On Sunday, youth from across western Canada and the U.S. will be showing steers in the annual Calgary Stampede Steer Classic in the Nutrien Western Events Centre.

Lance Leachman will be the one judging the steers.

He says these kids put a lot of work into these animals, which can start even before the calf is born.

“If they have raised it themselves, it starts even before the animal is even born trying to make the correct matings and source either semen or bull to titalize on their females to try and come up with a steer they may want to show in the future,” said Leachman.

Leachman says it can start more than a year from when the animal might actually be born and by the time that animal is born, they might have several of them that are prospects and will watch them develop, feed them and care for them.

He believes raising a steer can lead to a lot of opportunities later in life.

The farmer from Maidstone, Saskatchewan says the skills you learn in the process are invaluable.

He says these kids are always so motivated and open-minded.

“They’re always looking for the next step they can take in terms of their feeding arrangement or selecting better steers to begin with, or improving their breeding programs, they just always want to get better. That’s something everyone can apply to themselves on a daily basis is to try and isolate the things you do well and try and expand on those things and try and find weaknesses within your job or your personal life and try and improve on those things.”

He thinks this is what these kids do everyday and that it is something that definitely needs to be respected to a high degree.

Leachman says the drive these kids have is impressive.

“They are very passionate, very dedicated and motivated.  I think those type of personalities traits are increasingly rare amongst kids of their age in society now more than maybe they ever have been.  So these kids, in a lot of cases growing up on farms, assisted their parents on a daily basis to make things successful.  So I think the amount of dedication, hard work and skill that these kids have dedicated to one animal that they will show throughout the year is pretty amazing.”

Leachman says the families of the competitors are often heavily involved making sure the kids get to all the shows they compete in.

He is encouraging people to come down, see these hard-working respectful kids that have a very bright future ahead of them.

The Calgary Stampede’s Steer Classic takes place in the Nutrien Western Event Centre, Sunday at 11:30 a.m.