Cattle showing shines spotlight on commitment of young farmers


Members of the Future Farmers of America and 4-H put in hard work to show cattle

FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — On Monday morning, young members of the Future Farmers of America and 4-H held their 1,300 pound cattle by a rope and walked into the showmanship arena.

“It takes a lot of work, a lot of effort, it takes a lot of time,” explained 16-year-old participant, Ashley Lescalleet.

Lescalleet is like many here who have grown up on local county farms and have been showing animals at the Great Frederick Fair since childhood.

“I was working livestock even before I could ride a bike,” Lescalleet says, “I’ve raised show cattle, show pigs and I’ve been showing since I was eight.”

This staple event calls for participants as young as nine-years-old to about 18-years-old to guide their cattle, sometimes with ease and other times with difficulty, in an “S” shape around the arena where a judge picks up on how both keep their composure.

But it isn’t just a walk in the park.

“Building a bond with a 1,300 pound animal is hard and if you don’t have that bond or that trust with that animal things could go wrong,” Lescalleet said.

Developing a relationship requires work on grooming and maintenance, that’s hours inside the barn with these animals.

Parents who are both anxious and excited in the stands say they see a sense of maturity from the work these kids put in.

Mom Stacy Bureau has two kids in the arena, daughter Lexi and son Dominic.

“They’re involved with taking care of them, so they’re developing that hard work ethic. I think the biggest thing about coming out for showmanship is building that level of confidence and being able to be 90-pounds and handle a 1,300 pound steer,” explained Stacy Bureau.

One of the main goals of the fair is to educate the next generation of farmers and consumers. Lescalleet says showmanship plays into that.

“The public comes through, they ask questions about your livestock and everything you do and what it takes to take care of these animals and it’s a fun thing to be able to teach people who really don’t have a clue,” she said.   

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