You often hear how a common thread can bring people together. That statement couldn’t be more true for a couple of families who have competitors who show steers.
The Serienko family from the village of Maymont, Saskatchewan, about 90 kilometres northwest Saskatoon, is in it together. One of their daughters, Katie and her steer project Vince, teamed together as Grand Champion at the 2015 Calgary Stampede UFA Junior Steer Classic.
The now 18-year-old has been showing steers since she was nine and admits it’s in her blood.
“It’s been really exciting,” she explains. “We went to a lot of spring jackpots this year and we’re pretty competitive. It’s been fun working with Vince. We rinse him every day and keep him in the barn under fans to grow his hair. He’s been a little sassy to work with but it’s been enjoyable.”
The devotion Katie has shown to the industry for half of her life hasn’t gone unnoticed by her dad Dennis. He’s definitely proud of how far she’s come and it even makes him a little emotional.
“I actually teared up when she was selected (as Grand Champion),” admits Dennis. “You know the whole family has worked at this. Katie’s sister Cassidy, if Katie was gone, she’d help rinse the steer and my wife Lisa helps too. You know it’s truly a family win for all of us, just fabulous.”
Katie says with so much time and energy poured into her love for steer projects it’s going to pave the way for her next step.
“I’m actually going to Lakeland College next year for their agribusiness program.”
Another case of “All in the Family” can be found in Westmoreland, Kansas, home to Shilo Schaake.
To say his journey has been a long one would be an understatement. The teenager, with the help of his family, travelled 2,390 kilometres to also compete at the UFA Junior Steer Classic this year.
Schaake says it was his first time across the 49th parallel and it wouldn’t have been possible without some major support.
“We show quite a bit down in the states and you know it’s like our hobby and it takes the whole family to do the work so I’d like to thank them too.”
At the Stampede show his steer project was called Chuckwagon as a tribute to the Calgary festival.
“We got Chuckwagon at a young age and then it takes a lot of work getting the hair on him and so every morning and night we’re rinsing him and I guess it’s very responsible on yourself as a kid.”
But it turns out the trip wasn’t for nothing. In addition to experiencing Canadian culture for the first time, Shilo and Chuckwagon teamed up to win the Reserve Champion. That means banking some scholarship money that will be put to good use.
“I’m actually going to be attending Hutchinson Community College to play baseball,” explains Schaake.
Who knows, maybe he’ll be back in Canada. Only this time returning as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.