Why do you think really functional cattle can't also be the showring type cattle

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shortyjock89

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Well, we've had some really good show heifers go on to make our best cows.  And yes, they are even "clubby" .  The problem is that there is too much hype surrounding show cattle.  You don't need zipper fronts or fencepost legs, but some people think that they are pretty or whatever.  I don't see the need for big fronts, sickle-hocked cattle either.  Somewhere in the middle is fine with me.  I guess my views are kinda like Tim Ohlde's...I like a cow with just a bit of girth in the front, but she needs to have a trim neck.  I don't need perfectly straight hocks on my cattle, but I do like for them to have a nice set to their legs.
 

knabe

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do judges judge from the feet up enough?  seen an awful lot of "breeding" animals with not enough flex in their pasterns and they get knobs/inflammation at their coronet band.  how can a cow travel with that, especially if she has "extra" capacity from being overfed?  I have a terrible time not looking at the feet enough before i look at the profile.
 

chambero

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This is one of my favorite topics.  

We raise some pretty decent show steers and replacement heifers.  We AI about 20% of our herd, but most of our calves are still out of "cleanup" bulls we buy from the show cattle bloodlines.  We have lots of cattle with Magic, Pistol Pete, Playmate, Meyer 734, Shamrock and some ChiAngus lines.  We put steers in sales at Texas majors every year.  Not high up in sales every year, but we have our moments.  In 2005, we raised the Champion Angus and Reserve Champion Charolais steers at Houston.  We've had several class winners over the past ten years.  I think that puts us in the respectable category.  

That being said, our real money is made on replacement females and the commercial side.  We sell quite a few first calf heifers from those same bloodlines.  Long-term average on 1st calf heifers is about $1800 per head on about 92 head sold as replacements in the last five years.  Again, not eye-popping, but those are real numbers from what we well.  Most of our buyers are extremely happy with them as cows.    Some try to raise show cattle, some just wanted them for commercial purposes.

We have lots of buyers interested in the steer mates to those heifers.  Last year, we were able to get detailed carcass data on them for the first time.  A mixed load of 65 steers and 10 heifers from us graded 72% choice and 66% YG 1 and 2 with 12.88 in ribeyes.  They bought them again this year.

So, I really don't think its valid to say "show" cattle can't be functional.  Maybe the extreme ones can't, but I've seen no hard evidence of it.

The other side of the coin - can "functional" cattle be successful showing.  Again, I'd like to see hard data showing they can't.  If you look at carcass contest results from major steers shows (i.e. Houston - links to which I've posted here before), feedlots would love to have pens full of cattle that hung those kinds of carcasses.  Our county show has always had a carcass contest for the show steers and they always hung good.

I've always thought too much emphasis was placed in heifer shows on size, but I really don't see very many crippled cattle do well at all.

I think this is largely a false perception.  I'd like to hear from others who say otherwise and why?

 

ROAD WARRIOR

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The problem I see with this is the people sorting the cattle. If the "Judges" would take a stand and bury the heifers that you have to look twice at to see if they are heifers or steers,the ones that are too straight and can't cover their tracks and whatever other structural problems they may have. That is the only way to change the showring trend. As long as the judges pick heifers that look like fat steers the trend will continue. I watched a show at a local county fair recently and was appauled by the structural wrecks that were winning or placing high in the class. Makes me wonder if anybody besides me ever looks at the wheels any more. The sad part of the show was in the females where it did not matter if they could walk as long as the had a a$$ like an old maid school teacher. ( No offence to anyone inteneded)  If this trend continues there may not be more than a hand full of good quality functional females left to breed up from when the powers that be wake up and decide that those big, fat, staggy cripples are not the future of the cattle industry. Off the soap box now, have a nice day.
 

knabe

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road warrior, you may have hit on something, and respecting totally what chambero is saying, perhaps the problem is not with what's winning, but the placings after the winners not getting buried enough.  do these placements matter that much, they probably do to the people who are directly below them with different issues such as not as good a fit job, not as much finish etc.  i realize this is a hypothetical placing, but just going on what i've seen at the two most recent shows i went to, bad wheels and cover placed over smaller size (with correct birth weight?) and less cover with better wheels.
 

Jill

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I'm with Chambero on this one, I guess the reason I asked this question, we don't raise cattle for the commercial segment, we are focused on the show ring end of things, but I have to believe that we also raise sound, functional cattle.  We have raised steers that won the belt buckle and the National Jr. Maine show, so I guess we have had some success, but I don't I guess understand why everyone thinks the heifers we raise can't go out and be functional cattle also.  When we look for a show heifer, we start from the ground up, if they don't put the back foot where the front one was they are not even considered and it doesn't matter what the calf looks like.  I do understand we like our show ring cattle with hair, but are there really that many other differences?  Not talking about the cute teddy bear type, but the show ring type heifer. Thanks for starting this thread because I do want to understand where all of you are coming from on this.
 

ROAD WARRIOR

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Jill - Cudos to you for understanding the ground up theory. I'm afraid you may be in the minority when it comes to picking females to retain out of show steer bred females. I recently went with a friend of mine to look at steer calves for next years shows. The old cows were pretty good, the middle aged cows were fair but their young cows were terribly straight and had no flex to them. I guess the bright side of this is that if you have a pasture full of too straight cripples you will no longer need those big pastures for the fact that they can't get from one end to the other.
 

