Weld County kids get benefit of showing animals on larger scale, reuniting with friends
January 18, 2017
DENVER — With one year of eligibility left, Katie Pettit figured this would be the year to enter the National Western Stock Show.
The 18-year-old Pierce resident showed two hogs at the market show Wednesday. Her younger brother, Colton, also showed hogs.
"With it being my last year to come here and compete for sale, we figured we'd give it a shot," she said.
While the day didn't go well for her, she said the experience is what she really wanted, and it turned out to be a positive one.
Pettit has shown at the Weld County Fair, so she had a sense of what showing at National Western would be like. There was one aspect she didn't expect — the pleasant interactions.
"I wasn't expecting them to be as nice here with so many more people," she said.
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It was a crowded scene in Stadium No. 1 of the National Western Complex. The showing arena was about the same size as that of the Weld County Fair, but the number of kids per class was about 20-30, double that of the fair. In Weld, it's normally more like 10-15.
Pettit's brother, Colton, 14, took third in a class of 28 hogs in the duroc breed competition. As it was his first time too, he said he wants to come back and continue to show while he can.
But he said the experience, while fun, was overwhelming due to the large number of competitors.
But there's an appeal for larger shows like National Western. For some who showed hogs Wednesday, it was the competition; others treated the show as if it were a reunion.
Taylor Starks, 17, of Rifle also was in her first year of showing at National Western.
"I really just wanted to get the experience and try it," she said. Starks lived in Kersey until about a year ago, when her dad's job took them to Rifle. Competing in Denver this year gave her the chance to reunite with her Weld County friends. They even got pens next to one another.
Caden Bangert, 9, of Fort Lupton, spent time with his cousins from Grand Junction while he wasn't showing. Because they don't get to see each other that often, Caden said it was nice being around them.
One of those cousins was 10-year-old Logan Bangert. Being with them was Caden's favorite part.
"I've been playing around and spending time with my friends and cousins," he said. "That and showing."