Frisky fellas judged for muscle mass and shape at the Victoria Livestock Show
March 2, 2012 at 10:02 p.m.
Updated March 1, 2012 at 9:02 p.m.
Although Taylor Kruppa was not quite as tall as her gray steer, she felt right at home showing him off at the Victoria Livestock Show in the community center on Friday night.
"You're such a good boy," the 10-year-old whispered in his ear as she walked him around the pen for the judge to examine.
Don't let her pink nails and rhinestone belt fool you - in her lime green shirt and brown cowgirl boots, she was in command of her steer, Skittles, at all times.
Taylor continued to speak soothingly to her light-heavy class steer throughout the show, rubbing his stomach with her pink leopard-spotted show stick.
After spending all day Friday resting in wood chips, munching on hay under a tin shelter, many of the steers at the Victoria Livestock Show found the judging pen a rude awakening.
But Taylor and Skittles were not phased by the echo of the crowds flooding the bleachers on three sides of the pen and spilling down the ramp and the commotion of the booths selling memorabilia.
Broken into six classes divided by breed and weight, the steers were judged for muscle mass and shape among other qualities by Brandon Callis, a teacher and livestock judging coach at Blinn College in Brenham.
Through weeks of training, the exhibitors handled their steers with ease, walking them in circles to reposition them and calming and guiding them with their show sticks.
But some of the steers remained frisky even when their owners caressed them with the show stick.
Cody Bishop, 13, stroked his steer, but he continued to jump and pull against his harness, frothing at the mouth throughout most of the show - ultimately pressing his face against the fence to bellow a long "moo" at the elderly couples in the front row of the bleachers.
"His jitters caught me by surprise," Cody said. "We've been to Fort Worth and he's never acted that bad."
He attributed the steer's stubborn manner to the echo and commotion at the livestock show.
"When the judge started to handle him, it calmed him down. His last profile stance was spot on," Cody said.
Cody appreciated the positive feedback from Callis and ultimately was surprised to win first place in the lightweight class.
When Breana Tater, 18, was announced the winner of the American Steer Class, her steer mirrored her excitement as he pranced out of the ring.
The steer can tell when their owners are excited, so Breana said the key to good showing is to remain calm.
"This is my third year showing steer. It's a family project - everyone helps me out," Breana said. "Hopefully I'll make the sale so all my hard work pays off."
Reserve Champion Kacey Deckert, 11, was in tears at the end of the competition - it was her first year to compete.
Allan Parsons, 16, said his brown steer didn't act according to plan but he felt comfortable coming out of the showing pen. He felt from the start that he had a good steer, but only time would tell how it would compare to the other 26 in the competition this year.
This was Allan's third year of showing steer, but he has shown a variety of animals in the livestock show since he was in third grade.
"He started acting up at first and I didn't think I had a chance," Allan said. "But after a while he got a lot better and I think that helped a lot."
Ultimately, his steer was named grand champion of the Victoria Livestock Show for overall consistency and the squareness of his shoulders.
"I'm still kinda shocked," Allan said. "It feels good to know that you're doing something right."