HC has won three reserve championships at the Refugio County Fair before Saturday when he took the grand championship with a 1,290-pound exotic steer he calls Milkman. The steer was purchased at auction Saturday afternoon for $10,000 by Hallettsville Livestock Commission, Charro Operating, Midcoast Lease Service, and DCP Midstream.
The last three years, the Neel siblings have garnered the grand champion steer honors. For the last two years, HC’s sister Codye won the title for her entries, but this year her steers were sold at major stock shows. Codye ended up showing lambs instead. Her lambs won the reserve championship.
“I was ecstatic,” HC says of his sister’s win at the major shows. Had he won, he would have been showing lambs in his hometown as well.
This year, HC also won the grand championship of cattle judging at the Texas State Fair and at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, so nobody can question his eye for exceptional beef on the hoof.
“Judging teaches you about the character traits needed to produce and find an ideal animal,” HC says.
The Neels live on a ranch and HC’s father, Clay, showed animals when he was a kid. Livestock shows are a family tradition.
“We travel all over Texas as a family and we have gone as far as Oklahoma to find the animals at a reasonable price,” says Amy Neel, HC’s mother.
“Milkman was actually named after a show bull that people breed to,” HC says.
The difference is, Milkman, the sire, is a smoky colored Charolais. HC’s Milkman is a yellow roan.
“My dad actually saw him and we had him shipped to Odem,” HC says. “We picked him up there.”
HC enjoys living on a ranch but his future aspirations include journalism.
“I like to write and try to write whenever I can,” he says.
The family tradition won’t end with Codye and HC. Look for younger sister, Cassidy, 4, to show championship animals in years to come.