First timer produces fluffy cow for Moffat County Fair
August 12, 2017
Cattle in the show ring at fair represent the best market and breeding animals in the county. It's hard to miss that show cattle are also well groomed and fluffy.
Months of work and hundreds of dollars are spent on beauty products to produce the perfectly fluffy cow, as first-time beef show competitor Mati Fredrickson learned this year.
Her grandfather owns a herd of cattle, and since Mati has always liked steers, she decided to select a calf from one of the calmer cows to raise for the fair.
The calf was named Roper. He was gentle but small, almost too small.
"We didn't think he'd make it," Mati said.
She started adding to his feed, increasing from 6 pounds a day to 12 pounds, a day and eventually Roper was eating 28 pounds of food a day. He gained enough weight (1,162 pounds) to qualify for fair.
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In addition to making weight, Mati had to prepare Roper to compete in the ring. That involved teaching him to be led on a halter. He needed further gentling so that he would remain calm in the busy show barn. Mati's five siblings helped her.
"They like to ride him," she said.
Daily grooming helped train his hair to lie correctly.
Fluffy hair helps fill out the body to create the square shape that the judges are looking for, said Rachel Fredrickson, Mati's mother. "They want the poof, it makes them look nice."
Hashtag "fluffycow" was trending among the youth at this year's fair.
From the tips of their pouffy tails to the tops of their fuzzy ears, cattle at the Moffat County Fair were certainly fluffy.
Competition for the best was fierce, so winning third place market beef was a welcome surprise.
"I didn't expect to get anything," Mati said.
What came next for Mati and Roper was bittersweet. She said her goodbyes and sold her steer to market.
"It's hard at first raising an animal that will be killed. As you get through it you realize that's just the way of life," Mati said.
Under the fluff is a product that is raised with love and offered to the community with pride.
"I enjoy the thought that someone else will enjoy the beef that I made," Mati said.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.