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Young people showing cattle builds farm family pride

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(The Center Square) – More Illinois school-age girls and boys are showing cattle and growing up with a love for the cattle business, the Illinois Beef Association says.

For the annual Beef Expo in Springfield in February, the association added a show ring and extended the junior show from two days to three days. Devin Bollman, communications manager for the Illinois Beef Association, told Brownfields that the association is thrilled that so many youngsters are participating.

“It is great for our beef industry that we have so many quality cattle in our market show and in our breeding show,” Bollman said.

Lexington cattle rancher Yale Young of Young’s Cattle Company in Lexington has four daughters, ages 13 and under, who help him and his wife show and market their cattle. The whole family went to the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Classic in February, where they showed and sold a big handsome bull named Horse.

Having their young girls walking the 1,300- and 1,400-pound bulls around the show ring, demonstrating how easy they are to handle, helps with sales, Young said.

“There is a value to put on that when you are selling livestock,” Young said.

Like many farmers, Yale and his wife have full-time jobs. Their farm chores are done before and after work and on weekends, with the help of the girls. Their four daughters are 4th generation livestock farmers, Yale said.

Feeding the cattle, grooming them, and breaking them are among the chores that the girls do, 7th grader Addison said.

Nine-year-old Hattie still gets a little nervous before she goes in the show ring, she said. Her sense of fun has made her “entertainment director” for the family when they go to shows, Young said.

Thirteen-year-old Addison is a certified blue ribbon champ. Addison won her age group out of 90 contestants at the Illinois State Fair last summer.

“Her showmanship skills are really coming out and it is building a lot of character in who she is becoming,” Young said proudly.

Women have always participated and competed with men in the livestock show ring, said Young, who grew up showing cattle with his sister. The number of boys and girls who compete is about equal, Addison said.

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