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Gaining steer's trust key to training (video)

Feb. 23, 2013 at 5 p.m.
Updated Feb. 22, 2013 at 8:23 p.m.

Madalynn Kainer, 17, leans in to kiss her steer Manzi on her family farm. Kainerr described raising the steer as "like getting a new dog, but on a bigger scale."

Madalynn Kainer has been around cattle all her life.

The 17-year-old's mother and father, Sherry and Duane Kainer, raised animals and competed in livestock shows when they were young high school students in the Crossroads.

The avid football fan brushed her steer, Johnny Manzi, on a clear Monday morning outside her family's farmhouse about five miles away from William Wood Elementary School.

An annual tradition will soon come to a close for the soon-to-be Texas A&M University Aggie when she competes for one last blue ribbon at Victoria Livestock Show.

"The prize money comes and goes," Madalynn said. "But the lessons will stay."

In the past, Madalynn mostly raised heifers. Manzi, named after her favorite football player, is the second steer she has raised for the county show.

"It takes a lot of patience," Madalynn said, while tugging hard at a leashed piece of rope around the chestnut red steer. "You have to work hard to gain their trust."

Manzi weighs about 1,238 pounds and is a tad camera shy.

Madalynn's father said he does his best to feed his daughter's prized animal every morning while she's at school.

Last year's steer proved to be a challenge for Madalynn's family.

"We ended up eating that one because we weren't able break it in well enough to show," her father said. "It was extremely good."

A silver Texas-shaped locket shimmered brightly, resting on Madalynn's sky blue Aggie shirt as she led Manzi around his pen.

"They don't like walking at first," Madalynn said. "But after a while, they get used to you."

The St. Joseph High School senior said she plans to take what she's learned from eight years of competing at the livestock show and apply it toward her bachelor's degree in agriculture science.

"I realized it would be something that I could do that would impact everyone," Madalynn said. "I'm going to miss being out here and spending time with them."



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