Today is beef day at the Niobrara County Fair. For 11 years today was arguable the most important day of my entire year. It was easily the day I worked the hardest and longest for. I still wake up the Wednesday of fair week and think about it being beef day.
My day would typically begin before 5:00 a.m. and last much later than my energy did. I showed all forms of beef, including feeder calves, market steers and breeding heifers. Over my 11-year 4-H career I had close to 20 beef projects. It was definitely my thing.
As a stubborn, opinionated 8 year old I chose my first beef project - a little Hereford heifer I named Sassy. Now Sassy wasn't a great show heifer and my dad and uncle tried their hardest to get me to choose a more stylish heifer that would be more competitive. I clearly remember standing in my uncle's corral, in front of the barn in early December, arguing between Sassy and this really sweet, stylish heifer.
I won and Sassy was the final choice.
I was 8 years old at the time, if that tells you about how far back my interest in livestock and stubborn disposition go.
I loved animals and still do. I poured all my attention into Sassy and she responded in true Hereford form and became a pet. I would ride her around the corral she was pretty much bullet proof.
My first beef morning at county fair started in the pitch dark. It's an early morning to be up when it's still pitch dark outside in August. I remember freezing while washing her that morning, my dad standing by sipping a steaming Styrofoam cup of coffee.
We didn't win anything special that first year, but I was hooked.
Sassy went on to be the start my personal cow herd and was always up for a good scratch during winter feeding. The year I had to sell her was a sad one. Today a few of Sassy's calves and grand-calves are still in my herd.
Sassy was followed by Lacy..who is a whole nother story.