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Bovine beauties win award

Rollie and Tama Baumgarten of Belfield won the "Super Bowl" of livestock shows.

They took the Grand Champion Pen Hereford Heifers Award at this year's National Western Stock Show in Denver on Jan 14.

"I was excited when our family won," said Rollie and Tama's son, Jake Baumgarten.

He added that he is proud of the family's accomplishment and the way they worked together in raising the heifers.

"You only win $85 dollars, so it's more the recognition that drives the competition," Tama said. She added, the National Western Stock Show is like the Super Bowl for producers.

"It's the biggest stock show," said Tama. "We showed against 13 classes of pens. They also have a Mile High Sale and one of our heifers went for $7,000."

The Baumgartens have been showing Hereford cattle at the National Western Stock Show for 16 years and this is the second time they have had a pen of heifers win.

"I like going to the shows because you get to meet people from all over the country," Rollie said. "We have even met people from Canada, Australia and Denmark. Plus you get to see all different types of livestock. It's kind of like a little vacation for me and my wife."

Rollie and Tama have been working with registered Hereford cattle since they were 15 years old.

"Both of our parents had registered Herefords, and our children do too, so we have four generations in our family that have ran Herefords," Tama said.

The Baumgartens have 150 registered cow calf pairs and 60 commercial cow calf pairs.

"The Baumgartens have a great cattle operation," said Deb Hewson, Creative Energy store supervisor. "Our children were in 4-H together, they are a very outgoing and friendly family."

Tama said she likes Herefords because they are gentle cattle and easy to work with.

"They are also feed efficient (they gain weight on less feed) and very hardy," Rollie said. "Plus you have to have Herefords to get black baldies -- which everybody knows is the best kind of cattle," he said jokingly.

The Baumgartens run a cow calf operation and have a few bulls as well.

"We breed to improve the genetics of our heard," Tama said. "We keep the top of the line calves and replacement heifers."

Tama added when breeding goals are longevity, high performance and calving ease of bulls.

"You don't want high birth weights," Tama said.

Rollie said he likes farming and ranching because he enjoys to see things grow and take care of them.

Besides raising Herefords, the Baumgartens grow wheat, canola, grass, alfalfa hay and safflower.

The Baumgartens have two children, April and Jake. April wants to be a lawyer and is attending Jamestown College in Jamestown, while Jake is majoring in animal science at North Dakota State University in Fargo. Two of the heifers sold at the National Western Livestock Show belonged to Jake.

The Baumgartens have also been preparing for their annual sale coming up on Feb 4. The sale will be held out at their ranch.