The members of the CSU Seedstock Merchandising Team from left to right: Bailee Jones (Evergreen, Colorado), Grace Inglee (Arvada, Colorado), Danielle Horick (Petaluma, California), Faculty Adviser Sam Cunningham, Kate Scott (Brighton, Colorado), Kira Sayre (Arenzvile, Illinois) and Justina Slim (Crown Point, New Mexic0). Photo by Kaitlyn Fulmer.
During last year’s National Western Stock Show, Colorado State University’s Seedstock Merchandising Team went through at least six big containers of coffee within a week.
“We’re powered by caffeine and excitement,” said Bailee Jones, a senior animal sciences major.
When you hear about their schedule during the stock show, all that coffee makes sense. When the team exhibited their cattle on Jan. 13, they arrived at the grounds at 3:30 a.m. For the next five hours, they meticulously washed, blow-dried and fit their three Hereford heifers and three bulls, ensuring they looked perfect for what amounted to 10 minutes of showtime.
But in the end, it was worth it. They won Division Champion Pen of Three Spring Yearling Heifers and Division Champion Pen of Three Spring Yearling Bulls. They also sold “Pick of the Pen” from their pen of heifers during the Herefords in The Yards Sale.
This continues the CSU Seedstock Merchandising Team’s legacy since its inception in 1977 – and they’re only getting better. Since taking the helm in 2019, faculty adviser Sam Cunningham has worked with the team to bolster the CSU herd’s genetics, as well as to foster hands-on learning with the cattle industry’s next generation of leaders, teaching them the science and marketing that goes into the business.
“This is truly a team sport,” Cunningham said, “and it’s been fulfilling to watch the students come together and build relationships to make our program a success.”
This year’s Seedstock Merchandising Team is unique in that it’s made up of five women, all of whom have dedicated numerous hours outside of class to visiting the barn and taking care of the cattle – even when temperatures dipped to well below zero during a winter break cold snap.
“If it’s something you love, it’s worth the commitment,” said Grace Inglee, who graduated from CSU with a degree in animal science in December. “The team has been a big pool of ideas, and I’m looking forward to applying it to my career.”
Jones added: “The support system we have is simply amazing.”
Alumni play a significant role in supporting the team, from stopping by the CSU Pen in The Yards during the stock show to even joining them at 3 a.m. to help prepare the cattle for judging.
“It’s super important for our students to hear those alumni stories,” Cunningham said.
And while the team was able to take a breather and enjoy a steak dinner after the stock show, their work is far from over. They’ll travel to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Convention and Trade Show in New Orleans in early February and then host their annual Bull and Female Sale at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Centennial Livestock Auction in Fort Collins, where the bulls featured in the Denver Pen will be included in the offering.
For more information on the Seedstock Merchandising Program at CSU or to get on the catalog mailing list, please contact Sam Cunningham (firstname.lastname@example.org) or go to: https://bit.ly/csusalecatalog.