Acme girl wins big at state Farm Show
Fayette County exhibitor Samantha Fabian recently took home top honors because her steer placed as the overall Grand Champion Market Steer at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg.
The 1,330 pound light-heavyweight crossbred steer, Beau, was actually supposed to be 18-year-old Fabian's show steer for the Fayette County Fair in 2012, but hadn't gained enough weight by that time.
“He wasn't gaining at a good enough rate to show at the fair, so we took him to the Farm Show instead,” Fabian said. “It was almost like he didn't want to go to the fair because he ripped his fair ear tag out prior to that decision, and then gained like crazy after the fair was all over.”
Last year when Fabian was attending Penn State Fayette and still at home, Beau got worked about five times a week, but when she started college at West Virginia University in the fall, she would come home every weekend to work him.
Her parents Jim and Lou Ann Fabian helped out throughout the week.
Apart from the daily feeding and watering, Fabian had to routinely bathe the steer and blow-dry it to keep his hair in good condition. She would practice setting him up to get him ready for the show ring.
It wasn't until Beau had begun doing fairly well at jackpot shows (winning his class, division titles, and even Reserve Grand Champion at a Somerset jackpot show) that Fabian knew she had a pretty good steer.
“It was probably in December when he really just started looking his best and coming together nicely,” she said.
In January, Fabian made her third trip to the annual farm show for competition. She felt pretty confident with Beau from the start.
“I really liked him,” she said. “I knew I wouldn't stand last in my class and that anything was possible, but I felt I had worked with him and done all I could to make him his best. If someone else had a better calf and worked harder than I did for the grand title, then I would respect that as well.”
Before the show, Fabian was told the judge would either like Beau or hate him because he was so different than the rest of the steers.
“In class, I was a little nervous when the judge took extra time to sort between me and the second-place steer, but once he won his class the excitement just kept building from there, taking champion in his division, the cross-bred show and then finally the overall show,” she said.
Market steer Judge Joel Cowley from Houston, Texas placed 63 exhibitors for the show, but only found a top pair that he crowned champion and reserve. He is the executive director of Agriculture Exhibits at the Houston Livestock and Rodeo Show.
Cowley was looking for the ideal market steer that had enough power, composition and openness in the rib to make a market-ready animal, and in the overall grand champion drive, Cowley stated that he had found “the one to do the job.”
Showmanship Judge Kevin Stahl of Mercersburg selected commendable exhibitors and awarded them master showmanship plaques.
“The competition was thick and with good kids like these, it made my job tough,” said Stahl.
“There's nothing quite like winning a state show and I'm glad I was able to have that experience,” said Fabian. “It's been a goal of mine for a few years now.”
Beau was auctioned off to Hoss's Steak and Sea for $11,500.
Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.