Monday, July 16, 2012

Perry County Fair - Beef Carcass Contest

The Perry County Fair starts this week.  This was the most important event of the entire summer in our youth.  We spent the summer preparing for it and the week long event was full of competition, arguing, water fights food, showing, winning and losing, friends and family.

The Limousin beef breed is known for not being able to easily make the Choice Quality Grade.  The Limousin breed is also know to not be the most docile breed.  In fact someone who will remain nameless said "giving your kids a halter of a Limousine is similar to giving them a loaded hand gun".  With all of those things shared in the summer of 1997 my final year in 4-H, my cousin Jodi and I showed up with two Limousin steers to the carcass show.

Although I didn't know it at the time, but after spending a year on The Ohio State University Livestock Judging Team, this would have to be a judging nightmare.  The judge Terry Blythe in this case had to not only decide which steers would be slaughtered and judged for carcass merit, but they also had to be placed live.  At this time the live placing weighed into the final calculation for Grand Champion Carcass.  In my eleventh and final year of 4-H and headed to The Ohio State University in September, I was not calculating to see if I could be the Champion.  However I was hoping to push another animal through the generous Perry County Fair Livestock Sale to help pay for books.

My carcass steer had been a nightmare to work with all summer and was living up to every stereotype set for the Limousin breed and poor behavior.  Jodi and I had worked equally with our steers and her steer was calm most of the time.  I was hoping no one would get hurt by mine. I also secretly dreamed I could personally lead it on the trailer after the carcass contest.  I had been beat up by him long enough.

I wonder today what would have been going through the judges mind.  Hand fed steers usually grade better than cattle fed in the pen, because you have more control over individual diet.  Limousin cattle usually have remarkable yield grade and should have an above average ribeye area.  Basically if these steers would grade, things would be great.  The question for the judge, is he willing to take the chance.  Jodi and I both made the cut, thankfully. I was elated, this one decision would guarantee my second animal in the sale. They were loaded on the trailer and like us, you will have to wait until later in the week to see the outcome. 

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