It s not about to rival the National Finals Rodeo, but the recent second annual Pfizer Feedlot Challenge attracted eight teams including one all the way from Ontario.
The competition was divided into three events pen checking, chute processing and a 20-question written test with teams judged on their ability to move cattle with as little stress as possible.
They do have a very important job looking after these livestock and making sure that what they do is handling these cattle as stress-free as possible, and as humanely as possible, said Dr. Les Byers, manager of veterinary services for beef cattle for Pfizer Animal Health.
They are administering products, they want to make sure that they re ensuring a safe food supply. They want to administer the product so it s not going to affect meat quality and that type of thing.
The friendly competition, held at Shooten and Sons Farms near Picture Butte, aims to promote learning and reward good practices in the feedlot industry.
Once in the chute, animals were processed with vaccinations, growth implants and other typical feedlot measures. One part of the competition included separating specially marked animals from the others for additional treatment, which was judged by Nebraska-based veterinarian Dr. Kip Lukasiewicz.
He s a cattle-handling specialist and his practice does a lot of consulting in stress-free cattle handling, said Byers. He came up and he judged how the cowboys could pull sick critters out of the pen.
After all was said and done, Acme s Highway 21 Feeders came away the winners, winning buckles for their hard work.
These guys won and they got their buckle, said Byers. They may not be rodeo cowboys but they re good at what they do.
Entrants were treated to a steak supper, and some entertaining education as well.
The consultant that was doing the cattle pulling part, they were videoing them as they were doing it so then just after we had supper we played videos on the big screen and made comments on what they were doing right, what they were doing wrong and what they could do to improve, said Byers. So it s a really good learning experience, it s a teaching moment for a lot of these people.
The event is becoming increasingly popular, and Byers said it may be expanded next year to include additional teams. Feedlots are recruited by consulting veterinarians.
These guys are professionals, they take a lot of pride in what they do and this competition just sharpens the sword as we like to say, Byers said. They want to keep their skills in top-notch shape and that gives them an opportunity to showcase it in a bit of a competition.