A mist forms as the 917-pound steer’s hot breath hits the cool air in the Show Barn Saturday at the Auglaize County Fairgrounds.
The steer, with a sable black coat, walks the show ring as Wapakoneta High School student Kerrie Miller grips tightly on the reins. She works the steer into the best position for judging, taking advantage of past experience gained at past shows to sharpen her skills even further during the Moon City Preview, sponsored by the Wapakoneta Young Farmers and the Wapakoneta FFA Alumni.
“With him, I didn’t figure he would do all that well because he still is really piecey, but my first steer I was expecting to stand first or second and we stood third,” said Miller, who showed an 819-pound steer in the first class. “There is some pretty good cattle here, better than I thought there would be so I am pretty happy where I stood with my first steer.”
The daughter of Kellie and Ron Miller shows steers primarily around the state and throughout the tri-state region, but she also participates in national shows.
She and the steers have been showing throughout the winter schedule. Much like an athlete using preliminary shows for the ultimate show, showing the steers here helps her during the Auglaize County Fair by knowing where her steers and herself need to work to improve.
“With my second steer, I hope to work with him so that he is not so strong-headed because he is almost stronger than me already,” said Miller, who showed the reserve grand champion market steer at the 2012 Auglaize County Fair. “I also hope he grows more hair.”
While she travels throughout the area, the Wapakoneta High School junior said she looks forward to the Moon City Preview, which is in its fourth year, because it is in her hometown.
“I love this show because I love the time I get to spend with my animals,” Miller said. “I also love the new friends I get to make as I show.”
For a New Knoxville High School freshman, the Moon City Preview provided an opportunity to hone his skills in the ring for the Auglaize County Fair.
“I just hope to accomplish one thing and that is to get my steers some experience in the show ring so they can do better at the fair coming up this summer,” Lehman said. “I think today was a good day just because he got that experience in the ring and he didn’t get all wound up.
“We also know what he needs to work on — which is he needs to fill out and hopefully we can do that by fair,” he said of his 870-pound steer. “That is the good thing about shows like these, you find out what you need to work on. It is the same thing with showmanship.”
The son of Cindy and Jerry Lehman has been involved in 4-H for the past seven years and is a member of the New Knoxville Livestock Boosters.
Kort Sutherland brought his steer to get some experience as well as for the youngster from Lakeview. He is the son of Anita and Drew Sutherland.
“He is pretty excited,” Drew Sutherland said about his young son. “This is only his second year of showing. It gets him used to getting the steer to go where he wants to go so he is ready for the fair and so is his calf.”
Gaining experience and getting the animals time in the ring are the two main reasons for the show, Dava Gerstner said during a break between the heifer show and the steer show. The show attracted 17 heifers and 51 steers. There also was a showmanship portion, too.
“We started this because there was no show around here during the winter,” Gerstner said, explaining the show is open to people of all ages. “There used to be a show in Kenton but they discontinued that show so we started this one.
“We really want to provide an opportunity for local people to get their animals out and for the kids to work with their animals a little more before the fair.”
The quality of the heifers and steers, which varied in size, color and breed, remained high throughout the program, the judge said.
“I thought the heifers — maybe not the biggest in number — were of some really good quality,” said judge Jacob Boyert, who hails from Seville and is in his last year of studies at The Ohio State University. “I am expecting the same from the steers — good quality.”
Caitlin Schaub, who showed the grand champion market steer at the 2012 Auglaize County Fair, used the local show to continue to work on her skills and to train a new group of cattle.
She showed a couple of heifers and a couple of steers at the Moon City Preview this weekend.
“I came because it is a lot of fun and I need to learn to show better and to gain experience for myself and my steers,” the Wapakoneta High School eighth-grader said.
The daughter of Judy and Mike Schaub is preparing for her sixth year showing at the Auglaize County Fair and has participated in the Moon City Preview for the past three years.
She also shows cattle statewide and throughout the nation, recently showing at Denver. She plans to show this next weekend at Ohio Beef Expo.
“This really helps me get ready for the fair and the other upcoming shows because my heifers and steers get more and more used to being shown so they don’t act so crazy in the ring,” Schaub said. “We started in November and we show about every other week or every third week since November.
“I like this show, but I like the farther away shows because nobody knows me and when I mess up it is not so embarrassing,” Schaub said.
One 13-year-old St. Marys girl showed cattle for the first time.
“This is my first day of showing,” the daughter of Mindy Pond and Nick Katterhenry said. “I have never shown before, but I really liked it, I really liked working with the animals.”
Kaylee Katterhenry, of Memorial Junior High School, took advantage of an opportunity presented to her by Ali and Candace Muir, of Waynesfield. They loaned her a heifer to show.
“I want to start showing and they are helping me out by providing me with a heifer to show in the ring,” Kaylee said. “It was a lot of fun. I just wanted to stay calm and make the heifer look good.
“My dad is actually thinking about getting me a heifer to show and I was just making sure this is something I wanted to do,” said Kaylee, who rides horses and shows sheep at the fair. “I really liked it and want to show in the summer. It was a lot of fun.”