Friday, July 9, 2010

Moo-ve on over to the Junior National Hereford Expo

When I think of cows, I think mostly of T-Bone steaks, hamburgers and other things that belong on my grill. For Pennsylvania’s Austin Howe, well, his story is much more “moo-ving.”

The hefty herefords are a way of life and animals that have brought his family together. The 19-year-old, the oldest of six siblings showing cattle, is at this week’s 2010 Junior National Hereford Expo at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

“I love to see them grow up and learn how to be responsible and mature around
everybody,” Howe said of his siblings.

Young people like Howe from all around the country are trying to turn their passion for cattle into cash by winning any of an array of competitions, including showmanship, photography and team fitting, where three-member teams have 45 minutes to fit their heifers for a panel of judges. The show runs through Saturday.

Competitors take their bulls and heifers seriously – you have to feed them the right kind of food at the right time, in addition to keeping them well groomed. That was easy to see in the West Pavilion on Thursday, as youth were busy blow-drying and brushing their bovines – even a woman on her wedding day would be jealous of all the attention these animals were receiving.

If that weren’t enough, most cows were comfortably lying or standing in front of one of hundreds of high-powered fans. These animals have better air flow in a barn than I’ve had in some of my apartments.

I suppose it all makes sense, right? Treat the cattle right … and then milk them for all they’re worth.

(Photo above: New York's Megan Andersen brushes her bovine on Thursday at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.)

Submitted by Kristofer Karol

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