Thousands of showmen from across the nation take many trips to Denver in hopes of one day winning a gold buckle at the prestigious National Western Stock Show. But, for nine-year-old Cash Pratt, son of Dustin and Ashley Pratt of Pueblo, it only took one.

With approximately 450 participants from across the nation entered in the NWSS Prospect Steer competition, it was the young Pueblo County showman who claimed the Grand Champion title and all the prestige that comes with it.

Though Pratt is a second year 4-H member and livestock showman with the Young Riders 4-H Club, this was his first year showing at the National Western.

Pratt describes his first NWSS experience as exciting but a little hectic. He was up before the sun and put in long hours while in Denver.  

Pratt entered three steers in the prospect show at the NWSS as a way to showcase the animals that he would be showing at the Pueblo County Fair in July and the Colorado State Fair in August.

Each of Pratt's steers placed well at the NWSS, finishing in the top two in their respective classes and divisions. However, it was the black crossbred steer he calls Walks who earned the North Mesa third grader his first buckle.

"I was really excited," Pratt told the Ag Journal. "Last year I was so close to winning a buckle, but I was always one step away."

Pratt, with the support of his family, spends a lot of time with his animals and puts a great deal of effort and energy into his projects.

"I wake up at 6:00 to get ready for school, and then after I go to school I do my homework, and then I come out here to help my dad feed and do all that," explained Pratt.

Pratt also enjoys helping his little brother Reed with his first-year project; a mini Hereford named Champ.

The Pratt boys are excited to compete on the county and state levels this year and at the Black Out and Green and Gold jackpots.

Though many might think Pratt has already accomplished the goal of a lifetime, he is only just beginning, and he has a bright future in the cattle industry.

Every year Pratt acquires a heifer from his parents' superior herd. Embryos are saved from these cows, and each year his herd grows. By the time Pratt graduates, his goal is to have an established herd of high-quality cattle.

The ambitious youngster also plans to add to his buckle collection soon.

"I want to win county fair, state fair, the Green and Gold, and the Black Out," said Pratt.