National Western Stock Show is big draw for Routt County competitors | SteamboatToday.com

National Western Stock Show is big draw for Routt County competitors

Rachel Rolando and her Grand Champion goat Lucifer took top honors at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo. Now, she is showing her animals at the National Western Stock Show in Denver.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — They are all drawn to the National Western Stock Show for different reasons, but it’s the love for the event that fuels this long-running agricultural tradition.

"I've been there but haven’t showed there, ever," said 12-year-old Josie Meyring Tuesday afternoon during a break from her classes at the North Routt Charter School. "I'm just looking forward to seeing what it is like and showing there. It's a very tough national show, so my chances are not at all good. I'm just going for the experience."

Meyring will show a steer Jan. 17 and 18 at the National Western Stock Show, which had been held in Denver every January since 1906.

Meyring is one of several Routt County residents who plan to take part in this year’s show, and they represent just a few of the locals who will travel to Denver just to watch the events.

This year, Meyring will be joined by Bailey Singer and Amber Elliot, who are presenting for college scholarships, Emi Ramirez, who is participating in catch-a-calf and showing two livestock projects, and the Wille family, who will show their Rambouillet sheep at the show.

Routt County 4-H royalty will also be in attendance, and Routt County Fair queen Taylor Sanchez will be presenting ribbons at some of the events.

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Also making the trip is Colorado State Fair Champion Rachel Rolando, who was already busy showing her sheep in the showmanship class Tuesday afternoon. She will be back in the ring Wednesday for the market and breeding classes.

"Today is pretty relaxed and tomorrow is alway the craziest," Rolando said from Denver Tuesday. “Most of the prep starts three weeks before. Most of it is just working with them and making sure they are on-point for the show ring.”

She has shown her goats at the stock show for the past four years and always looks forward to coming back.

"It's just a lot more fun than the county fair," Rolando said. "There are people who are actually hardcore about this stuff, and they really know what they are doing. If you win a class, you are actually doing pretty good."

Rolando would know.

Last August, she showed her goat Lucifer in Pueblo and won Grand Champion in the market division at the Colorado State Fair. Since then, she has earned her high school diploma from the Branson School online but is still eager to get out and show goats — something she does 20 to 25 times a year. She said the National Western Stock Show is a good way to kick off the year.

"Everything is done differently at national shows," she said. "The people are different; everything is different in both good and bad ways."

On Tuesday, she spent a few hours checking out the livestock before taking part in her first event of the week, showmanship. However, her best chances of winning would most likely come in the breeding and market classes.

Routt County Extension Agent Tami Eggers said this is an exciting time around her office and in the agricultural community across Routt County.

"It's super exciting for us because we have kids that are really dedicated to their livestock projects," Eggers said. "These kids go above and beyond."

She said taking part in the National Western Stock Show is a huge commitment for everyone involved, but especially for those living in Routt County.

"It's a huge commitment because it's a winter undertaking," she said. "The participants know that they could be driving down in a snowstorm. They have to have their animals ready to shown in the winter time, and it's not as easy as just keeping your steer outside in the summer. It takes a little extra care to have them ready for a January show."

The National Western Stock Show began Jan. 6 and will continue through Jan. 21 Visit nationalwestern.com for more information.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966