Large beef show kicks off Junior Fair events
MOUNT VERNON — At least 54 cattle were showcased at Sunday’s Junior Fair market beef show. Junior staff and exhibitors set up early for the show.
Gavin Burke, 17, Mount Vernon, said he had been up since 4:30 a.m. getting his animals ready for the show. Burke won Grand Champion for both market beef and beef feeder.
Burke attributed his success to selective breeding and good feed that produced the beef and feeder champions.
Having grown up on the family farm, Burke bred his own cattle for the shows. He said a good meat cow should be big enough, filled out, and have all the “right parts put together.”
Burke is a member of the Smokin’ Spurs 4-H club and a junior in the Mount Vernon FFA chapter. He was accompanied by his grandmother Christy Small, who was proud of her grandson’s accomplishment.
Burke said that his favorite part of the market show is doing good in the ring and getting to know that he had the best animal out there.
In the beef feeder category, Cheyanne Anders, 18, Howard, came in third place with her 5-month old feeder Hazard.
The name Hazard was a humorous reference to this year’s COVID-19 environment, according to Anders.
Anders is part of East Knox FFA. Having been an exhibitor at the junior fair since she was eight, Anders has shown cattle for the last 10 years ranging from beef, steers, feeders to dairy steers, and once won Supreme Champion with her milk cow.
For beef animals, Anders said the most important things to note are the animal’s structure and ability to grow. She fed Hazard high protein foods, fat sources to “lower the gut,” and fiber to fill up the animal.
Anders purchased Hazard from a breeder to raise up for the feeder show and planned to bring Hazard back next year as a market steer.
Anders said she participates in the shows because she raises these animals since they are calves and wants to see them “reach full potential.”
In the end, the goal is for someone to eat the beef and have a good meal, Anders said.
10-year-old Trey Levering from Fredericktown came in fifth place with his feeder Jonathan. Levering is part of the Country Critter 4-H club and this was his second time showing at the fair.
Levering said that a good feeder should be fat because that’s when it has the most meat. He shared that he accomplished this by feeding Jonathan a lot of ‘beef’ food.
Levering also trained by walking the feeder two to four hours a day to prepare for showing in the ring. He shared that the show stick — which has a short, dull metal hook at the end — is used to scratch the animal’s side to “occupy them” and keep the animal calm while standing still in the ring.
Like Anders, Levering also planned on keeping Jonathan for next year’s market beef show.
Meanwhile, Lindsey Swendal, 14, Danville, planned on selling her feeder at Saturday’s auction. Swendal is a member of the Chapel View Barn Buddies 4-H club and this is her third time as an exhibitor at the fair.
She got into shows due to family influence — both her father and uncle raised beef cows on their farm. Lindsey’s mother, Danielle Swendal, was at the show to support her daughter.
The mother and daughter duo shared that Lindsey raised the now 5-month old calf, Hazel, after purchasing her from a breeder.
Swendal mentioned the looks and muscles as some of the most important aspects of a show feeder. Lindsey fed and walked Hazel four times a day to prepare Hazel for the show, according to Danielle Swendal.
Although Lindsey did not place Top 10 in the overall beef feeder category, she placed fifth in Class 1. Swendal said her favorite part of the show is getting to spend time with her friends at the fair.
This year’s market beef judge was Jake Osborn, co-owner of Osborn Show Cattle. Osborn is a graduate of Ohio State University with a BA in Animal Science and a MA in Education. He judges cow shows at all levels in seven states.
Throughout the shows, Osborn provided live commentary on individual cows as he judged their presentation. The shows were streamed live and available for playback on the Knox County Junior Fair’s Facebook page.
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