Thursday, January 15, 2009

Here be Herefords

I spent a couple of hours at the National Western Stock Show yesterday morning, keeping a promise to myself that I wouldn't wait until the last weekend to go. It runs through Sunday, Jan. 25, so you still have time!
Throughout the Stock Show, different animals are rotated through the barns as they come up for judging. Yesterday it was all Hereford and Angus cattle. Later it may be be shaggy Highlands or humpy Brahmans. Or Texas Longhorns. The equine stalls were empty, but soon will be filled with riding horses, draft horses, mules or donkeys.

Most of the animals get gussied up inside, but a few stanchions outside allow for open-air beautifying.
The cattle are generally pretty mellow, not that they have any say in the matter. But most of them have spent their lives being prepped for this kind of thing. They get washed and brushed and trimmed. Their hooves are shined up. They get the cattle equivalent of mousse, gel or hairspray to keep their tails and fur fluffed.

(If you don't believe me, check out Ohio Valley Show Supply, purveyors of such fine products as Tail Adhesive and Swine Shine. Not to mention scrotal tape – for measuring, of course!)

Here's one video of the scene inside the barn:

And here's another:
The second video is of a Hereford bull from Pennsylvania named John Wayne, who was a grand champion at last year's Stock Show. Having a prize-winning bull is not just a source of pride for a ranch or dairy, it translates into higher stud fees.

I have some photos of Angus cattle, too, but I'll post them later. It's hard to narrow down all the photos I took!

If you're in the Denver area, do go check out the show. Here's the website. Take the kids!


  1. Sorta makes me wish I was a cow. I could use some primping and fussing over. I'll skip the scrotal tape or tape for any other delicate bit though.

  2. Betts, it did look sort of soothing. That tape is measuring tape, though, not the sticky variety.

    Tanya, some of them, yes! The market beef cattle are judged on the hoof, then slaughtered and judged by their steaks. Cattle judged for breeding purposes are not eaten.