Youth seeks perfection at livestock show (Video)
PORT LAVACA - Brantley Bordovsky, 17, slid a hand across Butterfinger's rump, and that was all the signal the steer needed to step out of his way.
The muscles rippled beneath the steer's burnt orange coat. From nose to tail, he was a beautiful specimen, without any fault to the unschooled eye.
Brantley knows better.
Butterfinger isn't perfect - no steer is - but this year Brantley's animal was judged the best steer shown at the Calhoun County Junior Livestock Show. The judges were impressed with the animal's form and grace, declaring the 1,285-pound animal Grand Champion.
Since showing his first steer, the Calhoun High School senior has been competing in the annual fair and trying to win the competition, but he has also been on another quest: the search for the perfect steer.
Brantley has been entering this show since he was 8 years old, and on his last try, he finally won. He was competing against his sister and one of his best friends. In other competitions, there might have been a question of jealousy, but in the world of the stock show, that's not how things are.
"We all congratulated each other and were happy for each other. That's how we roll in the showing world," Brantley said, adjusting his white baseball cap.
He fell in love with showing cattle when he was young, and he believes he has a talent for working with cattle, for being in this world.
"I like to think that I am good at this. This my passion," he said, glancing at Butterfinger.
Brantley is graduating from Calhoun High School next spring and hopes to study reproductive biology at Texas A&M.
The thing he loves about it is how he will never stop learning how to be better. There's no such thing as the perfect steer, but it's something he plans to spend his life striving and hoping to see, even though he knows the odds are high that such a flawless specimen will never exist. That isn't important - it's about the journey, he said.
"There's always something you can do better. I may never see a perfect cow, but I'll still try and see one," Brantley said. "You're always looking for the one."