One of National Western’s Most Loved Traditions
They come from Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming to compete in National Western Stock Show’s longest running program of practical beef cattle management. In just over 80 years, the Catch-A-Calf Contest has awarded nearly 3,000 steers to 4-H members hailing from the western United States.
The program began in 1935 when 10 boys caught 10 sponsored calves. The contest quickly caught on, and the program grew to include 52 calves by 1942. Soon after World War II, the program settled at 40 calves per year, which is where the number continues to stand today.
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.
Catch-A-Calf contests in the Coliseum will be held during the rodeo on Friday, January 15, 2021 (matinee performance), Saturday, January 16, 2021 (matinee performance) and Sunday, January 17, 2021 (matinee & evening performances).
Want to know more? Watch this video about our 2020 Grand Champion family.
Listen to a radio bit about Catch-A-Calf here.
Record Book Instructions: Once you pull up the link, go to File > Make a Copy > Rename your file to LastName_CACRecordBook. From there you should be able to edit the spreadsheets. Remember, GoogleDocs auto saves every edit you make. If you would like to export the file to Excel: File > Download As > Microsoft Excel (.xlsx).
Record Books & Letters:
4398 Palmer Canyon Rd
Wheatland, WY 82201
Phone: (970) 222-1728
Livestock & Record Books:
PO Box 517
Fort Morgan, CO 80701
National Western Stock Show:
Clancy Anderson & Erin Dorsey
4655 Humboldt Street
Denver, CO 80216
|Participant's First Name||Participant's Last Name||Hometown||Sponsor(s) Name||Company|
|Mary||Amoroso||Lakewood, CO||Ms. Sue Anschutz Rodgers||Anschutz Family Foundation|
|Abby||Bernhardt||Hudson, CO||Susie Wollert||NWSS Volunteers|
|Breanna||Blake||Keenesburg, CO||Kent Dawkins||Van Schaack Land Company|
|Trinity||Boulger||Craig, CO||Jo Adams|
|Blake||Bruns||North Platte, NE||Mike & Eva Pugh|
|Kanyon||Cathcart||Holly, CO||Trina & Kirby Kleymann||Dry Creek Livestock Inc.|
|Cael||Churches||Laramie, WY||Bill Waneka||Wyoming Cowboy Calf Club|
|Evan||Clark||Wheat Ridge, CO||Brett & Marge Ginther, Peyton Huss & Dylan Mortensen||The Ginther Family|
|Jaeden||Cleven||Laramie, WY||Dan & Sherry Reynolds||Reynolds Family|
|Samantha||Collins||Otis, CO||Scott Johnson||Flying Diamond Ranch|
|Layci Jo||Condon||Creighton, NE||Mark & Carolyn Neely|
|Kaidence||Dyer||Wellington, CO||Dr. John Matsushima|
|Andrew||Eben||Castle Rock, CO||Pat & Kathy Shaw||Shaw Resources LLC|
|Yakov||Foley||Leadville, CO||Loren Eckles & Jeannette Rogers||Idaho Springs Elks & Golden Elks Lodge 2740|
|Makayla||Guilbert||Wiggins, CO||Leslie Baldwin||Boettcher Foundation|
|Nicholas||Haley||Firestone, CO||Nicole, Jeremy, Jim & Ellen DeBacker||The DeBacker Family|
|Wyatt||Harrison||Basin, WY||Bruce Smart||Colorado Elks Association|
|Nicholas||Hermes||Genoa, CO||Ben Duke||The Denver Ag & Livestock Club|
|Haydan||Huyser||, WYEvansville||Jeff Vogel||Vogel & Associates / Rawah Ranch|
|Jamie||Janke||Pilger, NE||John & Venita Collier, Bob Denny, Ryan Anderson & Joey Cusimano||Colorado Elks Association - Lakewood & Colorado Elks Association - Arvada|
