The next stop is San Antonio for 17-year-old Ella Jostes and her black cross steer following an impressive showing at the Bee County Junior Livestock and Homemakers Show.
Jostes, a high school junior from the Skidmore area currently studying online, took first place and the showmanship award in the steer show. The teen said she and her steer hit it off almost instantly when she purchased him in March 2020.
“He’s a complete goofball, but he’s the best steer I ever had,” Ella said. “He’s just a powerhouse. When you walk in (the ring), it almost makes me think he’s being cocky. He’s just that awesome.”
Jostes’ steer appeared to be pushing her buttons a bit in the show ring, fidgeting and occasionally mooing loudly, almost in the manner of a child’s protests due to boredom. She attributed that to being in a new place and being around a large group of people, something the animal had not yet experienced.
“They’re easily spooked,” said Jostes, who began showing steers in third grade.
Jostes and her steer have developed a bond from working together, which often results in the animal being playful – especially at feeding time.
“When he sees the feed he gets so excited,” she chuckled. “He’s my puppy.”
As Jostes has grown up showing steers, she has come to learn that it is important to impart wisdom on the younger children, just as those who have gone before did for her.
“It’s most important to help the pee wees and juniors out there,” she said. “That’s my job as a senior.
“If you can’t leave saying, ‘I helped someone,’ you did something wrong.”
Jostes hopes to attend college and then become a farming accountant while also continuing to work in her family’s farm and ranch business.
Also headed to San Antonio is 15-year-old Seth Burtchell and his grand champion Brahma heifer, for which he won first place in the heifer show.
“I thought, ‘Whoa,’ he recalled of his feelings upon finding out that he won. “I was very surprised.”
Burtchell had shown goats last year, but decided to move onto something bigger this year.
“It was a big change, but I like them better,” he said. “(Cattle) got more personality.”
Burtchell attributes his success entirely to the brahma, which he named Luna. She turns 3 on April 24.
“It’s all her,” he said. “I guess she’s that good.”
Preparing an animal to be a champion sometimes takes years of learning what is most effective. Josh Hosea, 7, already is on his way, having won the showman award in the pee wee division.
“She’s a great calf,” Hosea said of the animal who almost is a year old.
Preparing for the show is a process that starts from the first day.
“We started her off in a little pen, then we moved up to a big pen with a roof and a barn,” Hosea said.
Like Burtchell, it was Hosea’s first year with a larger animal having shown a pig last year. And like any animal, a heifer requires consistent care.
“We work with them, we brush them, we bottle feed them and make sure their fed,” he said. “Then we halter train them. You can’t show a calf when they’re not halter broken.”
Even with a halter, maintaining control over such an animal takes patience and strength as Hosea’s calf – which he calls Precious – already weights approximately 1,200 pounds.