By PRESTON TOLLIVER
Log Cabin Staff Writer
For 29 Faulkner County 4-H beef cattle exhibitors, a lot was riding on a brief moment in the competition ring.
Their hope at the Faulkner County Fair on Thursday was not just a shot at the grand champion award, but for sponsors for their cattle.
Hunter Burnett, 18, who took home the grand championship award in the Breeding Beef – Short Horn category for his bull, said a lot of work goes into showing cattle, but the rewards are worth it.
"For us to feed them, to continue what we enjoy doing, it’s a price to pay but we enjoy doing it," Burnett said.
A student at the University of Arkansas, Burnett was the oldest exhibitor at Thursday’s competition. His heifer won the short horn breed reserve championship.
In preparation of the competition, the responsibilities of the 4-H exhibitors include washing their cattle daily, blow-drying afterward, working their hair with combs, putting them under fans or misters, sometimes spray painting the hide and daily feeding and general maintenance through the course of several months.
Along with these duties, many of the exhibitors have to halter break the cattle and train them to walk and sit up properly when ordered to.
"You have to get them used to noise and used to being around people," Matthew Kelley, who won the grand championships for his beef master bull and heifer, said.
"You have to be watching out for them," he said.
Kelley, a 16-year-old Vilonia student, said he puts in anywhere between eight at 10 hours a week taking care of his cattle. He presented five beef masters and three heifers at Thursday’s competition.
For Faulkner County bred replacement feeders, Jacob Gammon, Trey Kelley, Brittney Beck, Griffin Barnett, Carlee Clark, Cody Wallace, Frances Gammon, Layton Casey, Seth Taylor and Riley Pearce took home grand championships.
In the beef showmanship contest, Casey, Pearce, Carlee and Chancee Clark, Austin Cook, Coby Wilson, Hannah Reed, Katie McNinch, Trey Kelley and Rodney Lichty took home grand championships.
For crossbred heifers, Wallace, McNinch, Shane Bowie and Jackson Berry took home grand championships for their English heifers. McNinch and Casey took home grand championships for their exotic heifers and Corey Readnour took home a championship for his crossbred cow/calf pair.
For junior market steers, Wilson, Jordan Wilcox, Brekke Gammon and Chancee Clark took home championships.
In the breeding beef competitions, Burnett, McNinch, Wilcox, Wilson, Chancee and Carlee Clark, Matthew Kelley, Jacob Berry, Austin and Adam Cook and Trey Kelley won championships. Wilcox won two of the breeding beef championships – one for his AOB and the other for his limousine.
For feeder steers, Wilcox, Wallace and Frances Gammon won championships.