Zoe Walker, right, 12, of Roswell, won Grand Champion for the Steer Show at the Chaves County 4-H and FFA Fair, Thursday morning. Her older sister, Courteney, won Grand Reserve Champion. (Emily Russo Miller Photo)
Mouse, the market steer, was anything but small and quiet. The hulking, snorting beast that weighs well over 1,000 pounds and stands a towering 53 inches tall took home the top prize in the Steer Show at the Chaves County 4-H and FFA Fair Thursday morning after wowing the judge with his sizable girth.
â€œHeâ€™s really stout and heavy muscled,â€ steer judge Ryan Rathmann said admiringly. â€œStructurally, heâ€™s [auth] very correct in terms of his feet and legs.â€
Beefing up Mouse to an award-winning size was no easy task, says his owner, Zoe Walker, 12, of Roswell. Zoe and her older sister, Courteney, 14, who won Reserve Grand Champion in the same competition for her market steer, Heat Wave, spend about three hours each day feeding the steer, on top of bathing and walking them and teaching them commands.
â€œIâ€ˆwas so happy and excited,â€â€ˆZoe said, beaming after being awarded the Grand Champion banner.
Zoe says she was confident her Mouse would beat out the other 20 steer in the contest because of its massive weight, something the judge says he was forced to notice.
â€œBoth the ladies did a good job feeding them because they’re both very correct in terms of their finish, their fat cover,â€ Rathmann said.
Heat Wave was no wallflower, eitherâ€” he weighed in at about 1,310 pounds and stood about 50 inches tall.
Zoe and Courteney, the daughters of Tanya and Craig Walker, have been members of the Barn Buddies 4-Hâ€ˆClub for six years and have won a myriad of prizes throughout the years for their steer, pigs, goats and breeding heifers. Thursday marked the second time Zoe has won the Grand Champion prize for her market steer â€” she captured the top prize last year and the Reserve Champion the year before that.
Zoe says she wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up, just like her dad who works at Country Club Animal Hospital. She will begin Berrendo Middle School as a 7th-grader in a few weeks.
Courteney is a rising freshman at Goddard High and is an aspiring orthodontist.
Both steer will be available for sale to the highest bidder at tonightâ€™s Junior Livestock Auction Sale at the Eastern New Mexico State Fairgrounds.