Adam has been in 4-H for the last two years, and for the most part it's been a really positive experience. Both Scott and I did 4-H, but my projects usually included sewing something, baking lots of things, and riding my horse for hours and hours. Scott was more of a lamb guy, so this year, the steer project was a learning experience for all of us. While we were out gathering cattle last fall before pre-conditioning and shipping, we kept our eyes open for a steer that appealed to the eye, and may have potential for being a good project. We found two, one named Dodge, and one named Dozer.
Here are a couple of photos of the day in October when we brought Dozer and his mom in to the corral. Adam, Scott and I were out on 4-wheelers in the rain.
We basically started the halter-breaking process in November. We figured the sooner we worked on that, the better. Then we turned them out for a couple of months with the replacement heifers, where they received corn, hay and cubes made from alfalfa, peas and other various ingredients.
These pictures I took on Easter Sunday. Adam and Haley were out for the weekend so we all went to the corrall and watched while they led the two steers around. They were both really gentle and well-mannered.
Sometimes it was tough this summer to spend a lot of time with Dozer, especially during harvest, but Adam did a great job of squeezing it in when he could. Here's a picture of Dozer right before the fair, the night the Green guys (Mike and Kendall) came over to help us trim him up. They were really helpful to us rookies... they even let us use their portable grooming stall and blow dryer... and yes, they make them specifically for show-cattle. Maybe I ought to try it... might be able to calm my crazy curls down... ya think?
Then it was fair time, before we even knew it! Here are Adam and Scott working to get Dozer all prettied up and ready for the ring.
Waiting in line, making sure Dozer doesn't sit in a pile of manure. Again.
Being the "organized" 4-H mom that I am, I had taken my camera battery out of my camera so I could be sure to get it completely charged before the big day. Unfortunately, the charged battery never made it's way from the charger to the camera, so my friend Jody snapped a couple of pictures with her camera during the show.
Adam was more than a little nervous during the showmanship round, and then settled down really well during the market beef round. We didn't win either class, but Adam got blue ribbons in both.
Then came Saturday and time for the sale. It was a little tough to know we were going to have to say good-bye to the big lug. He was such a good-natured animal! Here's Adam, waiting for his turn in the sale ring.
I guess it pays to have 4 kids who have all their teeth, because our dentist bought the steer, and Adam got a really good price for him. The dentist was all smiles (no pun intended) and was excited about the prospect of having a fully stocked freezer for the winter.
Scott and Adam went in to the carcass judging last night and learned lots about what the inside of the animal looks like, under all that hide. Adam's steer was given a steer of merit award, and as of last night was in the top ten of the class on how well the carcass graded. Really, that's what means something to a beef producer.
While we were out checking wells, we spotted Dozer's mom and his half brother, so I thought I'd include some photos of them as well. She appears to be a darned good mama!
As we were out moving the cows to fresh pasture, I caught myself sizing up all the steer calves as they came my way. Adam is gung-ho to do another steer project, so it will be fun to go through the process of choosing another couple of steers. The judge told me we just need to find one that's long, and wide, and deep, and balanced, and pretty. Ought to be easy to find.... Right?