The National Western Stock Show is the premier livestock show in the United States, and it draws talented competitors from across the nation to contend for glory on the Hill. The variety and intensity found only at national shows is what keeps contestants like 16-year-old Maddie Unruh from Peyton, Colorado coming back.
“My favorite part of National Western is seeing the different goats from all around the country,” Maddie said. “National shows like this are always fun because of that. They are a lot bigger and there is more competition. I love that.”
Maddie started showing market goats at the young age of eight, and she has been working to improve each year. She has been showing at the county level for eight years, and this is her third year exhibiting at National Western. Competing here has only fueled her competitive fire.
“My goal this year is to raise the grand champion goat at my county fair, that is what everyone wants, but I’m going to make it happen,” Maddie said. “By going to National Western, I get to see what the best goat in the country looks like and even compete with it. By seeing the different animals, it gives me a chance to really improve my performance both in showmanship and market classes.”
Maddie is just now breaking into boer goat production. This was a particularly special year, because her market goat Jack is the first one she exhibited that she kidded out of her own herd.
“I probably won’t raise my own goats forever, but I definitely want to raise my own animals while I am still in 4-H,” Maddie said. “It made it more special, and I got a lot closer to Jack since I raised him, and I am proud of that.”She credits much of her success to the support and relationship she has with her dad, Clint Unruh. He is the official veterinarian for her county, and he has always been involved in Maddie’s showing career.
About the author: Sydney Paul, 2020 Marketing & PR Intern
Sydney Paul grew up in the ranching community of Yoder, Colorado and was a member of 4-H for 13 years. She primarily showed market goats and market steers, and she had her own breeding boer operation for many years. She is now a senior at Colorado State University studying Journalism and Media Communication with minors in Sports Management and English. She has spent two years working in media relations for the Denver Broncos and hopes to pursue a career in sports with a professional team or outlet like ESPN. She has attended the Stock Show for 22 years, and it has been an honor to combine her agriculture background with her love of journalism and media relations interning at the National Western.