Netzke family from Lamberton area shows grand champion market beef at Aksarben

Troy Krause
Thomas Netzle showed Bojack, who was named market beef grand champion, during the Alsarben Stock Show in Grand Island, Neb.

In November 2019, the Netzke family made a trip to Iowa to take a look at a prospective beef animal that they would show at events during the coming year.

“We took a big risk with him. He was small. He weighed 550 pounds, and by that time you typically want them to be in the 650-700 pound range,” said Thomas Netzke.

That risk paid off for the Netzke family in late September during an event known as the Aksarben Stock Show held in Grand Island, Neb.

At the end of the 2020 market beef show the animal the Netzkes had brought was named the grand champion.

Thomas, who showed the animal during the Aksarben event, was the one who had his hand shaken by the judge.

“It’s hard to put into words what I was thinking at that moment,” Thomas said. “The feeling was second to none.”

What makes the championship significant is the fact that the show brings animals from several states from Indiana and Arkansas to Colorado and Montana as well as everything in between.

The event is extremely competitive, and even though the Netzkes have seen success in other classes they have never had the market beef champion. 

In addition to Thomas, his siblings Paige and Christian have also showed at the Nebraska show over the years, but the event has been part of the family for a long time.

According to Mom, Caroline Netzke, their dad, Glen, started showing at Aksarben in the 80s making them the second generation of the family to show. The show was established in 1927 and is considered one of the biggest shows in the nation.

All three of the Netzke clan started showing as soon as they were eligible, which is at the age of nine, and each of them have continued to show through age 19, which is the last year they are able to be involved.

While the Netzkes currently only show beef, their daughter Paige showed both sheep and beef when she started. Paige, Christian and Thomas have all seen their own successes at Aksarben over the years.

This year Paige served in a support role during the show.

“Show day tends to get rather hectic, so I fill in as needed,” she explained, adding that means helping get the animals ready for the ring. “Getting a calf ready for the ring requires a lot of hard work. With livestock there are no days off, as they need to be fed, watered and cared for every day of their life.”

Those animals are also groomed regularly with that work happening more often as the show day approaches, Paige indicated.

According to Thomas, their animal, which was named Bojack, entered into the crossbred division for the show. The animals are also divided by weight.

“It was a long day,” Thomas said, adding they started at 8 a.m. and were busy all throughout until what is known as the grand drive.

That is when the best of the best animals in each division enter the ring together and the judge selects the overall grand champion.

During the show season in 2020 many of the events were cancelled due to the issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. For the Netzkes that made attending the Aksarben show all the more important.

Paige admitted the fact that Bojack won was a complete surprise, adding the competition is extremely tough.

Bojack did not make the return trip to Lamberton with the Netzkes, as he was sent to the University of Nebraska where he will be used to assist the livestock and meats judging teams.

The Netzke family worked together to get Bojack the big win, and Paige said like all of their show calves he really became part of the family.

It is a day that will not be forgotten for them. Thomas said he is glad he and Bojack were able to go out on top.

- Submitted photo