Prather: The story behind a heifer named Polly
February 11, 2012
The 2012 National Western Stock Show has come and gone, and this year's event was memorable for 15-year-old Maybell resident Mackenzie Camblin because she has a new heifer as result of an event.
Polly is the name Mackenzie has given the registered Hereford heifer she picked from a herd of registered Hereford cattle at the Largents Ranch in Kaycee, Wyo. The yearling heifer will be bred this summer, probably with an A.I. sire. It's the beginning of a registered Hereford herd for Mackenzie.
"That's my plan, " she said.
Polly "came about" after Mackenzie caught a calf during the FFA Beef Heifer Wrangle, held during one of the night rodeos during the National Western.
The FFA Beef Wrangle is similar to the Catch-A-Calf event, also held during the National Western. In each event, participants try to catch calves that are turned loose in the arena. Both events are worthwhile endeavors, indeed, as participants who catch calves receive animals. In the case of the FFA Beef Wrangle, each winning participant receives $1,000 with which to choose a breeding heifer.
"Everybody told me that the calves were going to run around and eventually go to a corner and I could catch one then," Mackenzie said. "But that didn't happen. Everybody else just ran right up and caught theirs so I had to change my plan. I caught the last one."
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Catching a calf meant putting a halter on it and leading it out of the arena.
Mackenzie explained there were FFA leaders and rodeo clowns present to help out. She thinks there were about 10 participants who tried to catch calves during the Wrangle.
FFA recipients of the heifers have sponsors, are required to keep records, and write monthly letters to their sponsors. Mackenzie's sponsor is Bob Byron, of Breckenridge. Every month she will send a letter to Byron, letting him know about the care she's giving Polly, such as what kind of grain the heifer is getting and what's in the grain. Byron may also visit Polly in Maybell.
In addition, Mackenzie will show Polly at the Colorado State Fair in late August, during which time her record book will be due. She will also meet with Byron.
Mackenzie also plans to show Polly at some Jackpot Shows such as the Green and Gold in Fort Collins and others in Wyoming and the Moffat County Fair in August.
The daughter of Mike and Danna Camblin of Maybell, Mackenzie is a freshman at Moffat County High School and a first-year member of the Moffat County FFA Chapter. She has been a 4-H member for nine years, completing projects in beef breeding and market beef. She showed the Grand Champion Market Heifer at State Fair in 2011 and was overall champion in Beef Breeding at the Moffat County Fair, also in 2011.
Mackenzie has a brother, Call, and sister, Chelsee. Each year they show prospect calves at the National Western Stock Show and are proud that the calves they show are homegrown.
Looking back on the FFA Beef Heifer Wrangle at this year's Stock Show, Mackenzie said, "It was really cool. We got in the back of the rodeo where all the action was, where they get ready to go into the arena."
Previously, two other Moffat County FFA members received heifers through the FFA Beef Heifer Wrangle. They were Ian and Taylor Duzik.