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A Family Daily Double

ROME TOWNSHIP — Once is good, but twice is nice.

Outlasting 32 exhibitors and the rapidly rising humidity, brothers Josh and Brandon Craft defied the odds Wednesday night to take grand and reserve champion in the market steer show at the 2009 Lawrence County Fair.

In front of an overflow crowd that saw its stands filled to capacity 45 minutes before the end gate opened, the Craft brothers used experience, a supportive fan base and prepared steers to walk away with the popular show’s top two honors.

“This is very exciting, a lot of hard work went into this,” said Josh Craft whose market steer was awarded grand champion by fair judge John Grimes after winning his preliminary class in the 1,294-1,338 pound weight level.

The 16-year-old Symmes Valley High School student said he was proud of the preparation he put into this year’s entry. He also was thrilled for his 12-year-old brother who joined him in the post-show celebration with his own reserve champion steer.

“I am really, really happy,” Brandon Craft said following the show. “I’m happy it was my brother and I at the end. We both worked very hard on this.”

Brandon Craft made it to the final after winning the 1,342-1,369 pound class.

Before naming the brother’s steers grand and reserve champion, Grimes spent several minutes walking back and forth between the six finalists’ steers, running his hand down each of their sides several times checking conformation.

Grimes was very appreciative of each entry and took the time to offer his compliments and suggestions to each exhibitor and the audience on what he saw in each animal. The Hillsboro, Ohio resident was very deliberate and meticulous in his judging.

Following the show, Grimes also judged the market steer showmanship classes. Divided into four senior showmanship classes and three junior classes, exhibitors now were the ones being judged.

Taking top honors in the senior showmanship classes was 17-year-old Justin Payne. Payne, who attends Symmes Valley High School, said he had a good feeling he did well after the class.

“I worked very hard and it paid off,” Payne said.

Snapping up top junior market steer showmanship honors was 9-year-old Matison Klaiber.

In only her first year of showing, the Symmes Valley Elementary School student said emotions got the best of her when her name was called.

“I was so excited I started to cry,” Klaiber said. “I worked hard for this and practiced a lot.”

Market Steer Show

Class One (Under 1,220 pounds): Tiara Hatfield

Class Two (1,221-1,269 pounds): Jared Bruce

Class Three (1,270-1,291 pounds): Cody Myers

Class Four (1,294-1,338 pounds): Josh Craft

Class Five (1,342-1,369 pounds): Brandon Craft

Class Six (1,385-1,621 pounds): Zachary Sloan

Market Steer Show Final

Grand Champion: Josh Craft

Reserve Champion: Brandon Craft

Third Place: Cody Myers

Fourth Place: Zachary Sloan

Fifth Place: Jared Bruce

Sixth Place: Chelsey Keathley

Seventh Place: Krysta Thompson

Eighth Place: Evan Herrell

Ninth Place: Kasey Walker

Tenth Place: Autumn Keathley

Market Steer Showmanship

Senior Showmanship

Class One: Justin Payne

Class Two: Chelsey Keathley

Class Three: Evan Herrell

Class Four: Kasey Walker

Champion: Justin Payne

Junior Showmanship

Class Five: Uriah Christian

Class Six: Brenna Morris

Class Seven: Matison Klaiber

Champion: Matison Klaiber