Catch-A-Calf Program

January 8-23, 2022

Catch-A-Calf, one of National Western's most loved traditions!

Participants come from Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming to compete in the 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-ready steer at the National Western Stock Show. The steers are judged on production and carcass quality, while the participants are judged on showmanship, record books, and a personal interview.
The Grand and Reserve Grand Champion participants sell their steers at the Auction of Junior Livestock Champions held on the final Friday of the Stock Show.


Applications for the 2021-2022 program have closed. Applications for 2022-2023 will open in the Fall of 2021 and are due December 15, 2021.

Please note, this program is only open to active 2021 4-H members ages 12-18 (who must be residents) in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska & Wyoming. Please refer to the Rules and Regulations for further information.

Contact Us

NWSS Staff: Clancy Anderson
Amy Kelley
Megan Berg

Important Information

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.
Rianna Chaney, 2020 Participant
2021- 2022 Schedule

Weekend of May 8, 2021: Steers distributed to all 2021-2022 participants – Location TBA

October 16, 2021: Catch-A-Calf fitting and showmanship clinic – Location TBA

Thursday, January 6, 2022 | 12 p.m. – CAC steers can begin arriving in the barns

Friday, January 7, 2022
12:00 p.m. – All steers must be in place
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 8, 2022 TBA – Interview Process – Stadium Arena Suites

Sunday, January 9, 2022 | 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 2022 rodeo performances:
Friday, January 14, 2022 (matinee performance)
Saturday, January 15, 2022 (matinee performance)
Sunday, January 16, 2022 (matinee & evening performances).