FRYEBURG — Just before awarding first place in the 4-H Beef Steer Show for students ages 12 to 14 with medium-sized steers, Fryeburg Fair judge Clint Rusk said Monday that the silver steer of 13-year old Lauren Pride of Limington “walked like a champion” and “easily wins this category.”

He said that in any category, her steer would be a tough one to beat.

About an hour later, Pride competed in the championship competition, in which the winners and second-place finishers of each category competed against one another, and as Rusk predicted, Pride’s steer was named Grand Champion.

Several dozen members of the 4-H Cooperative Extension of Maine participated in the 4-H Beef Steer Show in the Livestock Show Arena. The steers were judged on showmanship, and the 4-H members competed in five categories: light, medium-light, medium, medium-heavy and heavy.

At the start of each category, Rusk invited each 4-H member to walk his or her steer into the arena where he would evaluate its musculature, posture and other characteristics that determine whether a steer is market-ready.

After evaluating them, Rusk had the competitors walk the steers in a circle so he could see how they carried themselves.

Five minutes later, he lined the steers up from first place to last place and explained the characteristics of each to the audience.

Pride, following her first win, said she had only been competing in the 4-H Club with market-ready beef steers for two years, though her experience with animals stretches further back.

“I started with raising racing pigs when I was 5 years old.” Pride said as she vacuumed her steer’s fur outside the Livestock Show Arena. “My brother is the one who got me into raising steers. I fell in love with cows soon after.”

She said the steer she was competing with Monday afternoon was won during a calf scramble at the 2015 Fryeburg Fair.

Although several years from attending college, Pride said she is interested in the business side of beef steers.

“In competing with market-ready steers, I know everything that you need to know about what’s good and ready for market,” she said. “Right now, I’m kind of leaning toward getting involved in the market-ready steer business.”

Emily Billings, a senior at Mountain Valley High School, said she has been a member of 4-H for 10 years, and raises sheep at her family’s farm in Milton Township.

“I’ve always had a farm and grew up around farm animals,” Billings said while preparing her steer for competition. “It just made sense to be a part of 4-H. When you work with the beef steers to raise them for competition, they become your best friend. You’re with them constantly, and they become like family.”

Billings said the experience she’s gained in working with market steers, hogs and lambs has sparked an interest in being a veterinarian.

“I think I’m going to go to the University of Maine in Orono, or maybe a college in Durham, New Hampshire,” Billings said. “I want to be able to put that knowledge of animals to good use.”

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