|Wyatt||Jarman||Rozet, WY||Jim Kremers & Mark Moen||Wyoming Elks Past Presidents|
|Charles||Jones||Cottonwood Falls||John Brown||Wilcoxon & Brown|
|Kaden||Lair||Peyton, CO||Tim Roberts||Broken Box Ranch|
|Brayden||Lorimor||Delta, CO||Kenny Burns||Colorado Elks Association|
|Ivary||Lorimor||Delta, CO||Rex Emmons||Colorado Elks Association|
|Aubrey||Luckeroth||Windsor, CO||Jim & Kate Curtis, Daryl Christensen||The Curtis Family & Kiwanis Club of Lakewood, Waddell & Reed, Inc.|
|Faith||Miller||Mullen, NE||John & Sally Corkle, Teema McIntosh|
|Brea||Mills||Yoder, WY||Jay & Kaye Anderstrom, David Webster||Anderstrom Farms|
|Erica||Morrison||Cimarron||Daniel Venegas||Xcel Energy|
|Delaney||Newby||Loveland, CO||David Des & Don Treese||Evergreen Elks #2363 & Central City Elks #557|
|Natalie||Parks||Calhan, CO||Ronald Carpenter||Colorado Elks Association|
|Abby||Scholz||Loomis, NE||Beth & Tom Anderson, Jeff Blair||Anderson Family & Adams County Farm Bureau|
|Taylor||Seely||Brighton, CO||Tom & Kathy Kostelecky|
|Evan||Smith||Cheyenne, WY||Bruce Schneider||G.H. Phipps, Construction Co.|
|Zoey||Sneed||Fort Morgan, CO||Mark Arndt||Colorado Elks Association|
|Logan||Stockton||Cheyenne, WY||Dick & Sharon Lynch, Don & Cindy Fredriksen|
|Tyler||Thompson||Blair, NE||Kent Vance||Colorado Elks Association|
|Lilli||Vermeer||Byers, CO||Keven & Sandi Turecek||Stacked Lazy 3 Ranch|
|Clay||White||Pierce, NE||Chip & Joanna Meston||Fifteen Mile Ranch, LLC|
|Alice||Zuber||Fairplay, CO||Jeff Wiechman & Jeff, Narlynn & Chelsea Vinyard||Wiechman Family & Vinyard Family|
Friday, May 8, 2020
6:30 p.m. – CAC Seminar – CSU ARDEC Conference Center
4482 E. County Rd. 56 • Fort Collins, CO 80524
Saturday, May 9, 2020
8:00 a.m. – CAC Breakfast & Steer Giveaway – CSU ARDEC Conference Center
4482 E. County Rd. 56 • Fort Collins, CO 80524
Thursday, January 7, 2021
12 p.m. – CAC steers can begin arriving in the barns
Friday, January 8, 2021
*All steers must be in place by 12:00 p.m.*
1:00 p.m. – Weighing & Processing – Barn
3:00 p.m. – Record Book Meeting – Beef Palace Auction Arena
Record Books are to be turned in after processing and meeting.
Saturday, January 9, 2020
TBA – Interview Process – Stadium Arena Suites
Sunday, January 10, 2020
10 a.m. – CAC Show – Stadium Arena Following the show there will be a photo session and final awards will be presented.
Catch-A-Calf contests in the Coliseum are held during the following 2020 rodeo performances:
Friday, January 15, 2020 (matinee performance), Saturday, January 16, 2020 (matinee performance) and Sunday, January 17, 2020 (matinee & evening performances).
- Applicants entering this contest do so at their own risk, and acknowledge that they could be injured by their participation. The Western Stock Show Association will not be responsible for any injuries connected with this contest. In addition the Western Stock Show Association will not be responsible for any harm caused by the calf during the ownership period of the 4-H club member.
- Currently enrolled 4-H Club members from Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming who presently have adequate facilities to raise and handle a calf are eligible for this program. County Extension agents must certify that these standards are met.
