Kara Dutton of Fryeburg was named Maine Connections Academy October STAR Student of the Month. Submitted photo

SCARBOROUGH — Maine Connections Academy recently presented Kara Dutton of Fryeburg as its October STAR Student of the Month.

Dutton, an eighth grader, has made use of the school’s flexible schedule to pursue a unique passion for competitive cattle showing.

She is a member of the Maine 4-H Beef Team. She competes at fairs and events across the country, including the renowned Big E Fair in Massachusetts, the largest on the East Coast.

Her love for cattle showing began early, growing up on her family’s beef production farm. She attended a show at the fair when she was nine and knew it was something she wanted to pursue.

“I’ve fallen in love with it,” she said, according to a news release from the school. “It’s something I want to do forever.”

Closer to home, Dutton participates in 4-H beef cattle shows in and around Fryeburg. She says cattle showing is much like a beauty pageant for cows, with judges evaluating their physical characteristics, walk, and adherence to breed standards. Preparing the cattle is a meticulous process that involves daily grooming with blow dryers and vinegar, rinsing, and washing every other day. She also spends time training the cattle to walk and set up for the show ring.


Dutton’s achievements at the Big E Fair include 2022 Champion Junior Showman and her Champion 4-H heifer. This year, she placed 5th Overall Showman at the Fryeburg Youth Show, the largest youth show in the northeast. This year she also was named Big E Reserve Champion Intermediate Showman.

She says understanding the animals is key. “I trust them to make the right decisions. And they trust me. They’re your teammates.”

She recognizes some of the difficulties that come with showing beef cattle. The heifers, or female cows, that she works with are eventually retired to breed new cattle. The males, called steers, are auctioned off at the end of the year. “It’s obviously very hard, but the way I look at it is that dogs are family and cows are business. It’s how I make my money,” she explained.

Dutton is more than an accomplished cattle shower — she also excels academically. The online learning model has helped her with time management, which is critical with her busy travel schedule.


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