Steer Grand Champion Taylor Fraze poses with her winning steer Snoopy at the Eastern New Mexico State Fair Thursday. (Amy Vogelsang Photo)
Not to be mistaken as the sexually ready bull, the steers shown at Eastern New Mexico State Fair Thursday may have been looked at more for meat purposes instead of breeding, but they were just as feisty as their bull counterparts.
The young males were restless and, at times, uncooperative. But their handlers showed expertise in their patience and mirrored stubbornness.
This was especially true for Grand Champion Taylor Fraze, who at age 16 had never won a champion title at this fair before.
Fraze has been in 4-H for about seven years, but this was her last year showing. And what a way to end.
“It is amazing to win when it’s my last time showing in New Mexico,” she said.
With a little help from her parents, Wes and Wendy, she was able to prepare a steer that, even with six different classes, stood out above the rest.
But Snoopy, about a year and a half old, was no picnic. The challenge is what made it fun. Of the animals she shows – sheep, steers and dairy heifers – Fraze said steers are “by far her favorite because they are a lot of fun,” and a lot of work. Most challenging is watching their weight and then shaving them for the show, she said.
She plans to move on and study agriculture.
Also a first-time winner for this fair, Sadie McAllister, 16, walked away with Reserve Grand Champion. She more like jumped away. The excitement was so prominent in her face and actions it’s a surprise she could stay on her feet instead of flying away.
In her five years of 4-H she has come to prefer steers, but before Thursday had never won.
“I’m surprised,” she said. “You always have those doubts (going into competition.)” But doubts were to no avail this time.
With the washing, feeding and hard work it takes to prepare a steer for a show, McAllister said she always becomes attached, as is evident with her 18-month-old Sawdust.
“You get so much more attached (to steers),” she explained. “You have them much longer than any other animal.”
She said she was enjoying her time at the fair with her parents, Jason and Naomi, especially after receiving her trophy and ribbon.
“(I like) being able to do something and know it pays off,” she said. For her the best part of the fair is the accomplishment.