Ryder Day had a really big day last week. In fact, he had two of them. On Friday, February 7th, Ryder’s steer “Cupid Shuffle,” was named the Grand Champion Steer at the Fort Worth Southwest Exposition and Livestock Show. There were thousands of steers entered into the show. Really. This show is considered by those who know, to be the toughest show in the country. So, this is big. Really big. It is especially big for a 12 year old from Meadow, for sure. But it is big also, because it marks the first time a Hereford has won the big show since 1982. Ryder was humbled by the honor and looked close to tears in his interviews, but gracious all the while.
Ryder’s second big day came on Saturday when Cupid Shuffle went through the sale ring and sold for a whopping $300,000 to the GKB Cattle Company! Another record. Unlike the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the Fort Worth Show awards all the money to the exhibitor. Ryder told his interviewers, “We will put most of it into a college fund for me and my brother (Riggin), and the rest we will probably invest back into the herd.”
Ryder, who has been showing since third grade, is a true cowboy at heart, as is his brother Riggin. According to his mom, Katie Jo Day, both boys are happiest on horseback working cattle. In fact, Katie Jo stated, “All livestock kids work hard, they wouldn’t have a manageable show project if they didn’t. But I’m most proud of Ryder because he doesn’t just love going to the shows and competing inside the ring. His passion for this industry and his animals lies outside the show ring, even outside the show barn. Ryder is unique in that he enjoys the production side of his show steers and much as the exhibition of them. He thoroughly enjoys every aspect of raising one, from the breeding selection of the sire/dam to the calving process, straight through the weaning, halter breaking, and feeding of a market animal.
“He’s definitely “hands on” as he helps birth them during his summer break and spends his weekends and after school hours with every angle of animal husbandry there is to experience. And the cool part is, he enjoys it all.
“The icing on the cake was being rewarded for his 12-months of labor by exhibiting Cupid Shuffle at the ultimate competition in our steer show world, the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, and receiving the highest award – Grand Champion Steer. Our motto for many years has been “Work Hard Win Big”, and although that definition carries so many different meanings and life lessons, nothing motivates us more than seeing hard working families rewarded. And this past week, the fact that it was our own kid in the winners circle, well that folks is the biggest victory we’ve ever received. We could not be more proud of both our sons, Riggin and Ryder. They both know the value of “working hard and winning big.”
Ryder told TownTalk, “It was really special and exciting.” He also added how Cupid Shuffle got his name. “We brought him in from the pasture on Valentine’s Day last year and then when we started working with him, he was kind of shuffling around so he became Cupid Shuffle.”
Ryder and his family want to give a special thanks to so many people who have been a part of things along the way, but want to give a special thanks to Meadow ISD Superintendent Darrian Dover, who drove all the way to Fort Worth to watch Ryder (and the other Meadow participants) show, and to Meadow Ag teacher and FFA Advisor Reagan Stuart for all the help he has provided, as well. Stuart and his students took three steers to the show and left with three brands, meaning they all did very well in placing. Ryder’s brother Riggin did well himself, earning a 4th place with his steer.
Terry County can be proud of Ryder. Not just for his hard work and for winning, but also for the humility and graciousness he showed in the ring. Ryder, you made us proud!