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Skills put to the test at Cattle Working Contest

Published 6/1/2012 in Local News

By RACHAEL GRAY

rgray@gctelegram.com

Girls can do anything boys can do.

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Brad Nading/Telegram Kendall Lock runs the chute for a Triangle H Grain and Cattle Company team Thursday during the Beef Empire Days Cattle Working Contest at Finney County Feedyard, northeast of Garden City.

Brad Nading/Telegram Kendall Lock runs the chute for a Triangle H Grain and Cattle Company team Thursday during the Beef Empire Days Cattle Working Contest at Finney County Feedyard, northeast of Garden City.

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Matt Davis, left, places a sample in a vial as Jayme Fankhauser vaccinates a cow Thursday during the Beef Empire Days Cattle Working Contest at Finney County Feedyard. The pair, along with Nicole Odell, were competing for Heritage Feeders.

Matt Davis, left, places a sample in a vial as Jayme Fankhauser vaccinates a cow Thursday during the Beef Empire Days Cattle Working Contest at Finney County Feedyard. The pair, along with Nicole Odell, were competing for Heritage Feeders.

A team of cattle processors from Garden City Feedyard proved that Thursday afternoon by catching, vaccinating and tagging cattle during the Beef Empire Days Cattle Working Contest at Finney County Feedyard.

The team of Jana Hamill, Katie Dinkel and Sarah Swank didn't come in first, but they gave the all-men's teams a run for their money.

First place in the contest went to Poky Feeders Team No. 2. Second place went to Brookover Feedyard and third place went to Triangle H.

The hands at Triangle H do a little bit of everything, according to Kendall Lock. And Thursday at Finney County Feeders, the team from Triangle H did just that.

The team was made up of Lock, Brad Anderson and Bill Hager.

"It's a small feedyard, so we do it all," Lock said.

Triangle H operates with about 6,500 head of cattle, he said.

That's why the workers don't have specific titles. On a daily basis, they do everything from working cattle, separating cattle, processing cattle and washing tanks, Anderson said.

The feedyard teams were judged on catching cattle in the chute, taking samples from the animals' ears, injecting implants, ear tagging, de-worming the animal and bobbing the tail.

Each team was made up of members who worked three to five head of cattle. The teams were judged on animal handling, chute use, injection technique, ear tagging and equipment use. Before each animal is released from the chute, judges evaluated technique and product administration. When problems were detected, the judges discussed them with the team members.

Although they didn't win, the women from Garden City Feedyard said they had fun.

They had the opportunity to showcase a skillset they use in their daily work.

And everyone does a little bit of everything at Garden City Feedyard, Swank said.

She said the feedyard isn't a conventional one — it focuses on exporting live cattle to Russia.

In order to do so, all of the cattle need to have health and paperwork in order.

Swank said Garden City Feedyard's capacity is 90,000 head of cattle, but the feedyard rarely operates at capacity.

Thursday at Finney County Feeders, Swank gave vaccines and took samples from the ear. Dinkel operated the chute, bobbed the tail and gave vaccines. Hamill did implants and ear tags.

Dinkel said the best part of her job is being around cattle.

Hamill agreed.

"We want to make sure the animals stay healthy and well-maintained," Hamill said.

According to the Beef Empire Days' website, the objectives of the contest are to:

* Promote the correct usage of animal health products and equipment to cattle working employees.

* Promote the correct handling of livestock to cattle working employees.

* Provide quality assurance education to cattle working employees.

* Provide an opportunity for processing crews to interact and learn from suppliers and each other.

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