“I thought he looked pretty decent, but we weren’t expecting anything.”
These are the words of an excited 19-year-old Sydnee Gerken, Cashion, Okla., after her steer, Richard, claimed the Grand Champion Bred-and-owned Steer banner at the 2017 National Junior Angus Show in Des Moines.
Richard, whose registered name is SMG Insight 6510, is a March 2016 son of PVF Insight 0129. He is out of a female that Sydnee showed at the 2013 NJAS in Kansas City. Although the Angus breed shows steers by age, they are all still weighed, and he weighed in at 1,502 pounds on show day in Des Moines.
“It was awesome to have a bred-and-owned animal do well that I watched grow up,” Sydnee said of Richard, whose one and only show was in Des Moines.
With Richard’s size, some might have anticipated him to look too big or stale, however, with proper nutrition and management, Sydnee kept his appearance fresh, even in the 90-degree plus weather they experienced the week of the show. She attributes a lot of his performance to his feeding program, which includes Sure Champ®.
The Gerken family started feeding Sure Champ about seven years ago, when they were at a show where their calves went off feed. When they got home, they started feeding it to their entire show string, and have fed it ever since. They even fed it to their show pigs for the few years they showed another species.
“I’m intrigued with how feed can change the animal’s body,” Sydnee said. “Sure Champ keeps him eating, and as long as he’s got feed in front of him, and he’s eating, he’s good!”
Due to the excessive heat wave that hit the Midwest during the week of the NJAS, the Gerken family decided to try Sure Champ Climate Control for the first time.
“We knew the trip up to Iowa would be hotter than we liked, but he hasn’t gone off feed or water once,” Sydnee said. “He’s actually consuming more water and looks fresher, thanks to the Climate Control. My sisters will plan to use this product on their heifers at the Tulsa State Fair this fall.”
“At first we were just using Sure Champ to help him keep on feed while we were getting ready for the show. About a month before we left, I threw out a Vita Charge® Stress Tub for him and the other calves in the pen. The three of these products combined helped him stay on track by keeping his gut in check, helping reduce the stress of the Oklahoma heat, and giving him the extra boost before we left and during the week to make him ‘show ready.’”
Sydnee, a 10-year-member of the National Junior Angus Association (NJAA), is the oldest of three sisters who showed at the NJAS. Richard, was the only animal Sydnee took this year, as she was also running for a seat on the NJAA Board of Directors. And, her name was announced Friday night as one of six newly elected directors.
Sydnee will be a sophomore at Butler Community College in Kansas this fall, where she is studying Agricultural Business. She is the daughter of David and Cara Gerken, with a career goal of getting involved in ruminant nutrition. She’s already learned that keeping her cattle healthy and eating can lead to their success in the show ring. It’s always fulfilling to see our young Sure Champ customers show an interest in animal nutrition, and we wish Sydnee all the luck in her future endeavors!