Colorado Elks Association



Catch-A-Calf, Heifer Wrangle & Little Britches Rodeo

Catch-A-Calf, Heifer Wrangle & Little Britches Rodeo Committee Purpose:  To cooperate with the NWSS in Denver regarding the Catch-a-Calf and Heifer Wrangle Contests.  Meet the boy or girl that catch the CEA calf and offer assistance.  Keep in contact with the boy or girl throughout the year regarding the progress of the calf.  Encourage and assist lodges that want to participate in the Little Britches Rodeo Program.

Catch-a-Calf ProgramHeld in conjunction with the National Western Stock Show.  The program started in 1935 with 10 sponsors and 10 boys who caught calves, the program quickly attracted the interest of 4-H members who caught the calves at the Stock Show, fed them out and returned them as market beef a year later.

Catch-a-Calf ProgramSixteen contestants at each of five performances of the Stock Show rodeo enter the arena to catch eight calves that are turned loose.  The contestant must catch a calf, halter it with a rope and lead the balking calf to an exit gate.  Later, the successful catcher will receive a steer or heifer calf to take home, each one sponsored by a business or an individual.  Since the beginning in 1935, contestants have been required to correspond with their sponsors monthly and keep financial records on their calves and return them to the Stock Show for exhibiting.

Some of the important changes made over the years include:


  • In 1949, rather than the calves being judged on their general appearance, winners were determined by pounds of gain, improvement in quality, records of writing their sponsors and the quality and completeness of the member's record book.
  • Early calves were from Shorthorn, Hereford and Angus stock, but by 1974, to achieve more uniformity the calves were all of one breed and one herd, alternating breeds by years. Now the calves are selected based upon age and disposition as well as breed and uniformity.
  • Girls were participants in the Catch-a-Calf contest for the first time in 1974.
  • Since 1975, the Catch-a-Calf contest has added a carcass phase along with the gain score. The Catch-a-Calf contest continues to add new challenges to adapt to the needs of youth and provide an understanding of the cattle industry.

Catch-a-Calf ProgramThe Colorado FFA Beef Heifer Wrangle is very similar to the 4H Catch-a-Calf program.  FFA members catch calves during two of the rodeo performances at National Western Stock Show.  Successful competitors then receive a heifer calf which they raise, train, breed and are required to show during the Colorado State Fair.  Participants are required to correspond with their sponsors through the program until such time their heifer has her first calf.  The heifer is then theirs to keep.  It is a long-standing program which has given numerous young people a good experience and a start in agriculture.

The Colorado Elks Association, member Lodges, Members, the Wyoming Elks and others sponsor calves for the Catch-a-Calf Program.  Colorado Elks Association and member lodges and others sponsor the sixteen calves that make up the Heifer Wrangle.


Catch-a-Calf Program