Genetics

Nuckolls County beef show puts local genetics to the test | News

NELSON — With its green hills and abundant pastureland, Nuckolls County is cow-calf country — and the 4-H beef show at the annual fair here is more than just another livestock event:

It’s a reflection of livestock genetics at work on farms and ranches every day of the year.

That was obvious from the numbers at this year’s show, which consumed most of Tuesday morning on the Nuckolls County Fairgrounds just south of Nelson.

Unlike in some counties, where market beef projects are most numerous, the breeding beef and market beef categories in Nuckolls County attracted almost equal numbers of entries.

Furthermore, the market steer and Home Bred & Fed market steer classes were exactly the same size, with six entries apiece.

The Home Bred & Fed class is for slaughter-weight animals that were born into the exhibitors’ families’ own herds, not purchased from outside the operation as calves to be fattened and then shown.

Kylie Kinley, Nebraska Extension educator in Nuckolls and Thayer counties, said the Nuckolls County beef show is a showcase for the good things going on in family beef operations countywide.

“It’s not just ‘feed it for a year and then sell it,'” Kinley said of the homegrown beef projects. “They’re very focused on raising the next generation of cattle producers in Nuckolls County.”

Tuesday’s market beef results also illustrated the family focus of 4-H beef projects in this area.

Chasity Ostdiek, 10, and her older brother Chase, 16, took home top overall honors in the market beef show. Between them, they won reserve champion feeder calf (Chase), champion market steer (Chasity), reserve champion market steer (Chase), champion Home Bred & Fed market animal (Chase), reserve champion Home Bred & Fed market animal (Chasity) , overall market beef animal (Chasity), and reserve champion overall market beef animal (Chase).

“She beat me in the market class, but I beat her in the Home Bred & Fed,” Chase said, summing up a banner morning for the pair.

His overall reserve champion animal was champion in the Home Bred & Fed class.

Chasity, who will be a fifth-grader at Blue Hill Community School this fall, had her hands full at times leading steers weighing in at 1,488 pounds and 1,560 pounds, respectively. But when all was said and done, the big smile on her face showed it was all worth it.

“Yes, I do,” she said simply when asked if she plans to keep bringing cattle to the fair in years to come.

Chase, who will be a junior at Blue Hill this fall, agreed it was a big day for him, his sister and their parents, Daren and Kristen Ostdiek.

Their Charolais-cross cattle won favor with judge Abby Durheim of Lincoln, whose credentials include past membership on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln livestock judging team.

Chasity is also competing with goats, horses and sheep at this year’s fair, which wraps up Wednesday evening. Chase also is competing with sheep and horses and said he is personally partial to showing sheep.

At the same time, Chase said, he finds the beef project rewarding — notably because of all the high-quality food one slaughter-weight animal produces for the world.

“Just knowing that the market steer I’m bringing is going to go to someone, and it’s going to feed a family or a couple of families,” he said when asked why he feels good about the project.

The Ostdieks farm and raise livestock, including cows and calves, near Blue Hill. Chase and Chasity are members of the Lucky Buckaroos 4-H Club in Nuckolls County.

Chase said 4-H helps young people like him and his sister to learn valuable lessons and develop important skills for life.

“It teaches you a lot of responsibility through feeding your animals, and it helps you to meet a lot of people,” he said.

Kristen said she and Daren are proud of their kids’ efforts in 4-H and happy to see their commitment pay off.

“It’s a lot of hard work getting ready,” she said.

Kinley is helping to run her third and final Nuckolls County Fair as an extension educator. She will be leaving her position this month to become an English and agricultural education teacher and FFA adviser at Lawrence-Nelson.

She said she’s glad to be staying in the area and is proud of her Nuckolls County 4-H’ers, who have won notice for the way they encourage one another.

“I am so pleased with everyone’s attitudes,” she said. “It’s all very positive. The 4-H’ers support each other even when they’re competing against each other.”

Spectators also do a great job of turning out for shows to cheer on the Nuckolls County 4-H’ers, even when the weather is hotter and drier than it’s been for this year’s fair, Kinley said.

Durheim presided over a three-hour show Tuesday morning that included showmanship and both breeding and market classes.

She put both the exhibitors and their animals through their paces, watching from every angle as the animals were led around the outside of the ring, then lined up in a row, then led around again.

She offered showmanship feedback, reminding the exhibitors to keep good posture, be aware of the spacing between animals and maintain eye contact with her as the judge.

Collins Porter, who was the day’s champion junior showperson, took home the overall showmanship belt buckle.

Senior

Intermediate

Champion: Lauren Kohmetscher

Reserve: Madelyn Laughlin

Junior

Reserve: Addie Kohmetscher

Overall

Live show

Cumulative (includes interview)

Champion: Brynley Behrends

Second Year Bucket Calf, Market

Junior heifer calves

Champion: Adrianna Mazour

Summer yearling heifers

Spring yearling heifers

Reserve: Lauren Kohmetscher

Junior yearling heifers

Champion: Addie Kohmetscher

Two-year-old heifer

Champion: Natalie Jacobitz

Home-bred and -raised heifer

Reserve: Adriyanna Mazour

Cow-calf

Purples: Cody Brockman, Wyatt Brockman, Chasity Ostdiek

Overall breeding beef

Champion: Addie Kohmetscher

Market steer

Champion: Chasity Ostdiek

Home Bred & Fed market animals

Overall market beef

Champion: Chasity Ostdiek

Beef club group of three

Champion: Lucky Buckaroos

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