Kelsi-Ann Woodburn, 16, of Artesia, with her Grand Champion Market Steer, Rambo, on Thursday. (Vanessa Kahin Photo)
Rambo annihilated the competition — without weapons, headbands or catchphrases — during the Eastern New Mexico State Fair’s market steer show, Thursday.
The Grand Champion Steer was handled by 16-year-old Kelsi-Ann Woodburn from Artesia.
Woodburn is active in Future Farmers of America and Chaparral 4-H Club. Rambo won first in his class at the Eddy County Fair and third in his class at the New Mexico State Fair. Still, the teen said she felt “crazy” about the win at ENMSF.
“I was really hoping for it, but I didn’t know if I’d get it,” Woodburn said.
Despite the tough sounding name, Woodburn said Rambo is afraid of the show stick many handlers use to move the animals or rub their stomachs to calm them. She said this was one of the greatest challenges of working with Rambo, who was skittish to be around other handlers who had show sticks.
“You just have to know the calf,” Woodburn said. “You have to really work with (steers).”
The daughter of John and Jodi Woodburn, Kelsi-Ann said Rambo got his name the first day she spent some real time with him. She was warned the calf was temperamental, but realized just how much when she saw how rambunctious he behaved. Rambo, from rambunctious, stuck.
Another member of FFA and Chaparral 4-H Club won Reserve Grand Champion in the Market Steer Show.
Aubrey Brandenberger, 12, of Corona, is the daugher of Alena and Jeff Brandenberger, and has been showing steers for four years. She is similar to Woodburn in one more way. The steer she showed on Thursday has a curious name that he got early on — Wyoming, the state where he was purchased.
Aubrey is methodical and eloquent when it comes to her approach for caring for steers.
“It comes in stages,” she said of how to work with a steer. “The first stage is, you halter-break him. … Most (steers) aren’t used to walking with a lead.
“Then, you have to gain a little trust,” she said. From that point on, the handler should work the steer according to the type of fair the steer will attend. Aubrey said some fairs allow hair on the steers. Some, like the ENMSF, prefer steers be “slick” or without hair.
Despite all the steps in caring for a steer, Aubrey wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It takes work, but it’s fun,” she said.