HARRISBURG, Pa. — When Joel Cowley and Chan Phillips judge beef cattle, they look for an animal that, above anything else, can walk.
“They need to be able to walk because they are foraging animals,” Cowley said.
At Monday’s Farm Show supreme beef show, Cowley and Phillips not only found a couple of animals that could walk, they were nearly flawless with everything else.
WLC Lucy, a 1-year-old Angus owned by Work Land & Cattle Co. of Uniontown, Pa., won the supreme champion female banner, while RS Bobby Shaw, a Hereford, owned by the Stockdale family of Dayton, Pa., won supreme champion bull.
Cowley, who works at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and has judged livestock shows across the country, said when it came to judging the females, it all came down to which one was “prettiest.”
Of course that’s not the only factor. Cowley said he looks for an animal that has good body volume along with depth and openness of the ribcage.
“Once you cover the bases, the prettier they are, the better. You want them long necked and clean fronted,” he said.
Judging by what’s prettiest can be a subjective exercise. But Cowley said that in the end, Lucy just stood out from the pack.
“She just didn’t have any flaws. They get that many good ones out there, it comes down to some pretty fine points. But her, we couldn’t find anything to nit-pick on. She is really complete,” he said.
Bob and Kevin Work, owners of Lucy, said it’s been many years since their farm won supreme champion at Farm Show.
“It’s been a while. It’s a big deal for us,” Kevin Work said.
But he didn’t boast about the win.
“There is a lot of good ones out there. It’s her day I guess,” he said.
Meanwhile on the bull side, Phillips, owner of an Angus cow-calf operation in Kentucky who travels nationwide judging shows, said he was impressed by the fact that 11-month-old Bobby Shaw not only looked good, but could also move around well.
“That bull is as big top, big hip as you’ll find at that age, and he gets along good structurally with that,” Phillips said. “So many times when they get that massive, they can’t move, and that’s where he’s kind of neat. He’s good on his appearance and yet he’s loaded with muscle and he can still get around and have some longevity that way.”
Kurt Stockdale, owner of Bobby Shaw, said it was an easy decision bringing the Hereford to the show.
“He just has so much dimension and natural thickness and really smooth in his makeup. Just a really complete type bull,” Stockdale said.