Weis enjoys 'most put together' breeding heifer success

MCINTIRE, Iowa -Ben Weis showed the Supreme Champion 4-H Breeding Heifer at the Iowa State Fair in August, but he's not resting on his laurels.

Weis enjoys 'most put together' breeding heifer success
Ben Weis of McIntire is a budding beef producer. Weis loves being in the show ring. He gets some help and encouragement from his family.

MCINTIRE, Iowa -Ben Weis showed the Supreme Champion 4-H Breeding Heifer at the Iowa State Fair in August, but he's not resting on his laurels.

He and his brother, Willie, are already working with their show animals for next year. They bought next year's calves at the same place they purchased Charolette, the Charolais cross that was Ben's winning heifer this year, Wagonhammer Ranch in Bartlett, Neb.

Ben, 14, is "running the show" this year because Willie is attending Black Hawk Community College in Kewanee, Ill. He makes it home some weekends.

"We were hoping to do something good at the Iowa State Fair," Ben said of his victory. "We didn't know what the judge wanted but Charolette happened to be what he was looking for."

When they bought last year's show animals, Charolette "was the most put together out of what we saw," Ben said.


But having a champion involves more than buying a good calf.

"You have to be out there every day after school working with her," Ben said. "You have to get her broke to lead, keep an eye on her rations and condition her coat."

Ben's parents, Marlene and Rob, raise corn and feed beef cattle. The family is also building a cow-calf herd. They have 40 cows and sell some calves as club calves and feed out the rest.

Ben is a freshman at St. Ansgar Community School, where he's involved in FFA and football. He is a member of the Stacyville Shooting Stars 4-H Club.

He shows swine and sheep. Woodworking, home improvement, leadership and citizenship are among his other projects.

Ben said he learned much of what he knows about showing from his parents, Willie and from his older sister. Brittany attends Allen College of Nursing in Waterloo.

Charolette was reserve champion five times during summer shows.

Ben and Willie said their goal at the Iowa State Fair was to win the breed. Ben was first in his breed and then beat 321 other contestants as overall champion breeding heifer.


"I was hoping she looked good and that I was doing everything right," Ben said.

Willie gave him a thumbs up from the sidelines.

"It's kind of hard to explain how I felt when she won," Ben said. "It was a good sense of accomplishment, that all our hard work paid off."

In September the Mitchell County supervisors recognized Ben and his family by proclaiming Sept. 26 to Oct. 2 Ben Weis Week. Charolette is the first Iowa State Fair Supreme Champion Breeding Heifer in the county's history.

Willie and Ben do all their own cattle fitting. The two do fitting for people who have purchased calves from them and for other friends.

"Our goal is to assemble a really good cow herd so that when we're done showing we can have a business selling calves," Willie said.

"Our goal is to do the best we can," Ben said.

They usually show somewhere every weekend from June through the Iowa State Fair.


"You meet so many people showing," Ben said.

"I've always been interested in livestock," Willie said. "Showing is another way for me to work on livestock."

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