CANTON, Ohio — Addy Brenner’s work on her 4-H animals paid off at the Stark County Fair, in Canton, Ohio, last week when she rang in her most successful year in 4-H so far.
“I’m very happy with how this week went,” she said. “I did better than I’ve ever done before.”
Her Shorthorn market steer, Stetson, won grand champion for the Shorthorn market class. She placed second in her class in showmanship for market steers, and reserve champion in showmanship for beef calves. She also won grand and reserve champion with her beef calves.
It’s not just about winning for Brenner — she likes competing and challenging herself to improve. But a win certainly doesn’t hurt, especially when it comes out of decisions that she made long before she stepped into the show ring.
Brenner said she invested more time than ever in working with her livestock this year. She learned more about how to feed her steer to help them grow and get ready for the show. She also spent more time researching genetics and choosing her market steer — the Shorthorn, she bought in an online auction from a farm, in South Vienna, Ohio.
“It’s always been a goal of mine to win with a Shorthorn, and it’s finally happened,” she said after the market steer show Sept. 3.
The Sunday before the fair, Brenner was at the barn getting her animals ready for the week by 6:30 a.m.
They needed to be washed, have their hooves trimmed and get their hair clipped before they even go to the fair. Between the market steer, several beef calves and two Pygmy goats, plus helping out her little sister with her 4-H animals, that’s a lot of primping.
At noon, Brenner had already been busy for almost six hours and was working on getting the steer clipped with a family friend.
And that was only the beginning of the week.
The next day, Aug. 31, she and her family brought her animals to the fairgrounds.
Brenner was one of three 4-H’ers who scored 105% on the Pygmy goat skillathon (with an extra 5% of credit from attending a clinic earlier this year).
Brenner was matter-of-fact about her skillathon score: she got a paper at the clinic that told her what to study, and she has years of practice studying for beef skillathons.
She placed third in her Pygmy goat showmanship class.
While they stood lined up in front of the judge, Brenner crouched next to Presley, her Pygmy doe — showing Pygmy goats involves getting down on their level, which is not easy for a long show.
“My legs hurt,” Brenner said after the showmanship class. “But I liked [the show].”
The doe was a single entry in her breed class, Brenner said before the show. While that guaranteed her a first-place win, she was disappointed.
“I’d rather get last and actually try to compete than get first because it’s a solo entry,” Brenner explained.
Presley was the grand champion senior doe kid. Her Pygmy wether, Louis, was the reserve champion yearling wether.
The market steer shows started early Sept. 3 with showmanship. Brenner walked Stetson from the beef barn to the show ring in a light rain that grew heavier on and off during the show.
After placing second in her senior-intermediate class, Brenner blow dried Stetson’s hair and brushed his tail out again between shows.
Showing Stetson was one of the things she was the most excited about leading up to the week of the fair. He is a show steer. After spending more time researching and buying him than she did with other steer she’s showed, she was eager to see how he did. She was not disappointed.
“I wouldn’t say I was expecting it, but I was hoping for it,” Brenner said about winning grand champion in the Shorthorn class.
Her other steer, Kolby, a Simmental, placed fourth in his market class and sixth in the born and raised class.
Other than the shows, it was a slow week at the fair for Brenner.
“There’s not much to do,” she said.
Due to the pandemic, the public wasn’t allowed in. It was a junior fair only. The fair live streamed shows for people who couldn’t make it in person. There were limited concessions.
Stetson left Brenner’s farm the same way he came to it: through an online auction. The auction ran Sept. 2-5, during the fair.
Brenner sent out about 30 buyers letters to people and businesses that she knew through her family’s farm. Stetson sold for $2,500. Kolby sold for $2,505.
Brenner is glad that the 4-H year is over for her — the fair and shows can be stressful — but also a little sad that she’s done showing for now. But she’s still got a few more years in 4-H, and she’s already looking for a market steer for next year.
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