For practically a half century, people at Running Creek Ranch have equipped yearly for one in all agriculture’s main occasions: the National Western Stock Show.
This yr is not any totally different.
The ranch in Elizabeth was bustling Tuesday making ready “yearling” bulls, ones born final spring, to point out on the National Western. The black bulls have been ushered into a giant purple barn the place they have been washed and dried as a part of the primping to make sure the animals look their greatest when judges and consumers test them out.
Joey Freund, supervisor and co-owner of the ranch, and the remainder of the crew deliberate to carry the bulls to the inventory present advanced in Denver on Friday, the day earlier than the 113th annual National Western formally begins. The ranch, began by Freund’s father, Joe, in 1970, focuses on elevating registered Limousin bulls.
“All the guys here look forward to going to it,” stated Freund, whose 15-year-old son, Soren, will present a lamb on the National Western.
The Freunds will even carry their Belgian draft horses to compete within the Draft Horse Show and Pulling Contest on Jan. 25-27. Freund’s father helped revive the draft-horse competitors in 1980. Instead of vehicles or tractors, the ranch makes use of groups of two draft horses to haul the hay to feed their cattle.
“It’s more efficient. One guy can go out and feed the cows,” Freund stated. “You don’t have to get out of the truck and take it out of gear. The horses all drive on voice command. They just walk along at a slow pace. You can look at the cows and you can see things a lot better. And it’s just enjoyable.”
For a number of years, Freund’s father has invited others who present draft horses to maintain their animals at Running Creek Ranch throughout the National Western. The ranch, with its rolling grasslands, hills, and cottonwood bushes alongside a meandering creek, is barely 50 miles southeast of Denver.
“I think last year we had 30 teams staying and people from all over: Pennsylvania, Florida, Oklahoma. It gives them a spot where they can put their horses up. The horses kind of get acclimated to the altitude,” Freund stated. “I think more than anything people just love to come out and get some Colorado sunshine.”
Showing off the draft horses is among the Freund family’s passions. The nitty gritty of the National Western for them takes place within the sprawling stockyards on the advanced grounds. That’s the place the family’s “carload” of bulls — a complete of 10 — will hang around for a couple of days. At one level, the bulls will even be taken as a bunch to an area to be reviewed by judges.
As the bulls that have been headed to the National Western have been tended to within the barn, Freund’s son, Ethan, defined the main target is on sending animals which can be the identical age and are uniform in look, one of many qualities they are going to be judged on.
The National Western is the one inventory present that reveals cattle by pens — a complete of three cattle — and the carload, Freund stated. Showing the animals in a bunch known as a carload as a result of the cattle used to reach on the yards by practice automobile, he added.
“Down in the yards, it’s down to earth. People are doing business,” Freund stated.
It’s a chance to speak to potential consumers, go over the sorts of traits the family breeds, make new connections and meet up with common clients and fellow ranchers from all around the nation.
Buyers from throughout the nation and the world attend the National Western, offering an important platform for ranchers. The Running Creek Ranch has bought semen from its bulls for synthetic insemination to operations in Great Britain, Scotland, Mexico, Canada and Australia.
Running Creek was one of many first ranches within the space to begin utilizing synthetic insemination on a big scale, Freund stated. The ranch began elevating Limousin cattle solely after shopping for a herd in 1979.
“We just fell in love with the Limousin breed, the quality of their traits, the ease of calving and the quality of the carcass,” Freund stated.
The breed, which originated in France and is thought for its sturdiness, additionally requires much less hay and feed than different cattle, Freund stated. “They’re just very efficient animals in their consumption of forage.”
The family labored with folks at Colorado State University to realize the sorts of outcomes they wished. The ranchers intently monitor the traits of the bulls, cows and offspring. Running Creek focuses on promoting 2-year-old bulls, somewhat than 15-month-old bulls that different ranches market. Freund stated the older animals are extra profitable breeders.
A great exhibiting on the National Western pays dividends all year long. People who speak to the family on the present could contact them later to debate a deal.
“You see people there you haven’t seen since last year. You talk to people and you compare notes. You ask what their weather was like or how did their calves do this year,” Freund stated. “They might need tried a brand new, upcoming bull and also you’re a bit of skeptical, so that you ask, ‘What did you think of those calves?’
“That’s the thing: the friendship and the camaraderie,” he added.