By Luke Hegdal
HERMISTON The sun shone on the second annual Columbia Basin Bull Breeders Show in Hermiston on Friday in more ways than one.
The importance of beef as an integral part of the Northwest economy was clearly on display as bull breeders from around the Northwest exhibited their livestock.
Also on display was the superiority of the Hermiston FFA program that garnered first place in the team Bull Judging competition, and the top two places in individual judging.
There were about 20 teams and 84 students competing, and $500 was awarded in prize money sponsored by U.S. Bank in Hermiston.
Nick Nelson, FFA instructor at Hermiston High, said that he hasn't heard from his other sponsor yet, but the prize money could double.
The Hermiston team outscored their nearest competitor, Weston-McEwen, by 64 points, taking home $250 for the FFA program.
In the individual scoring Chelsea Hector scored 288, beating fellow Hermiston FFA student Spencer Wombeke by three points.
It was a day marked by success for more than just FFA students.
"We raise the best protein in the world," said Karen Livingston, president of the Oregon Cattleman's Association. " Don't forget it."
Hermiston City Councilor Robbie Wolfe expressed delight during the show as well.
"I just love these events that shut down Main Street," she said. "It reminds me of days gone by when they shut down Main Street for everything."
The bull exhibitors reported that they were able to talk to potential buyers prior to the big bull sales this spring. Don Beus of Beus Cattle Company said that the show put him in touch with quite a few people.
The young bulls will go on sale beginning this week at ranches around the Northwest as cattlemen look to improve their herds and meet an ever changing demand in the market.
Events like this are becoming important to beef producers, especially with rising corn prices and large export markets, such as Japan, refusing American beef due to concerns over mad cow disease.