- Members living in counties without a county agent are not eligible to compete in the contest.
- Contestants must have reached the age of twelve (12) years but must be under nineteen (19) years of age as of December 31, 2018, and participate in a 4-H Club as an active member in 2019. It is highly recommended that a member not enter this contest if they plan to be away at college or from home during the time of raising the calf.
- Any 4-H member who has previously completed the 4-H Catch-A-Calf Contest is not eligible to enter again.
- An agreed upon donation of 10% of the gross selling price will be deducted by The Western Stock Show Association at the time of sale and will be treated as a donation to the National Western Stock Show. This will be placed in a revolving fund to insure the continuation of the 4-H Catch-A-Calf program. It is agreed and understood by the 4-H Club member that ownership of the calf shall be a joint project with The Western Stock Show Association.
- The drawing for the 4-H Catch-A-Calf Contest will make preference of members who have submitted fully- completed applications postmarked by December 1.
- Members will be notified by mail of the time they will compete in the 4-H Catch-A-Calf Contest.
- Two contestants per calf (maximum) will go into the arena to participate in the contest.
- Into the arena, the contestants will take a rope halter with no more than a 10-foot lead. The halter must be placed on the head of the animal in the usual way.
- The contestant catching a calf is required to lead the calf to the gate.
- While one contestant holds a calf, no other contestant will be allowed to touch it. If two or more contestants catch a calf at the same time, the calf will be turned loose.
- The Western Stock Show Association reserves the right to take the calf away from any member who does not abide by these rules, including letter writing and record keeping or does not properly feed the calf or does not take full responsibility for the calf. If any calf is taken away, no allowances will be made for any expenses incurred.
- Catch-A-Calves will be exhibited in the special classes provided. Awards will be based upon the beef production job done by the exhibitor, the evaluation, and showmanship. Sale price may be determined for all competing calves by official market grade and yield index or at a price arranged by The Western Stock Show Association. Catch-A-Calves will not be eligible to show in the Junior Market Beef Show.
- The calf must be exhibited and sold at the 2019 National Western Stock Show, where special prizes will be offered. All prize money will belong to the member. When the calf is sold, the check for payment (minus 10% donation plus charges for Beef Board, Brand Inspection and freight) will be sent after a final thank-you note has been sent to the sponsor with a copy to the National Western Stock Show office.
Sheridan: When I first became interested in the CAC program, myself, along with others, we were under the misconception that we would simply receive a prepaid calf to raise, and then eventually show at the National Western Stock Show. I know now that was certainly not the case. I believe that the free calf is just an incentive for the program to accomplish its main objective which is focusing on young future leaders in the agriculture industry to not only develop skills necessary to practice practical beef management, but also enable participants to use those skills in their daily life.
The skills that I have acquired and improved over my time in the program definitely helped build my character. Some of these skills included accountability, record keeping, and communication. I think what the public overlooks most in this program is how beneficial it is from a networking standpoint. Networking is a vital aspect in the ag industry for many reasons. Luckily, I have been fortunate enough to have made many connections with people who share the same passion for the beef industry as I do while in the program. My relationship with these contacts could potentially serve me well in the future.
The CAC program has opened me up to so many new opportunities and experiences that I will never even begin to understand how lucky I am to be a part of, but most importantly are the friends and memories I have made which will outlast any awards.
Rianna: Where do I even begin to start about Catch-A-Calf? It is such an amazing program and experience to be part of. Coming into it I just thought it was just some program I would participate in and then it would be over with following the show. I was so wrong, because this program has given me more than I could have ever imagined. Not only did I learn even more about the beef industry and cattle management practices, but I made life-long friends that I would have never met if I hadn’t done CAC. The memories I have from this program will benefit me and will last a lifetime.
