The Limousin breed (along with Lim-Flex crosses) has achieved widespread show ring excellence across the country – particularly in champion drives. For breeders and commercial cattlemen, the profitability and marketing traits of the breed have been well known for a long time. But in addition to the impressive genetic advancement, the Limousin’s eye-catching phenotype is now turning more heads among the stock show community and fueling an increased interest in the breed.
What about this breed allows them to not only be a personal favorite of many, but also stand at the top in the ring at the end of the day? It turns out that the years of breeding emphasis placed on high-quality carcasses also translates well to being a powerful presence in the judge’s eye.
Stars in the ring
With exceptional performance at some of the most elite shows in the nation, it didn’t take long for showmen to take notice of the Limousin’s impressive presence in the ring.
One notable name at the forefront of this trend is Ratliff Family Cattle, honored as the supreme champion breeder at both the North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. One cow that particularly stands out to them is Riverstone Charmed, aka Larissa.
Madison Ratliff showed Larissa, who became the first Limousin to top NAILE in 2016. This win made her well known not only within the Limousin community, but also to showmen outside the breed. One of Larissa’s daughters recently followed in her mother’s footsteps and took NAILE’s top heifer laurels as Junior Supreme Champion Heifer in 2021. Ratliff noted that this is the first mother/daughter pair to do so at the prestigious show to date.
“The thickness, muscling, and feed efficiency still holds true today as it did 40+ years ago when David (Ratliff) and his dad, Tub, chose Limousins when David wanted to start showing cattle,” the family shares. “We think the breed is heading in the right direction.”
Sara Sullivan, a NAILE supreme champion exhibitor, has had the opportunity to work with various cattle breeds. But when it comes to Limousin and Lim-Flex, she has found showing them a unique experience. Her family has a rooted history in the breed and thus where success has sprouted for her and her family.
There is always that excitement in the air when it comes to the champion class and tentatively watching the judge(s) evaluate and weigh which animal ends on top. In addition, everyone in the ring nervously waits to find out what animal fits the description of the word “champion.”
Sullivan stated that day in the show ring during champion selection, “I was really hoping the judge’s remarks were describing my heifer and I thought there was a good chance he was based on what he said.”
Then, the champion slap said it all for her and confirmed any nerves she had originally going into the supreme heifer drive with Larissa’s daughter Ratliff Howboutit 008H ET.
“Getting that champion slap was such a happy moment because I had been very nervous going into the supreme drive, but it all paid off,” says Sullivan.
Backed by Genotype
Sullivan believes that the rise in the Limousin’s popularity and success largely stems from the breeders’ focus and development in quality genetics. Many of these can be tied to the carcass traits – including high dressing percentages, depth of body, a moderate yet powerful frame and substantial ribeye areas – which commercial cattlemen of all backgrounds have hailed. The combination of these traits has led to the rise of more Lim-Flex crosses and increased demand for their genetics throughout the beef sector.
Kylee Gaston, (who showed the Houston Livestock Show’s Supreme Champion Heifer, Continental Supreme Champion Heifer and Champion Limousin Heifer) and her father, Jason, find that Limousin have the mass, big bone, depth of body and power that sets them apart from other breeds. This is especially a powerful advantage as the Houston show always brings in the breed champions at one time for supreme, allowing the judges to really compare all the winners they didn’t personally judge.
“The look on (the judges’) faces were giant eyes and lots of nodding to each other as if to say ‘yep, that’s the one’,” the Gaston’s share of DL Hosanna 526H ET’s selection for supreme.
A Bright Future
Many avid showmen agree that, phenotypically and genetically, the breed is heading in the right direction, evident by their trend of topping champion drives. As more stock show enthusiasts, young and old, notice the success, demand is expected to grow along with a continued breeding strategy that fills this niche.
The amazing development in both Limousin and Lim-Flex’s, thanks to wise breeding decisions, is evident by the breed’s versatility and widespread acceptance. It’s an exciting time for the stock show world as more exhibitors discover the breed’s capabilities and show ring presence.
Limousin cattle deliver to your bottom line. With superior genetics, a simple crossbreeding plan and state-of-the-art selection tools, the Limousin breed will serve profit-minded cow/calf producers. In today’s competitive markets, taking advantage of all available opportunities is key. The Limousin breed offers a variety of options from Fullblood to Purebred to the Lim-Flex® hybrid (Limousin x Angus cross) to match your program’s needs and market goals. Crossbreeding for the right blend of muscle, maternal ability and profit is easy with Limousin seedstock.