As kids growing up showing livestock, we often dream of raising that champion steer. Many people showing livestock set out on a journey to raise top tear livestock for that champion handshake from the judge in the big ring, knowing their hard work paid off.

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An Iowa couple recently shined in a national cattle show, bringing home the champion purple ribbon.

Merle and Merna Schrage have been breeding for better cattle for around six decades. This hard work paid off on January 14th when one of their cows was named grand champion Maine-Tainer Maine-Anju female at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado.

Taking place in January each year, the National Western Stock Show is a premier livestock, rodeo, and horse show. People travel from all over the world to take part in the western heritage festivities.

According to the Courier, the Schrages have been raising cattle for 62 years. This win marks the first big win for the couple.

Despite this being their first big win, the Iowa couple has an impressive resume. They won reserve champion steer at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky, a grand champion heifer at the South Dakota State Fair, and a handful of other reserve champion titles at various major junior and open shows.

While the couple was excited about the champion wins, the Courier says “Three days after the big win in Denver, Merle was at the Waverly Sale Barn doing what he likes and knows best; looking at cattle and chatting with the folks he’s known all his life.”

The champion cow was from a cow and bull in the couple’s herd. They did not use artificial insemination to breed her.

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