PEORIA, Ill. — Despite all the challenges of holding a showmanship competition during a pandemic, more than 400 exhibitors showed 565 cattle during the three-day junior beef showmanship event as part of the Illinois Beef Expo this year.
“Morale was really high,” said Betty Haynes, director of communications for the Illinois Beef Association, which organizes the event. “Our juniors were so excited to show.”
The showmanship and trade show were March 12-14 at Exposition Gardens in Peoria. The Illinois Performance Tested Bull Sale was Feb. 25 in Macomb. Usually both parts of the Illinois Beef Expo are held together at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield in February.
It was a big and also safe event, Haynes said.
“I am happy we were able to put it together,” said Mareah Volk, IBA director of industry relations and coordinator of the Illinois Beef Expo.
She and her team started planning the event in September and knew by late fall there would have to be changes to meet COVID-19 protocols. The show did look different, with many people stalling and preparing their animals on their trailers instead in the barns, she said.
Still, they got a chance to see people they hadn’t seen in months and to experience the fun of a showmanship event.
“It was a good thing for everyone who had missed interacting,” Volk said.
A lot of parents told Volk that when they weren’t able to go anywhere last year, the kids kept working with their animals. This show gave them an opportunity “to show off their hard work and dedication,” she said.
The expo also included a trade show spread over three buildings so exhibitors and participants had plenty of room to social distance, Volk said.
“We were so thankful we got to hold it at some capacity,” she said.
Ten breed champions vied for the Grand Champion Market Animal title at the 2021 Illinois Beef Expo March 13 in Peoria.
Kashen Ellerbrock of Atkinson, Illinois, led his champion Chianina steer to the banner, winning among 185 head exhibited in the junior steer show.
There was a two-ring show format to allow exhibitors to show cattle twice in one weekend. Ring A was open to both in-state and out-of-state exhibitors, while Ring B was open to in-state exhibitors only. Out-of-state entries included Iowa and Ohio.
Judge Shane Meier of Stonewall, Texas, selected the champion crossbred steer, shown by Nalaney Guyer of Robinson, Illinois, as Reserve Grand Champion Steer in Ring A.
Third overall steer was the Reserve Champion Crossbred Steer shown by Max Bedeker of Seneca.
Judge Jon DeClerk of College Station, Texas, selected the champion crossbred steer, shown by Nalaney Guyer of Robinson, as Reserve Grand Champion Steer in Ring B.
Third overall steer was the Reserve Champion Crossbred Steer shown by Kade Gensini of Hennepin.
Thirteen breed champions vied for the Grand Champion Heifer competition title with 390 head exhibited in the junior heifer show.
Ashtin Guyer of Robinson led her Champion Angus Heifer to the banner in Ring A. McKlay Gensini of Hennepin led her Champion AOB Heifer to the banner in Ring B.
The Champion AOB Heifer by McKlay Gensini of Hennepin was chosen as Reserve Grand Champion Heifer in Ring A.
Third overall Heifer was the Champion Simmental Heifer shown by Millie Lashmett of Winchester.
Judge Shane Meier selected the Champion Angus Heifer, shown by Ashtin Guyer of Robinson, as Reserve Grand Champion Heifer in Ring B. Third overall Heifer was the champion Chianina Heifer exhibited by William Miller of Gridley.