The steer category became an emotional affair for many contestants at the 75th annual Victoria Livestock Show.
The junior breeding heifer and market steer shows were held Sunday with “stiff competition” according to the judges for the two categories. Tears of joy and camaraderie were shared among the contestants after a long day of showing, judging and wrangling in their cattle.
Market steer reserve champion, Bennett Janssen, a Cuero High School junior, maintained a cool and concentrated face beneath his black hat as he showed his steer around the ring. After traveling to Abilene to purchase his show steer, he said his year of work had come together for this day.
“You build an emotional bond to that animal,” he said.
As Bennett’s championship was announced, family, friends and other contestants filled the arena with cheers, clapping and howls.
Once he and his steer left the arena, he received congratulations, but he also congratulated others. Bennett took time to hug and console his friends and other contestants who let their emotions show after not winning the champion or reserve champion titles, while Bennett wiped away a few of his own tears too.
“We’ve all got the same goal here,” Bennett said. “This is what we’ve been working toward.”
The life skills and camaraderie, both attributes to showing animals, he said are part of the journey — reasons he said people have told him and others to start showing animals from a young age.
“We’re all just trying to have a little fun too,” he said as people from the crowd walked up to him, telling Bennett what a good man he is becoming.
Bennett has shown animals for years and as a junior, he said he has one more chance.
“Next year, we’ll do it all over again,” he said.
On Monday, the Victoria Livestock Show auction will allow animals judged to be at a market-worthy quality level to be purchased by the highest bidders.
For the first time, the auction will be virtual because of COVID-19 precautions. Buyers will be welcome in person and virtually to bid at the same time, The auction will not be open to the general public, but can be viewed online.
The auction will begin at 4:30 p.m., with add-ons still available for contestants similarly to past years.