The Major Stock Show season is upon us! Summer jackpots are ending, and those of us living in the stock show world are setting our sights on the Majors.
Growing up a stock show kid, we went to every show possible to make sure we gave our animals and ourselves every opportunity to succeed. During that time, I learned being in the stock show industry is more than collecting buckles, ribbons, and trophies. It’s about the memories you make, the people you meet, and the time you get to spend with the people that mean the most to you.
That is why I will be ranking my top 5 major stock shows for you and the reasons they are my personal favorites.
Major #5 – The San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo
“Let’s Rodeo San Antonio!” are the four famous words you’ll hear when you visit the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo. Coming in at number 5, the San Antonio Stock Show always brings me a sense of comfort. (Maybe because I was born in San Antonio.) I feel very relaxed there and not rushed when at this event and have a lot of fond memories of this major.
My dad was on the Calf Scramble Committee when we lived in San Antonio, and I was there a lot. Being able to go as a kid to see all the animals and rodeo was awesome. Now, going back and seeing it from an older perspective is something I will always cherish about my 5th favorite major.
Major #4 – The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
Staying in Texas, the 4th major on my list is the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Known as the World’s Largest Livestock Show, Houston’s show will continue to be a family favorite.
My dad was born and raised in Houston and attended this stock show in the 80s. He was fortunate enough to take his Shorthorn heifer to show and win his Calf Scramble Breed. Fast forward 30-years, my brother accomplished the same feat. I said earlier that the stock show world is more than buckles and winning, and that is still true. These family wins are accessories to the times spent and memories gained in the steer lines, setting up, and attending the rodeo when we had off time.
Houston is a show that we will go to every year, regardless of whether we have an animal to exhibit. It’s a great place to catch up with friends made throughout years of showing and a way to give back to an outstanding organization.
Major #3 – The North American International Livestock Exposition
We’re flying across the country to Louisville, Kentucky, for number 3. The North American International Livestock Exposition or NAILE. Known as the largest all-breed, purebred livestock show in the world. This is one of the more prestigious events in the country. It crowns the National Champions in collegiate livestock judging.
While I did not show livestock at this major, I did attend the event for Livestock Judging in my college days. The city, the people, and the quality of stock presented year after year, make it an event worth revisiting. Sitting in the stands of Freedom Hall, watching high caliber cattle walk across the green shavings, was something I greatly enjoyed. That is why this major is sitting an easy 3rd for me.
Major #2 – The National Western Stock Show and Rodeo
We journey outside of Texas again for a show that holds a piece of my heart. The National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver, Colorado. The “Super Bowl of Livestock Shows.”
From “The Yards,” churning with cattle, to watching the exhibitions on top of “The Hill.” NWSS history draws people from all over the world. I fondly remember the time I spent judging livestock for the Tarleton State Judging team. Watching premier stock walk across the arena and taking classes with the best-of-the-best was quite an experience.
Major #1 – The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo
Rounding up my Top 5 Majors list is a major in the great state of Texas – the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. Being from North Texas, FWSSR was a show that we never missed. This was my family’s “home field show.” Relatives from all over attended to watch my brothers and I exhibit projects we worked on all year. You get a sense of ease in a place close to home, where you have family and friends there to support you. Apart from great times with family and friends, we also enjoyed many successes when showing our livestock at FWSSR. We set goals to have fun, give thanks for every opportunity, and try to win our shows.
My brothers and I are done with our livestock showing careers. But for all the good times the Fort Worth Stock Show gave my family, we decided that it was our turn to give back to the program. We now, as a family, donate to the Calf Scramble Committee to help local kids with their showing careers.
Have a favorite stock show I didn’t mention? Tell me about it and why everyone should check it out in the comment section below.