Participants come from Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming to compete in the National Western Stock Show’s longest-running program of practical beef cattle management. In just over 80 years the Catch-A-Calf Contest has awarded nearly 3,000 steers to 4-H members hailing from the western United States.
The program began in 1935 when 10 boys caught 10 sponsored calves. The contest quickly caught on, and the program grew to include 52 calves by 1942. Soon after World War II, the program settled at 40 calves per year, which is where the number continues to stand today.
The program is designed so successful participants catch a calf, feed it, and return with the animal one year later as a market-ready steer at the National Western Stock Show. The steers are judged on production and carcass quality, while the participants are judged on showmanship, record books, and a personal interview.
The Grand and Reserve Grand Champion participants sell their steers at the Auction of Junior Livestock Champions held on the final Friday of the Stock Show.
Applications for 2022-2023 are NOW OPEN and are due December 15, 2021. Apply below.
Please note, this program is only open to active 2021 4-H members ages 14-18 (who must be residents) in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska & Wyoming. Please refer to the Rules and Regulations for further information