Saturday, March 1, 2008

How to show a steer in one easy lesson.

Yesterday debijeanm left a comment on my post about watching a calf being shown at a local fair. I've done that. Just once, but I did it and I did it with more style and flair than those folks that were there, had ever seen before OR since.

At one point in my career as a boy I belonged to 4-H. I didn't really fit that mold too well, but some of my friends were in it at the time and it seemed like a good thing and for my parents, it kept me outta trouble.... usually, when I was participating in some 4-H'edly type of activity.

My big 4-H project was to raise a steer, fatten him up, make him purty, keep records of his feed and rate of gain and finally show him in a show ring for all the world to see what I'd done. Now I know that there's 1000's of kids that do this and seem to love doing it, but friends... there's just not a whole lot of entertainment value in poking the feed to a calf and watching him get fat. It'll bore you to smithereenies if you get to dwelling on it much.

Now don't get me wrong... man I was good at making a calf fat. That sonofagun put on weight faster than Liz Taylor between husbands. Filled out like August roadkill, man. I washed him and combed him and talked to him, played the radio for him, led him around like a 1000 pound puppy dog and gave him a name. Sue. The Johnny Cash song "A Boy Named Sue" was popular at the time and I thought I was pretty cool naming him that and not dorky at all.

On a whim one day, in serious moment of "watching the animal get fat" boredom, I decided that Ol' Sue needed to be rode. Now I'm not talking Bullrider type of riding, I'm talking 'bout getting up on the back of Sue and riding him around like a goldanged horse.

And so I did.

Albeit there were a few wild rides, as much as Sue liked me and all, he didn't take to having a passenger too much. But I was persistent and he was patient and pretty soon I was riding him all over creation. In retrospect it was probably anti-productive giving him all that extra exercise when the main objective with this whole project was making him fatter. But it sure was entertaining!

Anyway, the day finally came when it was time to show Sue in the showring at the local county fair and I was ready beyond belief. I'd dressed up like a cow shower person should and had Sue all primped and primed, right down to shoe polish on his hooves... 'cause to a livestock judge that's evidently a normal thing. I led him into the showring and the judges were all walking around us and making me turn him around and walk him past them and they were looking at things that I didn't even know what.

Everyone seemed real satisfied with what they'd seen and they said I could leave the showring so... I just hopped right on Sue's back, gave him a "giddyup" and rode that sonofagun right outta the showring, across the fairgrounds and into the barn there.

Yes I did.

A calf show is one of the most boring things on the face of the earth to stand and watch and I felt like I was just taking this thing on up to the next level in entertainment value. I don't think that there was a single person there that day that had ever seen a kid hop on the back of his show calf and ride off into the sunset on him. I got a blue ribbon but always felt like I got slighted some... shoulda got to go to the state fair with him.

1 comment:

Vicky said...

And somewhere out there, there are some (really old) judges who are still shaking their heads and saying, "Remember when that kid rode his calf out of the ring?" LOL