Jakob Juul

My name is Jakob Juul, the 19-year-old son of Ron and Kim Juul. Alongside my 4 siblings, I grew up on a family owned and operated alfalfa hay operation in southeastern Colorado. I graduated salutatorian of Fowler High School but currently call El Dorado, Kansas home. I am attending Butler Community College as a member of their livestock judging team and plan to dual major in Animal Science and Agribusiness on a pre-law track. In addition to the farm, my family runs a small herd of Boer Goats through which we strive to raise show wethers for every level of competition. My parents each hold a profession off of the farm and I can proudly say that all of my older siblings have entered professions in the agricultural field. While in high school, I was extensively involved in 4-H and FFA where I held numerous offices as well as being a member of the Colorado All-State Livestock Judging Team, National Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa, National Society of High School Scholars, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Students, County 4-H Council, Farm Bureau, Young Farmers and Ranchers and Varsity Athletics. Although I never claimed to be overly athletic, being 6’7” in a school with a total population of 120 students means you are expected to play!

As the youngest of five children, I quickly learned that sharing is caring and hand-me-downs aren’t half bad! Yet, I owe much of my current success to my parents and older siblings for the opportunities that they provided me. As a June born baby, I was hauled to my first jackpot show at just two weeks old. Wrapped in a “Barney” blanket, I spent numerous summer days on the top of our padded Sullivan’s show box where I quickly learned everything and more than I needed to know about showing livestock for a newborn. While in the show barn, I caught some sort of sickness. This sickness doesn’t exhibit the typical clinical signs of an air born illness but rather provides its hosts with a strong love for animals and a burning fire of competitive nature deep inside everyone who contracts it. Ever since I can remember, I was following my sisters out to the barn to do chores and work with the show stock. I couldn’t wait to get out of the house so I could spend time with the animals. I loved showing my siblings’ animals in the pee wee show but let’s get real, everyone gets a ribbon for that and participation points wasn’t what I was after. I spent my days in pre-school dreaming about the time when I could show my very own goat and just like the rest of life, time flies and before I knew it, I was 8 years old and finally old enough to show my first project!

When the spring rolled around, I bugged my parents day after day regarding when I could pick out my goats. Finally, I chose one goat we had raised and purchased “ACE” from Mr. Steve Chenoweth. That summer I learned more about life than any other 8-year-old on the planet. The curriculum wasn’t math or science but rather the importance of hard work, dedication, reliability, passion and love. I got up early each and every day to feed and exercise my wethers. The afternoons were filled with showmanship practice and evening chores followed by family dinner and then bedtime. My parents always stressed the importance of showmanship and said that “we may not be able to afford the highest priced animal in the industry, but we sure as heck won’t be beat because ours didn’t work right.” The end of the summer came much to quickly but I was ecstatic to finally show my goats at county fair. I proudly boasted my Reserve Champion ribbon and was only content with being the “first loser” because my sister had been the one that beat me. The week after was the Colorado State Fair and I honestly don’t remember if I was more excited to show my goat or miss the first week of school. Regardless, my true love for exhibiting livestock came then, when I had placed high enough to earn a spot in the premium sale. Although a small feat for most, this bit of success on a larger scale was all it took to get me hooked. I knew then that I not only wanted to show livestock, but also raise and evaluate stock and eventually enter a career in agriculture as an adult.

Over the years came many successes but no banner was ever as important as the lessons learned, memories made and connections formed. As my competitive nature and drive for success increased so did the quality of livestock I yearned to show. This was where I learned one of the most crucial lessons of life, “It’s not what you know, but who you know, or rather who knows you.” My family soon began upgrading our own genetics but was also seeking out higher quality livestock to purchase, which is when I first met Mr. Gary Cramblet. I had talked to Gary numerous times but finally purchased stock from him in the spring of 2013. It was goats from Gary and numerous other breeders that went on to hang several banners for me. I was named both Grand and Reserve Grand Champion Market Goat numerous times at our state fair, Reserve Champion at The Ak-SAR-BEN Stock Show and Rodeo, Grand Champion at the NILE Stock Show and Rodeo as well as numerous premium sale qualifiers at the American Royal and National Western Stock Show and Rodeo. I feel blessed to have shown stock purchased from some of the top breeders from coast to coast; all of whom have mentored me and left a lasting impression on my life.

