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A class of Hereford cattle was lined up during judging at the 2016 World Beef Expo at the State Fair Park in West Allis.

WEST ALLIS — Beef enthusiasts from all over the country will soon be joining together for one of the largest cattle exhibitions in the Midwest.

Thousands of people are expected to make their way to the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds Sept. 27-29 for the 27th annual World Beef Expo. This year is sure to delight attendees as several national breed shows and a new collegiate livestock judging contest will be held, along with plenty of opportunities to connect with others throughout the weekend.

Four hundred exhibitors representing 23 breeds and 14 states across the U.S. will check in their animals Wednesday and Thursday, coming together Thursday evening, Sept. 26, for an exhibitor reception in the Wisconsin Products Pavilion. The trade show and silent auction will officially open Thursday evening as well, with the Expo in full swing by Friday morning, Sept. 27.

The first show planned for World Beef Expo will begin at 8 a.m. on Sept. 27 — an American Angus Association Roll of Victory show that event organizers and attendees alike are excited for. One of 19 designated ROV shows for the 2019-2020 season, exhibitors in this show will earn points toward the program for their individual show-winning animals, with continued recognition to the sires of major award winners.

Later Friday afternoon, college students from junior and senior colleges across the country will come together for the Expo’s first ever Collegiate Livestock Judging Contest. The contest will begin at 1 p.m. in the Discovery Barn and is being hosted by Illinois State University and World Beef Expo. College students will judge cattle, competing with other students on judging; then they will be judged on their livestock judging, with awards presented to the top 10 individuals and top 5 teams during the Supreme Champion Drive Saturday evening.

Other breed shows held on Friday include the Hereford show at 8 a.m.; Belted Galloway show at 11:30 a.m.; Simmental Show at noon; Shorthorn show at 1:30 p.m.; Highland show at 4 p.m.; Red Angus show at 4:30 p.m.; and American British White Park show at 5 p.m. The Belted Galloway show will be a national breed show, sanctioned by the U.S. Belted Galloway Society, Inc.

Another national breed show will be held on Saturday, Sept. 28 at 11:30 a.m. — the Murray Grey show. The Murray Grey breed show will begin at 11:30 a.m. and is sanctioned by the American Murray Grey Association.

“Both national shows I expect will be well attended,” said Charlene Becker, World Beef Expo executive director. “There should be a big crowd for the Saturday sale as well.”

The All Breeds Showcase Sale will be held in the Expo Trade Show Building on Sept. 28 at 1 p.m. with exceptional genetics, show heifers, cow/calf pairs, breds and bulls all up for sale. The sale will be led by Larry Martin Cattle Sales, Clinton, Illinois, and will also be live broadcast on LiveAuctions.TV.

Breed shows continue on Saturday with the Mini Hereford and American Galloway shows at 8 a.m.; Maine-Anjou and Wagyu shows at 9 a.m.; American Aberdeen show at 9:30 a.m.; Chianina show at 10 a.m.; Commercial show at 10:30 a.m.; Charolais show at 11 a.m.; and the All Other Registered/Any Other Breed show at 11:30 a.m. Youth will also participate in Showmanship on Saturday in the Coliseum at 2:30 p.m.

There will be several social events held during the weekend that allow cattle enthusiasts to connect with each other. Along with the exhibitor reception Thursday evening, exhibitors and attendees are invited to a chili lunch at noon on Friday and an ice cream social Friday evening at 7 p.m., which will feature a presentation on laser therapy. “Shoot the Bull,” a social and raffle crawl held Saturday night before the Supreme Champion Drive, will also provide an opportunity to mingle with those in the cattle industry.

Saturday night will eclipse with the Supreme Champion Drive, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Coliseum. Awards will be presented to Youth Sweepstakes and Showmanship winners, along with the announcement of scholarship winners. The “best of the best” will also be showcased during the champion drive, giving attendees the opportunity to see the top animals at this year’s Expo.

The event will wind down Sunday, Sept. 29, with youth activities, including Junior Heifer and Junior Prospect Steer shows at 8 a.m. followed by the Junior Market Steer and another Junior Heifer show. At the conclusion of the last Junior Heifer show, all Grand and Reserve breed heifers will be judged for the top 5 heifers of the junior show.

According to Becker, 1,150 entries for both the Open and Junior shows had been received as of Sept. 10, with more expected to filter in as the date of the Expo nears. Entry numbers continue to increase each year, an indicator that interest in Expo, and beef cattle in general, continues to grow.

“I’m looking forward to seeing all the people, some who I haven’t seen in awhile, and all the excitement,” Becker said. “World Beef Expo is a family event, and it’s just a fun time.”

Admission to World Beef Expo is free and the event is open to the public. Another free family event, the Harvest Fair, will also be held at the same time as Expo in State Fair Park, with live entertainment on several stages and lots of food and family activities.

For more information on World Beef Expo, please visit www.worldbeefexpo.com, call 920-479-0658 or email info@worldbeefexpo.com.