Republic teen Voskamp shaping up to be a cattle-showing superstar

When he was just a toddler, Roper Voskamp showed dairy cattle for the first time. He’s come a long way since then.
“My dad showed cattle when he was younger, starting with beef cows and going to dairy cattle later on,” Roper said. “He grew up on a dairy farm that is still alive today. I showed my first time when I was only two years old with my Jersey cow, Courtney, and showed off and on till I joined 4-H at nine years old. (I) have shown every summer ever since.”
Now 13, Roper shows Jersey, Holstein and Milking Short Horn cattle. The cows he shows are home bred genetics, meaning they were bred from a bull and heifer he chose to pair for mating. Such animals have “VF” or “Voskamp” before their names.
Roper’s mother, Shauna Jones, said this is a very significant aspect of cattle breeding and cattle showing.
“In the show world, this is huge,” she said. “When a home-bred animal does well … it basically tells the show world that you know what characteristics to breed into an animal to make a great, strong, good looking show animal. (And) it’s great for the farm as it makes people want to purchase those great animals.” Roper’s persistence in showing cattle has paid off. This year, he had a great deal of success at the Ozark Empire Fair.
“At (the) Ozark Empire Fair this year,” he said, “I got several class firsts along with three reserve grand champions and three junior champions, having a total of three breed champions. In the supreme drive of the fair, I won Reserve Supreme with my red and white Holstein ‘VF Debonair Flame-Red.’
Roper had even more success at the Missouri State Fair.
“I was able to take home 12 class firsts,” he said, “two grand champions, one junior grand champion, one senior grand champion, one intermediate champion, two reserve grand champions, a reserve supreme champion with (my) milking short horn ‘VF Liariano Champ EXP,’ and for the second year running, took the showmanship buckle in my division. I also attended Greene and Lawrence County Livestock shows. Next year I hope to add several shows to my list.”
Roper puts in a lot of work to get his cattle ready to show.
“Weeks prior to a show, animals need to be halter-tied and worked with, in addition to getting show rations of grain, hay, and beet pulp,” he said. “They have to be clipped then kept clean daily at the shows, top lines done, and cared for daily at the shows. An animal must be comfortable on the halter, with herself and with me. We have to trust each other and work together.”
Despite the hard work, Roper loves showing cattle, because he loves his animals, and because it’s shown him that he can do whatever he sets out to accomplish. For example, this year he won in a competition against a cattle-raising family which had consistently come out ahead of him in the past.
“This year, after 11 years of always coming in under them, I beat them at Missouri State Fair,” he said. “And to top it off, it was a heifer that was home-bred genetics. That showed me hard work and consistency pays off.”
Roper’s passion for raising dairy cattle extends beyond the show ring. Earlier this summer, he gave a speech, “The Rise of Dairy Sellouts,” during a public speaking competition at the National Holstein Convention in Appleton, Wisc. A video of Roper delivering his speech can be seen on YouTube.
Roper said his speech was about the troubles which have plagued many dairy farmers.
“My inspiration for my speech was the reality (that) was happening around me and my family,” he said, “and I realized it (might) happen to my family, so I wanted to (make people aware of) it. My main point was, it’s hurting us badly … (and) it’s making (farmers) lose their way of life. Some are even committing suicide because of sell outs.”
Next month, Roper travels to Louisville, Ky., where he will compete in the North American International Livestock Expo, or NAILE, a competition he describes as “the cream of the crop.”
“It is the second largest dairy show in the world,” he said. “In order to successfully show at it you have to have cattle that can compete in the tough competition that comes from all over, including Canada. In addition to showing just the cattle, they also have showmanship which is judging the person on the halter, not just the animal. I’ve wanted to go for a few years, and my parents told me I had to earn it. After my successful show season, my parents told me that I earned going this year.”
Next year, Roper hopes to top himself by competing in the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisc.
An eighth-grader at Republic Middle School, Roper says he is doing well in the classroom as well as the show ring.
“I love to read, love history, and don’t mind math or science really either,” he said. “I (enjoy) speech and debate (because) I love public speaking. I’m also (in) football and student council.”
Next year, Roper plans to join the Republic FFA when he attends high school. He hopes to make a career someday in agriculture, possibly as a broker for cattle. He is the son of Tommy and Shauna Jones and Bret and Angelica Voskamp.



Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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