Winning Big at the Badger
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Ever since his first show in fourth grade, sophomore Adam Monaghan has devoted his free time to showing cattle. Struggling to find success in his childhood shows, Monaghan has used hard work and dedication to develop into the showman he is today.
This work ethic has earned Monaghan and his steer, Bruno, the title “Grand Champion % Simmental” at this year’s 2016 Badger Kick-Off Classic.
Held in Madison, Wisconsin, The Badger takes place each year during the first week of December as a fundraiser for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Saddle & Sirloin Club. As the biggest steer and heifer show in Wisconsin, the Badger welcomed over 1,000 cattle entries in their 2016 show.
Bruno arrived at the Monaghan farm in early November. Ever since, Monaghan fed, walked, and bathed Bruno each night, hoping to outwork the other competitors at the Badger.
On Friday, Dec. 2, in the early afternoon, Monaghan loaded Bruno in a trailer packed full of feed, bedding and show supplies. After an hour and a half of preparation, Monaghan and his team were ready to make the three-hour drive to Madison. Later in the day, the Monaghans arrived at the Alliant Energy Center where the show took place.
Monaghan planned to treat The Badger like any other small town show. “It all starts with how hard you work at home,” Monaghan said.
When show day came, Monaghan led Bruno around the show ring, allowing the judge to see how he walked. When comparing walks, the judge looks for a steer with a smooth walk over a steer that stomps its feet.
After Monaghan completed a lap around the show ring, he stopped Bruno and set him up, making sure his front feet were parallel and his back legs were spread apart. Here, the judge looked for characteristics like square hips and a smooth transition from the steer’s neck all the way through its back.
“I was really nervous,” Monaghan said. “My steer wouldn’t plant his back leg.”
However, the judge must have overlooked that fact. After choosing Monaghan and Bruno as the winner of their class, the judge explained to the audience why he made his decision.
“He said my steer was the most complete,” Monaghan said. “He liked the soundness of its walk and the smoothness all the way through its hip.”
After completing The Badger, the first competition in a series of shows, Monaghan looks forward to upcoming events including the Iowa Beef Expo and the Iowa State Fair.
“I was really happy with the results at the Badger,” Monaghan said. “I’m hoping to do well in these upcoming shows. My steer is coming along more and more every day.”