ELWOOD — An Elwood native was named Grand Champion in the longest consecutive running youth development program, started in 1935, at the National Western Stock Show, NWSS, held in Denver.
Sheridan Chaney participated this year and was named Grand Champion in the Catch-A-Calf program.
“The NWSS Catch-A-Calf program is designed to give 4-H members ages 12-18 from Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming the opportunity to have a beef project, build sponsor relations, participate at the Super Bowl of livestock shows, and learn lessons they may not learn anywhere else. It is a once in a lifetime experience, where over the program’s 80-year history has given more than 3,500 calves to well-deserving kids,” according to the NWSS website.
“In just over 80 years, the Catch-A-Calf Contest has awarded nearly 3,500 steers to 4-H members hailing from the western United States,” according to the website. This year the stock show was held Jan. 11-26.
“I officially started my Catch-a-Calf journey in January of 2019 when I caught a calf in the arena at the National Western Rodeo,” Sheridan said of joining the Catch-A-Calf program.
“The program is designed so successful participants catch a calf, feed it, and return with the animal one year later as a market steer. The market animals are judged on rate of gain, quality of fitting, and carcass quality. The exhibitor is judged on showmanship, their record book, and a personal interview,” according to the NWSS website.
Sheridan said the name of her calf was Milo.
“In order to bring the calf home I had to have an appropriate place to keep him and I had to purchase feed prior to the day I picked him up,” Sheridan said, “I also had to submit a budget form a month before I picked up my catch a calf steer which basically helped me estimate my projected ending income and outcome for the end of the project.”
“My most recent experience would have been taking care of Milo the days prior to sale day. I made sure he was well cared for and always washed and clean,” said Sheridan, “I also really enjoyed meeting up with some friends that I had made through the Catch-A-Calf program.”
Milo’s eventual weight was 1,374 pounds when Chaney showed him during the program.
“I loved working with him (Milo) because he had a very gentle personality,” said Sheridan, “He was definitely one of my most favorite show steers.”
When asked about how she felt being named Grand Champion, Sheridan said, “Sometimes I can’t even believe that I actually won. I knew that I had put so much work and effort into the program so when my name was announced I was truly so relieved and speechless.”
Being named Grand Champion, Chaney was invited to the National Western Stock Show Jr. Auction.
“The NWSS Jr. Auction was held Friday, Jan. 24. Sheridan's Grand Champion steer sold for $35,000 to Ms. Sue Anschutz-Rodgers of Anschutz Family Foundation of Denver, long-time supporter of the CAC program,” said Sheridan’s mother, Becky.
Becky continued, “Sheridan keeps 20 percent of the auction money, 30 percent is divided between all 38 other CAC participants, and the remaining 50 percent goes back to the Catch-A-Calf program to support the rich 83-year history of the program.”
Sheridan also was able to compete with her twin sister Rianna. Both placed well in the Catch-A-Calf categories. In the sponsor relations category, Sheridan was 2nd and Rianna was 7th.
“They both did a terrific job and my husband Lee, and I couldn't be more proud of both of them for their hard work and dedication,” Becky said.
“I can say with a hundred percent confidence that this is the most beneficial program I’ve ever been a part of,” Sheridan said of her experience in Catch-A-Calf, “I would like others to know that this is a wonderful program that I was very blessed to be a part of.”