Three Classic Cattle Shows in Iowa
Whether a cattle enthusiast wants to show cattle or just enjoy a cattle show, three Iowa events that are worthy of time and effort are the Iowa Beef Expo., the Iowa State Fair, and the Clay County Fair.
Iowa Beef Expo
The Iowa Beef Expo held each February on the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa is an excellent way to start off the showing season. First, because it draws an excellent selection of quality Iowa cattle.
For instance, in the breed cattle shows and sales, Iowa foundation breed herds are on display: this allows cattlemen who are interested in improving their herds to have an statewide opportunity to see and bid on cattle at the top of the breeds. Second, the Expo has excellent facilities. All cattle are housed under roof with surfaced areas to the show ring and to the loading areas. Stock trailers can be parked east of the Grandstand and parking for support vehicles is close in to the barns and show ring. The wash rack is large, enclosed and heated. In the barns, as with many other like facilities, convenient electrical hookups and ample stalls for livestock and tack exist.
Finally, the Expo is well-organized. In the show ring, two different classes show at one time. Each of these classes has its own check-in and final grooming area. Each class has reputation judges so the exhibitor comes away from the experience with a valid appraisal of his entry. (One big advantage of the event for a novice showperson is that, since it is winter, no exhibitor has to worry about his animal growing a coat of hair—no classy air-conditioning and other accommodations are needed to bring an animal to the event that can be clipped and fitted as those brought by cattlemen who have the experience and pocketbook to d.o so year round. Likewise, for the spectator, seeing an array of impeccably fitted animals is a real treat.) Expo is pretty much a business event.
Iowa State Fair
In August and later in the show season, the Iowa State Fair has, of course, the same facilities and quality, but, for many, the event has more to offer in light of entertainment. The fair shows family and friends the fruits of your labors in a grand venue. In some of the cattle shows, stock is exhibited from outside of the state. Here quality livestock close to marketing is exhibited and reputations are built on a broader scope.
Clay County Fair
The Clay County Fair in September close to the end of the show season, is often the last in-state event for many showing steers. Again, the facilities are top notch for the time of year. Since it is a district fair, it is less intimidating for new showpersons. It also allows for animals not quite ready for the state fair to be placed to the test. It often gives the exhibitor a chance to compete against showpersons who do not exhibit at the state fair. And, it has had a reputation for having one of the best exhibits of farm equipment in the state.