DENVER, CO — It was an emotional moment at this year’s National Western Stock Show (NWSS) when judges slapped the grand champion market steer. At the end of the lead rope was the son of a well-known and respected cattleman from South Dakota who along with three others, lost his life in an airplane accident in 2014.
Following the deaths 10 years ago of Nick Reimann, 33, Ree Heights, Logan Rau, 25, Java, Brent Beitelspacher,37, Bowdle and pilot D.J. Fischer, 30, of Gettysburg, who were returning to Gettysburg, S.D., from a cattle sale in Texas, there was a huge outpouring of tributes and support for the young men who lost their lives and for their families and friends left behind.
In time, Nick’s family including his widow Kyrstin, son Croix and daughter Cannon along with extended family, created the Nick Reimann Memorial Traveling Trophy, established and presented annually to the exhibitor of the Grand Champion Market Steer at the National Western Stock Show, the Super Bowl of livestock shows.
This year, that honor went to Nick’s son, Croix who exhibited the Grand Champion Market Steer at this year’s NWSS – home to some of the most elite junior market shows in the country. Between junior market goats, sheep, hogs, and steers more than 1,500 head of 4-H/FFA livestock exhibit at the NWS.
Yet to come is the prestigious Junior Livestock Champion Auction. Held on the last Friday of the Stock Show, (Jan. 19, 2024), the Junior Auction begins with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at 4:30 pm in the National Western Club. The Auction begins at 6:30 pm in the Beef Palace Auction Arena.
Of the thousands of junior market animals that compete at the National Western Stock Show each year, only 96 of the very best qualify for the exciting Auction of Junior Livestock Champions. The auction is the final marketplace for the ribbon-winning steers, lambs, hogs, and goats that were raised by junior exhibitors, 4-H and FFA youngsters ranging in age from 9 to 18. The auction of Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion animals is televised live on Denver’s 9NEWS, and winning bids have reached as high as $200,000.
The Auction of Junior Livestock Champions continues to encourage today’s youth to seek a future in agriculture, and to further their education. A majority of the winning bid price goes directly to the Junior Exhibitor, and 10% of each bid price is donated to support the National Western Scholarship Trust.