In 2013 I began showing cattle in addition to goats. I had always wanted to show cattle but while my siblings were at home there just wasn’t enough hours in the day to work with fours species for each child so we stuck with the three smaller ones. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and I believe the following is a prime example. While feeding my goat in the champion stalls at the Colorado State Fair, I struck up a conversation with Mr. Reitzenstein whose daughter, Kendall had the Grand Champion Market Steer in the stall next to mine. I shared with him my interest in showing cattle and each time I spoke with him later that week he encouraged me to show cattle next year. In the words of some personal friends and industry leaders “Life is Short, Buy the Steer.” Later that fall I purchased my first set of calves and developed a love for showing cattle. Knowing nothing about showing cattle posed some serious challenges but also presented many new opportunities. My parents and I attended several clinics and camps and made some invaluable connections with industry experts that guided me towards success in my projects. Some of my favorite memories were road trips when my parents and I would travel from state to state to view calves that I would later purchase. I grew tremendously with the new project addition because sleeping in 30 minutes or going to bed before 10 o’clock was no longer an option. I got up each and every morning and fed the steers, rinsed them each for 20-30 minutes and then put them in the cool room. After the cattle were in the cooler for the day I would exercise and feed the wethers and check pasture waters for the does. I would then begin working hair on the cattle which took the better part of 3-4 hours. Nightly showmanship practice with the goats was followed by feeding time and then dinner. After we had eaten, the cattle were pulled from their 49 degree oasis and exercised and fed and placed in outside runs for the night. Some people would say we were crazy for spending that much energy and effort on our livestock but the hard work nearly always payed off in the end. I found it funny when my friends would text me and ask what I was doing that day; I nearly always replied with “well besides the regular livestock stuff, not a whole lot.” The same humor came when the teachers asked each student how they spent their summer at the beginning of each school year. My answer was always the same, “I spent my summer working show stock and traveling to shows; both of which are past times I thoroughly enjoy.” They crinkled their eye brows and gave the same expression when I told them I would miss a week of school for each of the fall and winter majors. What they didn’t realize is what we do in this industry is so much more than raise show stock, because in reality we are raising young people. I had entertained deeper thought and solved more problems in the cool room than sitting behind any desk. I learned to overcome obstacles, find a better solution and pick myself up after I was knocked down to try again next year. As young agriculturalists we learn the importance of caring for our animals and providing a positive image for the public. We combine social studies, science experiments, math equations and critical thinking in our daily activities. Most students attend career fairs to make industry connections but meeting new people is just one of the many benefits of showing livestock.

One of my greatest passions also lies within the show ring but pertains to the individual on the other side of the microphone. I began judging livestock at a young age and quickly grew fond of the mental challenge and competitive nature of evaluating stock. I enjoyed traveling hundreds of thousands of miles in the back of my mom’s suburban visiting top notch operations and gaining insight from industry leaders. I was blessed with much success throughout my high school career earning top honors at local, state and national contests, specifically in the Reasons Room. A few highlights include winning oral reasons several times at the Colorado State Contest as well as the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in addition to numerous High Individual Overall honors.

My story wouldn’t be complete without thanking some of the most impactful people in my life. Numerous extension agents, livestock breeders, judging coaches and other individuals devoted hours upon hours of their lives to my personal success and I feel blessed to have each of you in my life. My grandparents, aunts and uncles travelled across Colorado and the United States to support me. Sharing special moments with each of them is something I will cherish for a lifetime. Although they may not realize it, each of my siblings have paved the way for me and allowed me to learn from their mistakes. My dad worked tirelessly feeding my stock while I was in basketball practice, covered my late-night kidding shifts and most importantly provided me with endless opportunities so that the only thing that could ever hold me back was myself. Last, but certainly not least my momma, my largest supporter, my rock and biggest inspiration. The woman who stayed up all night ironing show jeans, researching top dresses, making phone calls and ensuring that the show folder was always complete with two copies of entries, rules and health papers, THANK YOU!

A special thank you to the Cramblet Family for everything you have done for me throughout my time in the show ring and for allowing me the opportunity to share a small piece of my story through this Junior Spotlight!

These people and many more are a large part of what makes showing so special. As I have opened a new chapter of my life each member of my “show family” has been there to support me and for that I am so thankful. I plan to continue my involvement in the agricultural industry upon graduating from law school where I hope to work in agricultural policy to aid in protecting our industry from the quickly encroaching rules and regulations that threaten the prosperity of our lifestyle. I hope to continue judging shows, raising show stock and eventually raise my family in the same industry that has done so much for me. I am so thankful for each relationship I have formed and each memory made and feel blessed to live this lifestyle.