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Livestock show returns to Dickinson

Top-of-the-line cattle will be on display at the 34th annual West River Livestock Show, sponsored by the Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce in two weeks.

The show will be held Oct. 19 and 20 at the Dickinson State University Multi-Purpose Arena and will involve exhibitors from all across North Dakota. Spectators may watch for free.

On Oct. 19, there will be an open show for adults. The Oct. 20 show will be a youth-only event, said Stark-Billings County Extension Agent Kurt Froelich, who has been involved in the annual show since he moved to the area in 2004.

"It's an opportunity for producers to exhibit their animals, both male and female," he said. "The junior show on the second day is designed for youth to compete with each other and work and develop their skills. It also teaches life skills, like responsibility and communication that they will need in every facet of their lives as they get older."

Froelich said attendance for the show is generally linked to the weather conditions, but he said he would like to see an increase in spectator turnout this year.

"I would like to see more people come out to watch the show because the quality of the animals that will be shown at the exhibit are second to no one," he said. "Some producers use the show to advertise the breeding programs they use, so people get to see how they might be able to incorporate particular bloodlines into their own operations."

Even the perfect horse could require training, so John Hovde, Epping, will facilitate a two-hour horsemanship clinic, which is a new addition to the livestock show.

"We'll focus on livestock show so horsemanship as is relates to ranchers," Hovde said. "We'll cover from basics to advanced horsemanship and I hope it opens people's eyes to how to work with their animals and give their horses and other livestock a fair shot at life."

Froelich said the horsemanship clinic is likely to be popular with attendees in southwest North Dakota because of the popularity of horses among producers.

"(Hovde) is a horse clinician, so he can teach people how to work with their horses and to how to train their horses," Froelich said. "It's a different kind of addition to the show, and since there is a huge interest in equines here and across the country, I think this will be good for the show."

Hovde won't be the only new feature attendees will have to enjoy at the show.

Mike Renner, a member of the Chamber Agriculture Committee, said a commercial agriculture show will also make a return to the event's agenda this year after a several-year absence from the schedule.

"The commercial show hasn't been done as a part of the livestock show for about five or six years no," he said. "But we started to get requests by sponsors and vendors who were interested in putting something together that they could use as a way to show different products and services that they can offer farmers and ranchers, so there will be all kinds of equipment and other things on display at the Badlands Activities Center for people to come and see and try out for themselves."