Since 1982, the Sandhills Cattle Association has been conducting its annual Educational, Performance & Carcass Contest. This year’s awards banquet for the contest will be held on August 20, 2021, starting at 7 pm at the Cherry County Fairgrounds 4-H Building in Valentine, Nebraska. This year, seventeen contestants brought in 84 calves from across the Sandhills to compete against one another at Cottonwood Feeders near Stuart, Nebraska. The calves arrived in mid-November, and the final group shipped to Tyson Foods of Lexington on July 15.
This contest is made to simulate real-life feedlot scenarios for the participants. Contestants retain ownership during the competition, with the Sandhills Cattle Association paying expenses up to the final payments to the owner. Once calves are marketed, the gross revenue made from each calf is reduced by the contest expenses incurred by that calf, then a small percentage is retained by the Sandhills Cattle Association to continue the support of the contest. The final payment is distributed to the owners along with ultrasound data, actual carcass merit, feedlot performance data for individual animals, and pen averages.
One previous contestant is quoted as saying, “The EP&C contest offers members the opportunity to participate in a retained ownership situation. Where else can you learn about feedlot performance, ultrasound carcass data, actual carcass data, and marketing on a value-based grid while risking as little as one head? You get all this information while you are helping to support your association.”
Categories for awards include carcass quality, rate of gain, profitability, and overall for steers and heifers. A Best Three Head category is for contestants who have at least three head in the competition. The top three of their calves scores are added together with the top score winning that division. Buckles and other prizes are awarded to the participants in this friendly yet competitive competition.
Full contest results will be released after the banquet, but if you’d like to enjoy a 16-ounce prime rib supper provided by Niobrara Valley Vineyards and learn more about the contest, you must RSVP by August 13 by contacting Liz Kierl at 402.376.2310 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website to RSVP at https://www.sandhillscattle.com/event-details/ep-c-awards-banquet. Meals are free for contestants but are $30 per plate for those who are not competing.