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The Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) livestock judging team recently took top honors in two contests to kick off the New Year. NEO won the Willow Springs Classic and received numerous other accolades at one of the most prestigious livestock shows in the nation – Denver’s National Western Stock Show (NWSS). As a precursor to the National Western contest, NEO placed first out of 13 teams at the Willow Springs Classic, which is a smaller contest hosted by Willow Springs Cattle Company in Prairie Grove, Arkansas. This is the first time in NEO’s history to claim the title, and NEO swept the contest by 19 points.

Willow Springs Classic: NEO named Champion Team Dylan Davis: first overall, first in cattle, second in reasons Jake Pickering: third overall, seventh in small species, fourth in cattle Natalie Hofschulte: second in small species Later in the week NEO competed in the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado where NEO was Champion Team in the reasons room, which was also a first for the team and placed third overall out of 28 teams. NEO won second in sheep and fourth in swine. In addition to the team’s accomplishments, sophomore Jake Pickering of Oroville, California, placed second overall, fourth in reasons and fifth in swine. Sophomore Dylan Davis of Chatsworth, Georgia was fourth in sheep and goats.

The team is coached by Tyler Dewey and Chris Hofschulte. “This was a great victory for our group,” Dewey said. “We have had tremendous success in smaller contests all year, but it felt great to get the monkey off of our backs at one of the major contests. I am truly excited about our upcoming contests.”

The team also competed in the carload competition, which is held only at the National Western Stock Show. Carload features four pens of cattle where competitors must rank in first through fourth place. Each pen contains four cattle that are judged as a group, unlike the livestock competition, which judges cattle individually. NEO finished sixth, and Natalie Hofschulte finished fourth individually. Other individual honors include: NWSS – Livestock:  Pickering: second overall, fourth in reasons and fifth in swine Davis: fourth in sheep and goats

History of the National Western According to the association’s website, in 1906 the first show opened on Monday, Jan. 29 and ran for six days. Attendance was estimated at 15,000 and the grand champion steer sold for 33 cents a pound, 23 cents over the market price. In 1931, the 25th National Western presented the first rodeo in conjunction with the livestock and horse show. In 1954, the Westernaires, (performers on horseback), made their first appearance at the rodeo. In 1981 the show increased to 12 days and included 21 rodeo performances. A still-standing record of $301,000 was paid at auction for a Hereford bull. In 2006, the National Western celebrated its 100th anniversary. The show’s attendance reached 726,972 for the 16-day show and the grand champion steer sold for $75,000 or $58 per pound.  More than 15,000 head of horses, cattle, sheep, swine, goats, llamas, alpacas, bison, yak, poultry and rabbits step foot on the grounds of the National Western Stock Show each year. The National Western Stock Show is noted for hosting the world’s only carload and pen cattle show, held in the historic Denver Union Stockyards.

Team members include: Michaela Branen – Collinsville, Okla. Travis Brewer – Guymon, Okla. Rachel Calvert – Rocky Comfort, Mo. Phil Collier – Vilonia, Ark. Brody Cridlebaugh- Princeton, Mo. Dylan Davis- Chatsworth, Ga. Canyon Dewey – Lavaca, Ark. Chelsea Ellington – Broadway, Va. Natalie Hofschulte – Wyandotte, Okla. Cole Kaufman- Weyers Cave, Va. Clay McGuire- Auburn, Ala. Jake Pickering- Oroville, Calif. Morgan Scroggin – Greenbrier, Ark.

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