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Here’s the Beef

Teens vie for bovine awards

 

ROME TOWNSHIP — The breeding heifer category didn’t have the largest pool of competitors but that didn’t keep the competition from being intense.

After several minutes of analyzing the cattle, judges finally selected Ann-Michal Dyer’s heifer as grand champion in contest judges called “tight.” Dyer competed on behalf of Getaway Go-Getters 4-H.

“I’m so happy to win,” Dyer said. “It feels great. There were some good heifers out there I competed against, so I’m just happy.”

Markie Norris, of Starlite 4-H, claimed the reserve champion honor.

“It feels all right,” Norris said. “I worked with my heifer a lot. I don’t know what else I could have done.”

Dyer credited a strict workout regimen mixed with tedious grooming for her success in the competition.

“We did a lot of exercising,” she said. “You have to keep them in good condition. I also brushed her everyday and made sure that I kept her cool so her hair would grow.”

 

Showmanship

Steer after steer, heifer after heifer and calf after calf tromped around the show arena at the commands of their handlers. The massive cattle often out weighing the young teens by hundreds, even thousands of pounds, but yet the teens were firmly in control.

“You want to be in control,” senior steer and heifer showmanship champion Ann-Michal Dyer said. “You have to really work with them to get them comfortable and to get them to take commands.”

The competitors also had to answer questions about their animal’s anatomy and health.

“You have to know what each part of them is called and what diseases they could potentially get,” junior feeder steer champion Bronson Barker said. “This is my third year and I’ve learned a lot about them each year.”

Dyer, along with Brenna Morris, the senior feeder steer champion, won grand championships in their market shows to go along with their showman awards. The pair both said that in some ways the showman championship is a bigger accomplishment.

“I feel like it is bigger,” Dyer said. “Other people may not because they take a lot of pride in how their animal looks and in having the ideal market animal. But, personally, for me, I prefer winning showmanship.”

Market competitions are based solely on the animal and it’s body type. The showmanship awards are given to those who have the best command of their cattle and give the audience a look into the handler-animal relationship.

“Winning showman is just a testament to how strong your bond is with the animal,” Morris said. “So as a competitor I think it’s a big accomplishment to have your skills as a shower recognized.”

Kara Saunders took home the junior showmanship title in the heifer category, while Enola Cade won the steer showman championship in the junior division. Saunders credits her family for helping her perfect her skills as a shower.

“It was my first year competing so to win showman is really exciting,” she said. “But, I couldn’t have done it without the help I had from my grandpa and my cousin. They really helped me out a lot.”