display and best beef entree.

Youth focus

The Classic is all about youth, and this year is no exception, Bush-Heinrich said.

An FFA Day will be held on Feb. 17, and $4,500 in cash scholarships will be awarded. Teams of FFA students will compete in a public speaking event, with the topic to be announced that morning.

The highlight of the day will be a visit from the Peterson Farm Brothers, who will be presenting a program on how they got started as advocates for agriculture and their perspective of what the future leaders are going to face in agriculture.

Other activities for youth will be held on Feb. 20-21 with a heifer incentive program, livestock judging contest, prospect steer sale and a youth market and breeding show.

Other events

This year’s Classic will kick off on Feb. 13 with a ranch horse versatility contest, followed by a ranch rodeo. On Feb. 14, a working cow horse competition will be held, followed by the ranch horse sale. Thirty-four horses were selected for this year’s ranch horse competition and sale.

A national cattledog association trial will be held on Feb. 15. Cattle events start on Feb. 17 with the Hereford, Red Angus and Polled Hereford breed shows. A beef and wine tasting event, sponsored by Kuhn-Knight will be held that evening.

Feb. 18 breed shows include Angus, Simmental, Charolais, Limousin and Gelbvieh. Sales for those breeds will start at 12:30 p.m. The Cattlemen’s Social and Royal Ice Sale will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Shorthorn, Main Anjou and Chianina breed shows and sales will be held the following day. The Classic open bull and heifer show and sale, and a replacement heifer Pen of Five sale will also be held on Feb. 19. Supreme Row judging for the overall champion bull and heifer at the Classic will be held on Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. The consignor of the champion will be awarded $2,500, and the buyer will receive $1,000.

During the Cattlemen’s Classic, participants can visit a commercial trade show featuring everything from livestock health, feed and supplies to clothing, and the Classic marketplace. From Feb. 17-20, producers can also showcase their premier breeding stock by participating in the live cattle displays.

Gayle Smith is a correspondent for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..