Bringing beef to the fair
Grand champion winner a familiar face
Two years and counting.
Maniesha Buck, 17, who had the grand champion market steer in 2011, duplicated that feat Thursday night during the beef competition at the 2012 Montezuma County Fair.
Before being named the 2012 grand champion Thursday evening, Buck pointed out her steer, Tonto, was the heaviest one in any weight class at 1,448 pounds, about 120 pounds more than the next heaviest steer at the fair.
She said that when Tonto was purchased seven months ago, he weighed about 500 pounds.
Buck was not surprised Tonto grew, but was a little stunned the steer grew to more than 1,400 pounds.
“If you feed them right, they will just grow,” she said of her steer, which came from a different breeder than the one she normally uses.
Buck, a graduate of the online Insight High School, said she really hoped younger 4-H members would have a good experience this year because many who raised animals last year ended up losing money.
“Some kids are just starting out and have not learned the techniques yet,” she said. “It’s not their fault.”
Last year, Buck’s grand champion steer weighed 1,404 pounds, and she believed most of the steers in this year’s fair were lighter because they tend to not eat as much in hotter weather.
Her 2011 steer sold for $4,400, and she said she would be happy with $4,000 this year, a figure related to the current economy. Tonto’s status as the grand champion will enhance the steer’s value at auction.
Buck has been raising steers for five years and said it was her brother who got her and her family involved in the activity. He helped her when she was younger because she was too small to handle her steers. She said she is still not muscular, so she uses different techniques to get her steers to do what she wants.
Because Buck is the one who bathes and feeds Tonto and her past steers, they tend to be calmer around her, she said.
During the competition Buck said she had a firm grasp on her steer, but she said the achievement was not all about her.
“Cows are like people with different personalities,” she said. She also said that she was humbled by the selection because of all the good animals that were in the competition.
After being selected Thursday as the Grand Champion, Buck said she had believed she had a good chance to win because Tonto had filled out nicely and his hair had a good gloss. She also said one reason she was able to repeat her win was Tonto’s lack of fat.
While Buck is a veteran to the event, there were some first timers, too.
Eight-year-old Dallin Lanier was at the event with his 1,309-pound steer, which he named “Lego” after his favorite toy.
Lanier’s grandfather, Tim Lanier, and father, Joe Lanier, said they had to give Dallin a little encouragement to continue the family tradition, as all of Tim Lanier’s children had been in 4-H.
Dallin’s steer weighed about 650 pounds when purchased, before Dallin started to feed, water and walk his first show animal.
Dallin also said he was not going to miss his steer. His mother, Jenn, said her son knew the livestock sale was part of the process.
The 8-year-old said he thinks he wants to be a farmer, like his grandfather, when he reaches adulthood, but said he was not completely sure.
Dallin’s father said they hope Lego would fetch a price of at least $2,000 to offset the feed bill of almost $1,000 as well as the $600 to $1,000 it cost to buy the steer.
Jaycee Gallaher, 18, and her 1,207-pound steer, “The Hulk,” won the “Bred and Fed Market Beef” competition, meaning the animal was born and raised in Montezuma County.
Gallaher said she was happy with this honor, though she conceded she had hoped for the top honor because a steer she raised was selected the grand champion market steer a few years ago.
“This is still a great accomplishment,” she said.