Yampa teen dominates cow, calf classes at 100th Routt County Fair
Hayden — Katie Parker doesn’t leave anything to chance when it comes to breeding beef cows. That explains how she won eight first- and second-place awards for her cows and the calves they gave birth to at the 100th Routt County Fair on Friday.
Parker, 18, lives on her family’s ranch just outside the town of Yampa and will study livestock production at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in the fall.
“I picked the two cows for several qualities, including gentleness, good (nutritional) milk and good birth weights” of their calves, Parker said.
Once she had settled on her mother cows, Parker attended livestock shows in Denver to study bulls and select the best matches for her cows and her artificial insemination program.
All of that decision-making paid off Friday with judge J.T. Gilmore, of Colorado State University, awarding her the ribbon for Grand Champion Breeding Female.
But that’s not all.
Parker claimed both first and second place (with different animals) for the breeding cow class, bull calf class and cow-calf classes. She had to settle for second place in the yearling heifer class.
Routt County Extension Agent Todd Hagenbuch observed that the cow-calf classes were the biggest the fair had seen in a number of years.
Extension Western Regional Director CJ Mucklow was pleased to see the renewed interest in showing cows as opposed to market steers.
“We don’t grow corn here, so this isn’t fat cattle country, this is cow country,” Mucklow said.
Another longtime Routt County agricultural figure who wasn’t around to see the centennial fair might have been most pleased of all to see the large cow/calf classes Friday.
Announcer Jay Whaley reminded the crowd in the bleachers that the late Don Lufkin had provided an endowment that generates $2,000 in premiums annually for the youngsters who bring the best cows to the fair along with their calves.
Mucklow explained that unlike 4-H youngsters who raise steers, those who put their money and effort into cows can’t sell them at the livestock auction — they are too important in their primary role of delivering new calves into the world. The premiums give them an incentive to stick with the female beef cattle.
As far as Parker’s future goes, she is intent on a career in breeding cattle. But she might change her focus away from cows.
“I’ve always been interested in raising rodeo bulls,” she said.
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