Calgary – He had 17,000 reasons to smile.
Grand Champion Braydon Thompson, 19, of Lloydminster, Saskatchewan earned a $12,000 scholarship and $5,000 in prize money for a grand total of $17,000 on Sunday during the 2019 Calgary Stampede Junior Steer Classic at the Western Nutrien Event Centre.
It’s the first win for Thompson, who said it’s been a long journey.
“He was a little green when I got him, but he’s really come around in the last month,” Thompson said, adding the cattle business runs in the Thompson family.
“Since it got so advanced, we looked at buying steer instead of just raising them, so we’ve been buying them for the last three years.”
Thompson worked hard to keep his winning-steer fresh.
“He lives in a barn during the day so that doesn’t wreck his hair, plus I rinse him every day for 30 mins in cold water.”
Thompson’s not sure what he is going to do with his scholarship yet but does plan on going back to school.
Equally excited about his Reserve Champion win is 20-year-old Toby Noble, also from Lloydminster. He earned an $8,000 scholarship and $3,000 in cash. Noble, who has been working with steers for six years now, also won Reserve Champion in 2016.
“It’s really exciting and pretty cool to win with a buddy, too,” Noble said of his friend Thompson. “We all kind of work together and it works out pretty good. It’s very exciting.”
As part of the Calgary Stampede’s commitment to developing the next generation of agriculture advocates, the Junior Steer Classic show is dedicated to youth competitors aged 9-21 years with over $73,000 in scholarships and prizes doled out.
There were 65 competitors in 10 classes during the competition, which culminated with the final round that saw the top two steers from each class face off before Judge Brigham Stewart of Washington, Kansas, who then chose the top six.
“The cattle were good and the top end were fresh and built right,” Stewart said of the quality of the competition.
He chose the winner based on his overall appearance.
“The way he handled his muscle on the move, his skeleton and held himself together on the standstill, he was incredible. He had enough muscle, he had enough shape and … carried and handled himself the best.”
After the competition, the Grand Champion steer was auctioned off for $15,500 while the Reserve Champion steer was sold for $3,500. The money goes back into the scholarship fund for future winners.
Visit ag.calgarystampede.com/results for full results from the Junior Steer Classic.
About the Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede celebrates the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of the west. The Calgary Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through our world-renowned Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. Exemplifying the theme We’re Greatest Together; we are a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and promotes western heritage and values. All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.
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