Stock Show U coming to town

WORTHINGTON -- Sullivan Supply Company travels across the country each year to provide expert hands-on training to youths looking to improve their skills at fitting and showing livestock.

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WORTHINGTON - Sullivan Supply Company travels across the country each year to provide expert hands-on training to youths looking to improve their skills at fitting and showing livestock.

Later this month, its Stock Show University is coming to the Nobles County Fairgrounds in Worthington for a two-day fitting and showing clinic. It will be its first visit to southwest Minnesota, and the only Minnesota stop on its 2018 tour.

With more than 100 individuals already registered for the clinic, local organizers anticipate beef exhibitors from the tri-state area to attend. Registration is still open at for the free seminars.

A committee of 4-H parents, all of whom have children in the 4-H beef project in Nobles or Rock counties, applied last fall to be one of this year’s tour stops. The group is now working to coordinate efforts for the April 28-29 Stock Show U.

“We have so many young kids in 4-H in beef, and it’s a great opportunity,” said committee member Tara Kilker. In Nobles County alone, nearly 80 youths are enrolled in the beef project, with about two-thirds of them ages 15 and younger.


“You can’t pass up a two-day clinic - with professors they bring in - that is free of charge,” added Vicky Ross.

Like fashion and hairstyles for people, trends change in fitting beef animals to make them look their best in the show ring. The six professors coming to Worthington will share their knowledge and expertise in subjects ranging from hair care management, healthy and hydrated hair, hair clipping and showmanship. Questions are welcome and encouraged from participants.

The committee has sent invitations to area FFA chapters, as well as exhibitors in open shows in the tri-state area to attend the clinic.

“We will make as much room as we need to,” said Ross.

Olson Arena will serve as the classroom for the professors as they demonstrate fitting techniques. Once a technique is demonstrated, participants will then be grouped with professors for hands-on experience on their animals in the cattle barn. Thus far, 28 cattle grooming chutes are coming in, meaning there will be at least that many cattle on hand for youths to practice fitting.

“Some families might bring one grooming chute and four calves for their four kids,” Kilker said.

Sullivan provides all of the products for the fitting clinic, and attendees get to test the products while fitting their animals. The company will come with an entire trailer filled with products and show equipment available for sale.

Darren Ponto, whose daughters show beef at the Nobles County Fair, is looking forward to taking part in educational program.


“We’re about as green as it gets,” he said of his family’s knowledge of fitting their cattle for the show ring. “There’s going to be all kinds of different levels of ability there. We’re hoping to get a good start at being able to do our own stuff instead of finding people to always help us.”

Ponto realizes they won’t learn all of the tricks in one weekend, but at least they will learn the basics.

“We’ve learned that it still comes down to trial and error,” added Ross, whose son, Kalvin, has attended Sullivan clinics in the Upper Midwest.

“Every animal’s build is different - different frame and hair and you’ve got to know what to do to make it look good,” Ponto said.

On April 28, Stock Show U begins with 8 a.m. registration, with the program to start at 9 a.m. and continue into the evening with one-on-one discussions with the professors. The schedule for April 29 begins at 9 a.m. and wraps up with an awards program at 3 p.m.

While the public is welcome to walk through during programming, the committee suggests attending the showmanship segment and mock show set for 1:30 p.m. April 29.

Ross said the clinic creates a camaraderie between the youths who participate, and they learn from each other as well as their instructors.

“Everybody helps everybody,” she said.


Kilker said her hope is that as a result of the two-day clinic, five youths from Nobles County get the passion and desire to excel in the beef program.

“I think it’s just awesome to bring an event like this to town,” added Ponto.

Helping to make the weekend clinic possible in Worthington are Newport Labs, the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce, Nobles County Fair Board, Schaap Sanitation, Sioux Nation Ag, Lonneman Picnic Tables, Nobles SWCD, New Vision Co-op, Rock-Nobles Cattlemen, W-2’s Quality Meats, Subway, Pizza Hut and several Nobles County 4-H alumni.

Nobles County 4-H Interstate Exchange will be selling snacks both days as a fundraiser for their trip to Idaho this summer.

Volunteers are still sought to help with set-up, clean-up and parking. For more information or to sign up, visit .

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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