Local Ranchers React to Nat’l Western Stock Show Postponement

Local News

MESA COUNTY, Colo.- Another major Colorado event is postponed due to COVID-19. It’s the National Western Stock Show.

It was announced Monday one of the nation’s largest and most important livestock shows held annually in Denver will be postponed until January of 2022.

According to the stock show’s official website, more than 700,000 people from across the U.S. and North America attend every year.

The show brings in millions of dollars in economic revenue for the Denver area, but also is an opportunity for ranchers on the Western Slope and beyond to get connected with valuable resources in the livestock industry.

“A lot of people like me go to look at the cattle, look at some of the new breed names, some of the new stuff, talk to the people,” said George Raftopoulos, owner of Loma Livestock, a local livestock marketing company. “It’s hard to replace the collaboration when you’re at the same spot talking about the same things. Everybody is there for the same reason.”

Janie Van Winkle, the President of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association feels the same way. She’s a local rancher in Fruita, and says the cancellation of the stock show for January 2021 will be a missed opportunity for people from different walks of life across the state to meet in person.

“One of the big concerns for me is the connection that’s lost between rural and urban colorado,” Van Winkle said. “We really need to continue to look for ways to bridge that gap.”

Van Winkle adds the business side of the National Western Stock Show is irreplaceable, but that will have to wait until 2022.

“A lot of the thought leaders come together, a lot of the producers come together, and there’s a lot of deal making, a lot of transactions that take place,” Van Winkle said. “There’s also a heritage piece to this.”

For Loma Livestock, Raftopolous says the COVID-19 pandemic initially caused the value of cattle to plummet when the pandemic hit in the spring, but things have gotten a little better.

“Nobody would sell to those low prices so our volume went way down,” Raftopolous said. “On the marketing side we ran off of volume and so that hurt pretty tremendously there. Now we’re starting to pick back up and get into our busy season.”

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