Shane Dawson // Lander, WY // 2020 Participant
I love raising and showing cattle. Raising cattle is something I have been doing since I was 10 years old and I can’t imagine growing up any other way. Deciding whether or not to participate in the NWSS Catch-A-Calf Program was easy. Not only would I get to do something I love, I would also have the prestigious opportunity to show at the National Western Stock Show. Over the course of the Catch-A-Calf competition, I fed and cared for my red angus steer, Courthouse Pete. I kept meticulous records. I learned more about the cattle industry. I learned more about the show industry. I made new friends and gained new mentors. I learned to express myself both in writing and orally. More importantly though, I learned about myself. I learned I have perseverance, dedication and persistence. I learned I have a good work ethic. I learned if I put my mind to something, I can do almost anything. I learned about dedication. Because of the NWSS Catch-A-Calf program, I grew into a strong, well-spoken, independent young woman. I learned to be more grateful. When I signed up as a Catch-A-Calf participant, I did not think this project would be that much different than my past beef projects. I could not have been more wrong. This project changed me for the better. Whether you have shown cattle in the past or not, the NWSS CAC program is a process that all skill levels can benefit and learn from. This program not only teaches you the “basics” of raising cattle, it will also teach you something about yourself. I would recommend it to anyone.
Louise Wiseman // Hershey, NE // 2016 Participant
National Western Catch-A-Calf was one of the best experiences in my life. It is a project for anyone, whether it is your first year showing cattle or your last. My calf, Jack, taught me more in less than one year than I had with one of my calves in a long time. Jack taught me a lot about personal responsibility and the personal drive inside of myself to push toward my goal of Grand Champion. Some of my favorite and worst experiences came through Catch-A-Calf and I wish I were able to go through the program again. It brought my family closer together. My brother won it in 2010, which fueled my fire to be just as good, or even better. The week spent in Denver was one to remember, but the Junior Livestock Sale was one to never forget. Catch-A-Calf has me ready to take on any show that stands in my way. I hope you get as much out of this program as I did.
Morgan Young // Loma, CO // 2011 Participant
I learned and grown so much throughout my journey as a NWSS Catch-A-Calf participant. Through my letters and talking on the phone with my sponsor, Dick Miller with the Aspen Elks Lodge, I knew I found a life long friend. When raising your calf, if you haven’t raised one before, you’ll learn a lot about cattle. I learned how to talk to others, I became a more informed as a producer, and am always eager to learn something new and innovative. However, Buddy taught me the most important lesson I could ever learn; About a week in, I sat in his pen and realized I was the problem; He didn’t trust me because I didn’t trust him. In that moment I picked up his halter and began anew with him. After that, we were best friends. At the NWSS, he showed better than I expected – and he ended up being the Reserve Grand Champion Catch-A-Calf. I got more out of this program than I could have ever imagined. I decided to give back to the Catch-A-Calf program and volunteered the next year. I have now graduated from Lamar Community College with a Associates in General Agriculture with the help of a National Western Stock Show scholarship. I am now pursuing a degree in Animal Science at West Texas A&M University and I am on track to pursue a masters degree in Animal Science with an emphasis in Cattle Nutrition. Take this experience and do all you can with it.
Emma Furgusen // Imperial, NE // 2014 Participant
This program helped me come back into my community and help others learn about showing cattle and taking records. As I proceeded with the program I had my calf as tame as a dog. I asked a person in the community that has always done very good showing cattle if she would help me learn showmanships and how to clip and fight. One of the biggest things that helped me to be successful and to have fun learning, was asking people in my community to help me. I asked people from my English/Speech teacher, my FFA advisors, local producers and neighbors. I had these people read my letters, and speech. They helped me learn some of the rations and how to feed my steer. They helped with with any questions that I had on anything from record books, speech, and halter breaking my steer. Asking people to help me has taught me how to step up and be a leader. Something else that will help you in the end, is taking a lot of pictures and taking good records. This program is an amazing way to meet new people and see what you are capable of accomplishing.
