Monday, November 2, 2020

Taking a Market Steer to the County Fair


This year Desert Boy raised a steer for the county fair. The process started at the beginning of the year, selecting the steer and a backup. Then it was time to put the 4-H tag in the ear. The steer already weighed several hundred pounds, so it was necessary to put it in the chute to do that.

Desert Boy got some practice keeping records. 4-H requires turning in records each year, which is a good way for the kids to start learning some adulting skills.

As the weather got warmer, Desert Boy could go check on the steers in short sleeves. To help tame them, he took them grain.

Then he sat in a lawn chair and read so they would get more used to his smell.

Tying up the steers allowed Desert Boy and his cousin Kayli to get closer to them.

In May the steers were moved to a pen at cousin Kayli's house, where they moved in with some goats and horses. This helped tame them more, as well as walking the steers around the pen. Desert Boy rode his dirt bike a mile to go feed them every morning and evening, with walks getting more and more common as the fair approached. He also learned how to apply fly spray and pink eye medicine.

A couple days before the fair it was time for the steer to go to the beauty shop. He got his belly shaved.

Here's Uncle Tom explaining how to shave his chest.

Then it was time to shave his unibrow. Ha, not quite, but you get the idea.

When we took the steer to the fair, the first thing to do is weigh in. The steer weighed a whopping 1630 pounds. That made it the heaviest steer there. That's not the best, as max weight is 1400, so anything over that is donated, not sold, at the auction. It can also make for a lot of weight to manage. My husband wad determined not to let the steer get away.
 Desert Boy had lots of practice of keeping the pen neat and tidy.
Because of Covid, the fair schedule was different this year. Friday afternoon was showmanship. Desert Boy did okay, keeping his steer under control but not setting him up great. There were just two people in his class, so he got reserve grand champion.
Kayli also got a reserve grand for showmanship. That meant they both got to go back to the ring for round robin, where they would show a sheep, a pig, and a beef. Neither were too thrilled, but managed not to get trampled.
The next day started with a shower for the steer. By the way, the steer's name was "Surly" or "Sirly", short for Sirloin and a play on words to describe his temperament.

During the market class judging, Desert Boy did well controlling his steer.

The steer seemed to have gotten a little more used to his surroundings. On Friday everything was so new he was a bit nervous.
In the end, both Desert Boy and Kayli got blues for their steers.
The livestock auction is held Sunday afternoon. This is an opportunity to get some of the best-cared meat in the county. These kids take such good care of their animals.
Many thanks to Jose and Amy Noriega, who bought "Sirly." They will be enjoying a lot of sirloin steaks from him!

Desert Boy gets to keep all his ribbon money, but the auction money will go into his college account. He wasn't always thrilled about the amount of time it took to raise an animal, but he sure learned a lot. And at some point in the future, when he gets to use the money he made, I think he will look back at the experience and appreciate it.


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