McMackin ‘steers’ toward grand championship; Craft grabs reserve

Published 11:21 am Sunday, July 13, 2014

ROME TOWNSHIP — Wednesday evening the Lawrence County Fair was reserved for the heavyweights.

After seeing market rabbits, fowl, goats and hogs strut their stuff in the show arena, it was time for the steers to take center stage.

Weighing anywhere between 600 and 1,500 pounds, the steers tromped around the arena at the direction of their handlers hoping to catch the eye of the judges.

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“You really have to work with them to get them comfortable to be shown,” market steer grand champion Ashton McMackin said.

McMackin, of the Dog Fork Haymakers 4-H club, spent two years showing goats before moving to steers last year. Her steer placed third in its class in 2013 before she was able to claim the grand championship this year.

“I prefer the steers,” McMackin said. “I was able to make a definite improvement this year and it feels great to be the grand champion. Last year I don’t think I was as good at showing but you learn some things you can do differently and you improve with experience.”

Arabia All-Stars 4-H member Teddilyn Craft won the reserve championship. Craft also made a switch to steers after two years with other livestock.

“I’ve competed at the fair for three years,” Craft said. “This was my first time with steers though and I think I’ll stick with them.”

Taking a steer and turning it into an animal capable of competing for a championship in a market competition is a serious undertaking.

“It’s a long process,” Craft said. “You have to always make sure they have everything they need. You have to feed them often. I worked a lot on making sure that mine would stay calm. It’s just a lot of work.”

McMackin seconded Craft’s thoughts.

“You have to put in a bunch of work,” McMackin said. “You feed them, you brush them, bathe them. Plus you have to exercise them. But, at the end it’s all worth it because it’s really a lot of fun.”

McMackin’s win gives her a one up on her twin brother, Evan McMakin, who took home the reserve prize in the market hog competition.

“I guess it’s just a family thing,” she said. “It’s pretty cool that we both won something.”