Filed Under:

The Oscars Of Livestock In The Mile High City

Play associated audio

The single largest cattle show in the United States, the National Western Stock Show, is now under way in Denver. Fans roar overhead, keeping the air cool and the odors at bay, as Jeanette Fuller spiffs up her Black Angus — with product.

"High-strength hairspray, basically, just trying to get the hair to accentuate the good things about her and kind of cover up the bad things about her," Fuller says.

The barn is like a dressing room backstage at the Oscars, except it is the country's premier Angus show. Fuller, who raises certified Angus beef near Twin Falls, Idaho, styles the tail meticulously. She then buffs up its coat so it shines.

"We want them to look their best," she says.

Almost everyone in the audience on the show floor is a prominent cattle breeder or buyer.

"This event ... has been going over a hundred years," John McCurry of Burton, Kan., says as he herds his senior heifer calf out of the arena.

McCurry is modest and matter-of-fact, what you would expect of a cowboy. But beneath the brim of his tan hat, a subtle smile forms as he clutches a big blue ribbon. Winning here at the Super Bowl for the cattle industry is prestigious, and great for business, participants say.

"This is the toughest show in the world, in terms of quality Angus cattle," McCurry says.

There are also sheep and goats pleading for their dinner here in the small livestock barn, and hogs, chickens, horse shows, rodeos and vendor stalls.

There's a lot of leather. And you can buy longhorns — your very own longhorn for $224.95.

There's even bull semen for sale.

"We are a semen sales business from Great Falls, Mont.," salesman Chase Murray says.

It's actually a lucrative market, according to Murray. "You don't have to spend a whole bunch of money to get one of these good bulls," he says. "You can just breed, buy some semen, to get better replacement heifers."

The bull semen and cattle business in general is booming right now. So Reece Aglin didn't think twice about gassing up his truck and trailer to drive the 700 miles from his ranch in Circle, Mont.

Outside, in the sunny stockyards, he's tending to his prized purebred shorthorn. "He's probably around 1,800 pounds," Aglin says. "He's just a pretty outstanding show bull; he's got lots of power, lots of hip, good thick muscle — overall a pretty amazing bull."

Unlike the smaller cows inside, this shorthorn won't be competing. Aglin is just here to show him off and network through next Sunday, the end of the show.

Copyright 2012 KUNC-FM. To see more, visit http://www.kunc.org.

NPR

Cult Survivor Documents 2 Decades Inside 'Holy Hell'

Will Allen directed the documentary Holy Hell, which depicts his experience as a videographer and member of The Buddhafield cult. Allen used his own footage, as well as his interviews with other former members, to make this documentary.
NPR

Evaporated Cane Juice? Puh-leeze. Just Call It Sugar, FDA Says

Companies cultivating a healthful image often list "evaporated cane juice" in their products' ingredients. But the FDA says it's really just sugar, and that's what food labels should call it.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour - May 27, 2016

Congress votes to override DC's 2013 ballot initiative on budget autonomy. Virginia governor faces a federal investigation over international finance and lobbying rules. And DC, Maryland and Virginia move to create a Metro safety oversight panel.

NPR

After Departure Of Uber, Lyft In Austin, New Companies Enter The Void

Earlier this month, voters in Austin, Texas, rejected an effort to overturn the city's rules for ride-hailing companies. Uber and Lyft tried to prevent fingerprinting of their drivers, and now both have left town. A few other ride-share companies have popped up to help fill the void. NPR explores how people are getting around town without Uber and Lyft.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.