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Showing cattle helps Northeast student learn about industry

Showing cattle helps Northeast student learn about industry

NORFOLK, Neb. -- It is not always about winning and losing.

It is about making new friends, learning about cattle, and finding out what consumers and the industry want from livestock producers. 

Those are some of the things that Jack Ritter, who showed a steer Sunday at the annual Norfolk Beef Expo, had to say about what he will miss when he leaves the showring for the final time later this year or in January. 

“It has taught me how to win and lose correctly,” Ritter said. “And I have made so many friends and met a lot of people traveling the country. I’ve met people from Texas to North Dakota and everywhere in between. I have a lot of new connections now.” 

The 18-year-old from rural Beemer showed at his final Beef Expo on Sunday, earning second place and a purple ribbon in his class with a steer that he had taken earlier to the Nebraska State Fair where he was fourth in his class.  

Ritter is the oldest in his family, with a younger sister and brother who are following in his footsteps in the showring. His sister, who is a sophomore in high school, also showed Sunday. His younger brother will start showing next year. 

The diversified ag major at Northeast Community College showed an Angus-Chianina crossbred steer that was in the second class of heavyweights. 

Hosted by Northeast Community College at the Chuck Pohlman Ag Complex, the show is put on by the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce. Northeast officials and some ag students assist, with a few like Ritter, also showing cattle. 

Following the show, the market cattle are sold, with many area businesses helping to support the 4-Hers and FFA exhibitors by purchasing their animals. 

The experience helped Ritter to get into the cattle business. He now raises and sells club cattle. 

The son of Jeremy and Laura Ritter, he also helps at the family business, Ritter Feedyards of Beemer. 

Ritter plans to show at Ak-Sar-Ben in Grand Island later this month, then will possibly show in Louisville, Ky., in mid-November and possibly in Denver, Colo., which will be in January.  

Ritter also judges livestock at Northeast Community College, which is coached by Mike Roeber. 

Ritter said the cattle industry now looks for cattle that are stout and packed full of meat. For showing, the cattle need to have a good haircoat and are kept in air-conditioned quarters and let out at night to eat. 

“Showing and judging has really helped me to understand the cattle (industry),” he said.  



Jack Ritter of Beemer, a Northeast Community College diversified ag major, stops the steer he exhibited at the Norfolk Beef Expo on Sunday. (Northeast Community College)