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Steer show goes off without a hitch

By BY DIANNA WRAY
Feb. 25, 2011 at 9 p.m.
Updated Feb. 24, 2011 at 8:25 p.m.

Cody Bishop reacts in surprise as his steer is chosen grand champion Friday evening at the 2011 Victoria Livestock show.

Grand Champion SteerNAME:Cody Bishop

AGE: 12

CLUB: Westwood 4-H

WEIGHT: 1,296 pounds

BREED: Charolais-Maine Cross

Reserve Champion SteerNAME:Dustin Hempel

AGE: 14

CLUB: Industrial FFA

WEIGHT: 1,255 pounds

BREED: Simbrah

A smile flew across Cody Bishop's face as the judge laid a hand on his steer, Smokey.

"It's a great feeling. I'm really excited," Cody, 12, said.

He went into the competition hopeful that Smokey might be declared grand champion, but actually winning was thrilling, he said.

"It's just a great feeling. You work hard and do your best, but you never know. It feels great, though," Cody said.

The Victoria Livestock Show steer judging went off without a hitch Friday evening, despite the sudden drop in the temperatures that was making the animals nervous, Bob Horton, steer committee chairman said.

They had 21 steers competing this year, four less than last year, Horton noted.

An hour before the event was slated to start, the audience began to fill the stands, eager to see the steers and watch the judge determine which one was the best.

Jeanne and Gus Schuenemann attend the steer judging every year. They showed up early this time to get a good seat.

"We enjoy it and we're in the cattle business, so it's fun to come and see the different steers and watch the judging," Jeanne Schuenemann said.

Her husband agreed.

"The judging is pretty interesting too. I've heard judges say that how they judge an animal now might not be how they'd do it 30 minutes from now or tomorrow," he said.

The crowd started to clap and then went silent as the first steers were brought in, already bucking and pulling, made nervous by the noise.

"Hold on, y'all can't go through yet," a man in a white cowboy hat told people about to clatter across the metal bleachers. "They're getting spooked. We don't want anyone getting hurt out there."

This year's judge, Jake Franke, ran a firm hand down the flank of a steer, his blue eyes studying each animal carefully.

Dylan Kruppa, 12, stood alongside his steer, Oreo, waiting to go into the ring.

"Yeah, I'm really excited. Nervous, but all you can do is just do your best," Dylan said.

Dustin Hempel, 14, won for reserve champion steer.

He held his head up, proudly marching out of the ring as he was surrounded with congratulations.

"It's been a pretty hard year. I'd been to two other shows and I came away with nothing, so this is pretty great," he said.

Dustin has been showing for seven years and says he plans to keep on doing it.

Cody agreed.

"I love this, getting to make new friends and show. I love it," Cody said.

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