The Judd Ranch Gelbvieh and Balancer bulls were rated among the best at the National Western Stock Show, Denver, Colorado.

The Pomona ranch competed with four pens and came away with either a Grand Champion banner or a Reserve Grand Champion banner in each category. Judd Ranch’s Gelbvieh pen of three bulls, Gelbvieh pen of five bulls and Balancer pen of three bulls were selected Grand Champion of their respective divisions while Judd Ranch’s Balancer pen of five bulls were tapped as that division’s Reserve Grand Champion pen.

“The judge of the pen shows always want stout, practical, ranch bulls that will work for today’s commercial cowman, and that is what we try to produce,” Dave Judd said. “All-in-all, we had a really great day in the yards.”

Judging the Gelbvieh/Balancer pen show was Quinton Smith, a third-generation Angus breeder, who has judged shows across the United States and Canada. Smith said he judges cattle starting at the ground up, as you got to have bulls with good feet since bulls good on their feet will last longer. He explained he wanted the winning pens to be comprised of “combination bulls” — bulls that were as fault-free as possible. He wanted pens that had the “paperwork” (performance data) coupled with structural soundness, depth of rib, length of body and eye appeal. He was also adamant that his top pens be uniform in phenotype and genotype.

“My winning pens will be bulls that I want to take home with me,” Smith said.

Judd Ranch’s Grand Champion Gelbvieh Pen of 3 comprised of three black, homozygous polled purebred Gelbvieh, sons of JRI Secret Instinct. The pen of January yearlings posted an average weight of 1,248 pounds and a rib eye area average of 15.63 square inches. All pens in the Gelbvieh Pen of 3 run for the purple banner were “of championship quality.” Smith said the winning pen from Judd Ranch was “the most uniform pen,” adding that it also looked the best on paper and to the eye.

When naming Judd Ranch’s purebred Gelbvieh Pen of 5 Grand Champion, Smith stressed the bulls would be “very useful when put with groups of cows.” He said that the bulls “moved great” and were “uniform in their kind.”

The Judd Ranch pen of five — each black and homozygous polled and born January and early February 2018 — had an average pen weight of 1,198 pounds. Four of the five bulls were sired by JRI Secret Instinct 254U83, with the remaining bull sired by JRI General Patton 213B97ET.

Judd Ranch’s Grand Champion Balancer pen of 3 was another all black, homozygous polled set of bulls born January and February 2018. They had a pen weight average of 1,180 pounds and a weight per day of age average of 3.5 pounds. Smith said this pen “read well on paper” and were “uniform in kind.” He praised the bulls for being “smooth shouldered and stout,” adding that they moved out on “good feet.”

Named Reserve Grand Champion of the Balancer Pen of 5 show, Judd Ranch’s entry was black, homozygous polled and born January and February 2018. With a pen average weight of 1,148 pounds. Smith said this “really good pen” exhibited the length of body that he prefers and had that all important eye appeal and paperwork to work for today’s cowmen.

“While winning Denver’s pen shows is a great feeling, I can’t wait to put these bulls before our customers at our annual bull sale in March,” Judd said. “That’s where the rubber meets the road.”

Judd Ranch’s 41st Gelbvieh, Balancer and Red Angus bull sale will be conducted Saturday, March 2, at the ranch in Pomona. Of the 303 bulls selling, 99 percent are sired by breed-leading AI sires and 287 of the 303 bulls are homozygous polled.