National Western Stock Show: Reputation of Weld County familys Herefords spans the globe – Fort Morgan Times

Posted: January 16, 2020 at 1:47 pm

LA SALLE On Tuesday morning, the barn at Coyote Ridge Ranch in Weld County served as the bovine equivalent of a hair salon.

Some of the ranchs top Hereford cattle were brought in for a bath and blow-dry. Outside, workers gave the rust and white-colored animals a final clipper trim, preparations for their impending closeups.

The National Western Stock Show is back for its 114th year in Denver and Coyote Ridge Ranch Herefords are right in the thick of it, as theyve been for three decades.

The Cornelius family, lead by Jane Evans and her son Hampton, founded the ranch in Boulder County, but for the past 25 years, its operated on a 1,000-acre spread south of La Salle. The barn/cattle hair salon there is 130 years old and may be the oldest structure in the Beebe Draw valley, according to the family.

Over the decades, the Corneliuses have established a reputation as one of the countrys if not the worlds preeminent producers of top quality Herefords and Hereford genetics. And the stock show is their biggest marketing opportunity of the year.

Denver is like a trade show for us. Were not there to win a ribbon. Its cool when you win one but were there to promote our genetics and make contacts, Jane said of the National Western show, where Coyote Ridge will be showing a pen of three heifers and a pen of three bulls this year.

Were showing our spring-born 2019 cattle, Hampton said. Everything is for sale. The idea is to drum up interest to get people to come back here and take a look at our other ones.

The business-first approach doesnt mean they arent proud of how Coyote Ridge Ranch has performed at National Western. Hampton rattles off the stack of honors the operation has come away with in years past. They include three grand champion pens, two bulls that won individual championships in competitions on the hill at National Western and countless individual class champions.

Its a validation of what youre doing, Jane said.

Coyote Ridge Ranch is what is known in the cattle business as a seedstock producer. The means its herd of 160 or so Herefords is being raised to further the genetics of the breed. It sells bulls, heifers, semen and embryos to commercial Hereford ranching operations that in turn produce steers for slaughter and sale to consumers.

The ranch dates back to when Hampton and his sisters Katie and Coleman, a former Denver Post staff writer, were kids raising cows and calves as part of 4-H and Future Farmers of America programs. The hobby blossomed into a passion and the family herd grew large enough to become a viable business.

The Corneliuses were drawn to Herefords because of the breeds disposition, its hardiness and the animals deep connection to ranching culture in the American West. Nowadays, Coyote Ridge is considered an elite Hereford seedstock producer with genetics from their animals spread across ranching operations in the U.S. and all over the world.

I would describe that family as just being committed to making really good cattle and breeding Herford cattle the way they need to be bred for the commercial industry, said Jack Ward, executive vice president of the American Hereford Association.

Ward and many other staffers from his association are in Denver this week for the stock show. Among the events Ward is organizing is the national Hereford junior heifer show on Wednesday morning and the Mile High Night Hereford Sale, which is expected to bring more than 1,000 people to the National Western Stadium Arena at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Ward said. Coyote Ridge will be represented at both events, of course, with Hampton Cornelius son, John, showing a heifer in the junior show.

Beyond their work furthering the Hereford breed, the Corneliuses have become ambassadors for the cattle industry in Colorado. With a ranch thats within an hours drive from downtown Denver and a willingness to open their operation to visitors, theyve hosted school groups, chefs, and delegations from countries including China, Japan and South Korea.

(Hamptons wife) Kay and Jane Evans are both so very well-spoken on so many segments of their industry, Colorado Beef Council marketing director Tami Arnold said. Just the typical consumer, we know we could take them out to their place and they would be able to really represent the beef industry well.

For Jane Evans, the most exciting visit came last summer when a Taiwanese trade delegation stopped at Coyote Ridge Ranch. It wasnt just because the visitors were so impressed by seeing a cattle operation where riders on horseback drive a herd across a pasture. She was pleased because the delegates were in Colorado to sign a letter of intent with Gov. Jared Polis to expand access in Taiwan for Colorado agricultural goods including beef.

It gets its moment in the sun in Denver every January during the National Western, but Jane is quick to point out the livestock industry is a major force in Colorados economy. Cattle operations alone generated $3.4 billion in cash receipts in the state last year, according to the University of Colorados 2020 business economic outlook.

Jane Evans, 78, has established a reputation of her own over the years. Cattle ranching has been a male-dominated industry, but she hasnt shied away from being at the center of it. In the mid-1990s, she became the first woman elected to the American Hereford Association board of directors.

She paved the way for women in the beef industry, specifically for leadership and we love her for that, said Arnold, who in addition to working with the Cornelius family through the Colorado Beef Council also ranches nearby and has known them most of her life.

Janes love for agriculture goes back to her childhood in Alabama, when her grandfather would let her tag along when he would assess farms and ranches as part of his work as a banker.

I was very lucky. In those days girls did one thing and boys did another, she said. My mother used to say, When Jane Evans grows up shes going to own a large cattle ranch in the West like Dale Evans, and I do. (Dale Evans was married to singing cowboy Roy Rogers and they had a popular TV show in the 1950s.)

The next week will be a busy one for the Cornelius family. But now that theyve settled into their pen in the National Western Centers evolving stock yards, they do expect to have a little fun.

These guys work alone a lot. When they get together they definitely will kick up their heels a little bit, she said of her family and her fellow ranchers at the stock show. You see people that you have a lot in common with, that you work with, that you swap genetics with. Even though there is stiff competition, there is an awful lot of camaraderie.

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National Western Stock Show: Reputation of Weld County familys Herefords spans the globe - Fort Morgan Times

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