FroBuzz Goes to the Yak Show

Who else can say they spent their four year anniversary at a yak show?!

The National Western Stock Show just wrapped a few days ago – it’s a great experience for anyone who loves livestock, rodeo, fun times and no humidity. Just be sure to bring your chapstick and your party pants.

I hadn’t been to the National Western in five years but was stoked to make the trek this year because the Ninja was judging the International Yak Association (IYAK) show. 

This also happened in conjunction with our wedding anniversary, which I talked about last week. So our anniversary weekend was spent strolling through the stockyards, judging the show (him) and taking pictures of yaks during the pen show and the halter show (me).

Yaks are multipurpose animals – they produce fiber and meat. They originally are from Tibet so many of the breeders will sell or feature Tibetan clothing or accessories made from yak fiber. I got to try yak meat while I was there – yakburgers, yak sticks (similar to a pepperoni stick) and yak jerky. All three were delicious and very lean. Yak burgers are 93/7 meaning they are 93% lean and 7% fat – this is the same lean to fat ratio as 93/7 ground beef so if you are looking for a ground beef alternative, here ya go!

A lot of people have asked how a yak is evaluated and at this show they were judged on their fiber and on their conformation and muscling. The Ninja judged on the latter and there was another judge present to judge the crimp of the fiber; it’s very similar to wool judging. I know the Ninja put a lot of emphasis on structure and function, which is similar to what he does with other livestock species in market shows.

Champion Senior Showman

Champion Outfitter

One of the yak champs

Congratulating the Reserve Champion female

A yak escaped but never fear, the Ninja is here!

Evaluating the fuzzy yaks!

No caption does this photo justice – just enjoy!

This whole experience was completely outside the realm of anything I had ever experienced before. Yaks aren’t an overly common livestock animal in southeastern Kansas, where I grew up. But I learned a lot about yaks, their fiber and yak meat production. All the producers and ranchers we met were super friendly and willing to go out of their way to accommodate us.

If you want to learn more about yak production in the United States, you can visit their website. Next time you’re in Denver, go to the yak show during the second weekend of the National Western.  You won’t be disappointed!

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~