Aubri Strachan // Elbert, CO // 2016 Participant
I entered the Catch-A-Calf program as a scared 14 year old that had never shown cattle before. When I opened the letter and read the name; “Ben Duke and the Denver Ag and Livestock Club” as my matched sponsor, this name meant so much to me. Knowing that Ben Duke, my 4-H club leader, Fairboard President, Leaders Council President and my biggest mentor through 4-H was getting to be apart of one of the biggest opportunities of my life. I took my steer “Angus” to my county fair and showed him in the Prospect steer class as well as novice showmanship. I placed second and reserve champion in both classes and knew that showing cattle would then become part of my life. At National Western I placed sixth in the production phase of the program and couldn’t have been happier. I had a lot of difficult things throughout the year of owning Angus and found out that animals are the best therapy. Through the program I learned how much one simple application can change your life and becoming a life changing experience teaching the basics of showing cattle, communications, record keeping as well interview skills. I started the program scared and not knowing as much about the things it takes to take care of a steer. I came out of the program more experienced as well as having a huge place in my heart for this program. I am wanting to find a career where I can help others and hopefully get the opportunity to sponsor future participants and help the program in any way I can. I am going to attend this show for as long as possible and can’t wait to meet participants from future groups. I don’t care if it is your first time showing cattle or you have been showing since you were eight. This program teaches so much more than anyone could possibly imagine. It will bring many laughs, tears and fights, but when you finish it you look back at those memories and see those moments as the ones you cherish the most.
With over 50 current sponsors, some of whom have supported the Catch-A-Calf program for more than 50 years and others who are new and come aboard each year, the support of this program is unimaginable. Sponsors range anywhere from corporate businesses, to families, couples and former Catch-A-Calf participants.
What to Expect:
Although the only official requirement of a sponsor is their monetary donation, most sponsors take it much farther than that. Participants are matched with their sponsors by late March-early April of each year. We encourage both parties to get in touch before the Catch-A-Calf breakfast which is historically held on the first weekend in May. At the breakfast, participants and sponsors are able to meet, mingle, and soon head to The Yards to load up the kids calves so they can begin their projects.
Each month, participants write & send a letter to their sponsor telling them the insights on their project and life happenings. A lot of sponsors interact with their participants much beyond the letters; frequent phone calls and emails, making visits to see the calves and watching the participant show at their county and state shows.
The following January, participants make their way back to the National Western Stock Show in Denver. A lot of sponsors coordinate with their participant about their stall sign that hangs above their steer during the NWSS. Here, participants turn in their completed record books, give a 2-minute industry related speech, complete an interview with a panel of judges, and show their steers in showmanship and live evaluation. The morning of the show, sponsors are invited into the barns for refreshments while they watch participants prep their calves. Everyone then heads into historical Stadium Arena for the Catch-A-Calf show and awards ceremony, followed by long goodbyes and load outs.
Catch-A-Calf sponsorship donations are tax deductible. We also have a handful of sponsors who don’t necessarily want to correspond with a participant every month, but who still want to be a monetary sponsor. With that money, we buy the participants show supplies to help get their projects started, and also use that money to make up the difference in our steer purchase prices.
All of our Catch-A-Calves come from the same herd. Although they come from different ranches each year, the NWSS Staff finds a set of calves that are approximately 600-700lbs. come spring time that are all from the same herd. In the past, we have gotten calves from Morgan Ranches, Krebs Ranch, Silver Spur and other ranches.
We would love to speak with anyone who is potentially interested in becoming a Catch-A-Calf sponsor. For sponsorship values or other questions, please contact Clancy or Erin with the NWSS Livestock Office at 303-299-5559.
Ben Duke III, Chairman
Record Books & Letters
4398 Palmer Canyon Rd
Wheatland, WY 82201
Phone: (970) 222-1728
Livestock & CAC Manual:
PO Box 517
Fort Morgan, CO 80701
Phone: (970) 542-3545
National Western Stock Show Staff:
4655 Humboldt Street
Denver, CO 80216