DL

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I think it is the judge(s) {here come da}

There is a certain phenotype that is popular among some - the short fat hairy straight legged little "puds" that look a lot like steers in a dress - some people like them and they do win...chances are that once the dress is off they don't do much.

Then there is the free moving, deep sided, moderate framed high capacity female that looks like she will be cow - sometimes she wins and she will do well in the pasture - she didn't have to wear a dress to win but she did get her hair done.

And then of course there is politics .....although I can't imagine George Bush on a halter
  ;D ;D
 

Telos

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Great question! I hope everyone chimes in on this one. This is better then watching CNN... well, except maybe Larry King.
I have only had a minuscule amount of beef cows in my life time compared to everyone here, but find this educational.

The one thing I've learned when it comes to visual appraisal of cows is that they need to be mobile and athletic. I like and will only buy potential cow prospects if they have a loose pliable skeletal structure. Pasterns need to be springy with a nice size sound foot and a deep heel. I hate big round bone because I've always run in to structural problems with them. Those flatter boned cows flex in their pasterns better from what I have seen. The vertebra has to be the same way too... loose and springy. Don't like those roachy- rigid made girls. I'll sacrifice some of the other things just to have those,  but also need some capacity, fleshing ability, mothering and all the other economic traits.

I definantly think functional cattle and show cattle can and should be one and the same with the show cattle just being the special individuals that tie everything together.
 

bluegrass

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I have had this same discussion many times with many people in all parts of the country. It is crazy how much different functional can be a few miles down the road. I think the general consensus is that an easy keeping, 1250 lbs.,free moving, good uddered, female that weans a 500 lb plus calf every year for 10 years or more is a functional cow. In some breeds of cattle these kind can be champions in the showring as well as the pasture. In most purebred showcattle a 1200 lb senior yearling heifer will get hammered by a bunch of 1450 lb larger framed females that eat like a Hippo. It is just the way it is. How often will you see a champion female at a major show have a full brother be champion steer at a major show, does not happen very often.
 

DL

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Lets face it - in many instances a cattle show is a beauty contest and form and function are not connected. It seems to occur in all species - so perhaps it is a natural law!! :eek: :eek: Most halter quarter horses aren't able to do much more than look pretty and with those little tiny feet and legs and big butts - they would never last long working cattle. Most show Golden Retrievers look beautiful as they strutt their long flowing well coiffed coat - but go after a bird?? Despita a valiant attempt to make Miss America look like an intellectual most contestants are pretty fluff. Now I know that the show and working Beefpaca is the same animal, but most other species they are different kettles of fish  :eek: :eek: :eek:
 

bluegrass

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I agree with ya DL, that's why they are called "SHOW" cattle and not just cattle. Perhaps the people that don't like the type cattle that win shows should try entering feed test or other performance type compititions.
 

DL

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We could start a racing bovine circuit....it might catch on - or jumping, remember the cow that jumped over the moon? Inside every bovine is an elite athlete waiting to be unleashed ;) ;)
 

Telos

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I like the concept of the slick steer shows. Not much much "pretty", but some good steers that are easier to evaluate. At the same time I really liked looking at those champion steers at the NAILE this last year.

I have misspelled definitely at least six times this year. I can do better.  Spell check would help, but keep forgetting to use it.   :)))
 

shortyjock89

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Telos said:
I like the concept of the slick steer shows. Not much much "pretty", but some good steers that are easier to evaluate. At the same time I really liked looking at those champion steers at the NAILE this last year.

I have misspelled definitely at least six times this year. I can do better.  Spell check would help, but keep forgetting to use it.   :)))

I personally don't like the slick shear thing.  Don't want to open a can of worms here, but if you're going to slick the calf out for the show, why don't you just have a feed evaluation and carcass contest and skip the hoof placing?
 

renegade

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I agree - i like to see the results of my rinsing and brushing - how it makes my animal look better and how it pays off in the show ring.
 

DLD

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Put me down as a second to what Chambero said.

The title of this post seems to assume that show cattle cannot be functional... That's simply not so.

I really think a better question would be "Why do you think non-functional cattle sometimes win in the showring?"

My answer to that is that the judges that use un-sound, impractical cattle to win shows haven't had to make a living raising and selling cattle that either end up in the feedlot or as seedstock. The one's that use non-functional cattle (to win in the show ring) simply don't know and/or don't care what those kind mean to the industry.
 

ELBEE

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Here is how I see it! The problem lies in the old cliche', "When in doubt, frame'm out." It's not that the breeding stock are that unsound, just too large for my tastes.

Everyone talks about this "#1250" cow! Guys, I don't own a cow that light. My 2-yearolds only weight #1000 at calving time, but mature out well over #1250. Most of the Shorty show heifers have a yearling weight more than #1250. 

Traveling around in the "power" states, I see a lot more ton cows, than #1250's.

Just last week a judge rolled one of our heifers, his reason, "too short, too heavily muscled, and too over fed". That's why you don't see me dragging cattle around the show circuit, "when in doubt, frame,m out", I'm already beat!
 

ELBEE

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Oh, and by the way judges, don't place my heifer last in class, then tell everyone what a good cow she'll make. If she's last in class, she'll make a piss-poor cow!

O.K., I'm done venting now!
 
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