Flagstaff teen takes Supreme Champion at Calgary Stampede
Cole McMahon has spent the last several years working with cattle, and as the most successful year of his career nears completion, he is looking toward a future in the industry.
McMahon has won several awards this year, including the Supreme Champion Commercial Female at Summer Synergy in Olds, and the Provincial 4-H Heifer Champion at the Calgary Stampede.
His most recent win was the Supreme Champion Female and Bull Calf at the Wild Rose Classic in Lacombe.
“I got started with cows when I was about nine,” he said, crediting his interest to his friends in the Dietrich family.
McMahon has been a part of the Hastings Coulee 4-H beef club since he was 11, and has tried a variety of different projects.
“I always liked the female projects,” he said. He noted that all projects offered something different, and he enjoyed them all, but preferred the females.
He finished his seventh and final year in 4-H this spring, but has been competing in other shows, such as the Summer Synergy, for years as well.
“This was my first year going to the Simmental show in Lacombe,” said McMahon.
“Last year I won my breed at Summer Synergy with the same cow. This has been my biggest year, though.”
The cow that has won McMahon so many awards is a two year old, and last year was a heifer project.
“Hopefully we’ll get her out as a three year old next year,” he added.
Though he is now too old to take part in another year of 4-H, many of the other competitions he takes part in allow competitors up to age 21, and he plans to return to some of those.
The McMahon farm is not equipped to care for cattle year round, or to take on any large numbers of the animals.
McMahon said that in the summer months, his cow spends most of her time between shows out in the pasture.
The Dietrich and Rancier families, he says, have given him assistance and support over the years.
In fact, he bought his award-winning cow from Garth and Angie Rancier.
The cow has been given the nickname Angie, in honour of her place of birth.
“It’s a good cow, so hopefully she won’t mind,” McMahon laughed.
McMahon praised the shows that he takes part in not only for what they give in scholarships and prizes, but for what participants are able to take away from them.
“I started to do bigger shows, and just kept getting better at it.
“It’s a great opportunity,” he said.
“It’s kind of cool because I get the chance to compete against people that have been doing this their whole lives.”
He is also using the shows as opportunities to get his foot in the door with people in the agriculture industry.
“Especially with the purebred stuff, the more people who know your name, the better.”
The notoriety, as well as the scholarships he’s earned, will help McMahon in his planned future career.
In the fall, McMahon is headed to the University of Saskatchewan, where he plans to study Agriculture in their four-year program.
“I’ll come back to the family farm when I’m done,” he said.
For now, McMahon has one last show this summer before he is finished for the year.
He is set to compete in the all-breed show in Bashaw next month, and expects to sell his bull calf in the near future.