Washington Evening Journal
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Home / Hard work on display at beef show
Months of hard work and countless hours spent caring for calves, steers and heifers culminates in one day.
At the Beef Show at the Henry County Fair, kids have a chance to show off their cows and compete for the coveted grand champion and reserve champion spots.
The competition took place on Saturday at the Henry County Fairgrounds.
The hard work paid off for Ethan Graber, who said it had always been a dream of his to take first or second place in a county fair.
Graber, 14, who has been showing cows since fifth grade, was reserve champion in the market steers competition.
“It’s my passion, my love, and I wouldn’t want to do anything else,” he said.
He said he sometimes spent up to 12 hours a day in the barn with his cow Marvin, the steer who took the grand reserve prize.
“He’s a big old puppy dog. I’d trust anybody to be around him,” he said. “He’s just been a pleasure to work with and take around to a few open shows. I’m just real glad I ended up with this steer — I feel really fortunate.”
Graber plans to show Marvin in the Governor’s Charity Steer show, which raises money for the Ronald McDonald House, at the Iowa State Fair in August.
“We wanted to be sure if we were going to do it, we were going to go all out, and put in as much work as we could,” he said.
Larz Smith, 17, took home the grand champion prize in the market steers competition.
“I couldn’t be happier — it’s all worth it,” he said.
He said he starts work with his cows around Labor Day weekend each year.
“I take them to different jackpot shows around Iowa, and sometimes out of state, he said. ”Come summertime when you get out of school is when it really starts to kick in with the hard work.“
While many kids stick with 4-H throughout their school years, it eventually comes time to graduate and move on from the club.
Molly Miller, 18, a graduating senior, showed three different cows on Saturday, and has been doing 4-H since she was in fourth grade.
“I enjoy helping other kids with the projects, the younger kids especially, because they’re all so excited about it,” she said. “It’s fun getting to see everybody try something new and succeed with different livestock animals and different projects.”
Miller said while moving on is sad, she is excited for the kids she has been able to mentor in the program to continue finding success.
“I’m excited for the kids who are coming up — I know they’re a group of great kids who will do really well,” she said.