Moffat County Fair participants have a cow over beef showmanship Thursday
August 7, 2014
Craig — The Moffat County Fair continued Thursday with the Beef Show, and the show opened with Showmanship.
"It's how we’ve always done it," said spectator Amanda St. Martin. "I believe that the steers have a better attitude at the beginning and are easier to handle."
Training an animal to be calm and easy to handle is one of Brice White's favorite parts about showing beef.
"Breaking them to halter is the time when I learn the most about my calf," White said.
White was this year's Senior Beef Showmanship Grand Champion.
"I start working with them as soon as I get them in September and they become my best friends," he said.
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Easton Ekroth, 9, is a member of the Elkhead Wranglers 4-H club. He and his parents were preparing for the junior showmanship class. It's their first time showing cattle at the fair.
"It’s lots of work," Ekroth said. "We have to work with them every day and wash and rinse them once a week."
Others expressed the dedication it takes to prepare an animal for fair.
"It takes me 10 minutes to get ready and four hours to get my calf ready," said Katie Haskins, who won third place in this year's intermediate showmanship competition. "We start by washing them then we put on some mousse and hair gel and we make the tail into a tear-drop shape. He's over 1,300 pounds and sometimes they don't like to stand still."
The hard work spent in grooming cattle is all a part of bringing out the best in both.
"In the showmanship competition we are looking for the person who can show their animal to the best of their ability," said Judge Matt Ellicott, of Greeley, who has had over 15 years of experience judging beef. "This is a great group that has impressed me with their competitiveness and sportsmanship."
White, Ekroth, Haskins and the many other 4-H and FFA competitors are supported by families who eagerly await the results. "Watching her in the ring is stressful, but I'm so proud to see her doing well," said Aimee Haskins. "The hardest part is the preparation, making sure I have all the combs, brushes, products and bobby pins; I forgot the bobby pins," said Haskins. "Our household goes on hold for fair week," she said.
Fair families come in all shapes and sizes. Melinda White, Brice's mother, raises her two children on her own. "We work so hard that our whole life is spent in the barn," said Ms. White. "The best thing about it is that I know where Brice is at and I know she's doing something that will give her important life skills," said White.
The fair continues Friday with competitions for small animals and swine.