North Dakota wins big at national cattle show
Dickinson businessman David Shetler and his cow were crowned grand champion of the Aberdeen National Western Stock Show in Denver last week. This marks Shetler's first national championship win--and this year saw both the grand champion titles fo...
Dickinson businessman David Shetler and his cow were crowned grand champion of the Aberdeen National Western Stock Show in Denver last week. This marks Shetler's first national championship win-and this year saw both the grand champion titles for Aberdeen cows and bulls going to North Dakotans.
"This time I didn't (expect to win). This heifer will be a year old in February. To win a national championship with a heifer that young is ... I don't know if it's ever happened," Shetler said. "Usually it's the bigger bred animals that win, but this one is just so pretty and so correct that it just ended up winning."
He was crowned alongside Neil Effertz and his wife Jan, from Bismarck. They had a percentage bull take the grand champion title and were Reserve Champions for the fullblood Aberdeen heifer category as well as the pen of three category.
"There were 220 entries in the national Aberdeen show in Denver," Effertz said. "A judge from Wisconsin really liked our cattle. All of the cattle were evaluated on their structural soundness and their correctness, their ability to move properly and walk properly and the females, of course, they want a lot of femininity but also a lot of natural muscling and natural thickness."
His grand champion bull is named Forevermore-like Shetler's grand champion, this bull is younger than usual for a national winner.
"He's just ... about 9 months old," Effertz said. "We had to beat a very successful older bull that had been winning at most of the shows so it was quite an honor and a surprise to us."
Shetler runs Shetler Cattle Co., and his champion cow-co-owned by Tummons Cattle Co.-is a little lady named Miss Jackie.
"This heifer is probably going to go to Houston, Louisville, Kansas City and then it's gonna be retired," Shetler said. "What that means for that heifer is that the whole genetics lifted ... so the whole animal lifted from about $4,000 to $20,000."
While Shetler was awarded a belt buckle to commemorate his win, Miss Jackie won plenty of pampering and high-end feed for her part.
With both grand champions hailing from the Roughrider State, beating out an incredible amount of competition from upwards of 30 top cattle producing states, more than 200 entrants, North Dakota may at last be making a reputation for quality beef.
"I think that in terms of high quality beef stock in the beef cattle industry, North Dakota has as many good cattle as any state in the United States and I think that can be witnessed by some of the very successful cattle sales in many different breeds that are held in North Dakota every year, especially this time of year," Effertz said. "The bulls that come out of North Dakota go on to other states and sire tremendous animals for other breeding establishments."
Effertz grew up on a cattle ranch and has been showing bulls since he was 9 years old, about 60 years. He and his wife have had a couple previous national championships. His outfit is called the Effertz EZ Ranch and a production sale is scheduled to be held there-about 15 miles north of Bismarck-on the first weekend in June.
Shetler's main business is not cattle-in fact, he's only been dealing with cows for four years now, and his construction business serves as his main livelihood.
"My business is general contract, I own Shetler's Construction. That's my main business, my cattle is my hobby," Shetler said. "I grew up Amish and I was in cattle then in Pennsylvania ... we moved out here, my son was interested in cows so we got some commercial cattle."
The cow market has proven tough to break into, but Shetler's enjoyed previous success in showing his cows.
"First year I had an animal in a show, it won 11 times, just not national," he said. He said that this year he only participated in the national level shows, and Miss Jackie took the championship despite this being her first show.
Aberdeen cows are appealing to Shetler due to their high efficiency-he said they produce more pounds per acre.
Shetler Cattle Co. will be having a national production sale on Oct. 5 at Stockman's Livestock Exchange.