Moon City Magic: Steer, heifer show gives early chance to hone talents

Standing tall and straight, the 11-month-old youngster gets his hair trimmed, all the while quieted by Hannah Koch, as she prepares him to be judged.

The 952-pound youngster is Maverick, a steer born in April, and Koch is a junior at Botkins High School. The pair competed Saturday in the third annual Moon City Preview held in the Show Barn at the Auglaize County Fairgrounds.

“I came because it is close to home and I’ve brought cows here for the past two years,” Koch said as she patted the steer on the neck. “We do it mainly to get ready to compete at the fair in July. I like to work with him, setting him up, making sure his hair looks really good.”

The daughter of Danna and Rob Koch shows steers at the Shelby County Fair, but she said she really enjoys getting a chance to show them now to determine what areas of showmanship she needs to work on before the fair in July.

“I really like showing steers because it is really competitive and it is really fun,” said Koch, who is a member of the Botkins Trojans varsity girls basketball team and has that experience to compare the two competitions. “I like working with my animals and steers and having the opportunity to really intensely work on showing.”

The 17-year-old plans to study animal nutrition or agricultural business in college after graduating high school and finishing her time in the Botkins FFA under adviser Chad Berning.

Wapakoneta High School agriculture teacher and FFA adviser Chris Turner stopped to watch the showmanship show, as well as the 18 heifers and 51 steers compete in the late winter show.

Turner is a proponent of the Moon City Preview.

“These kids have already made a commitment to show at the fair and it just makes our fair or whatever fair they are showing at that much better and the competition that much better,” Turner said. “It gives their calf a chance to get out and the youth a chance to practice and to work with their calf while it is younger and easier to handle.

“They learn the routine because it is the same routine as the fair and they can win some money to help them as they train,” he said.

The event started in 2010 as a late winter event, to be held each year the week before the Ohio Beef Expo. Organizers had one thing on their mind when they made the idea a reality.

“We started this to give the kids another place to show that was not so expensive and we could get some of our local cattle around the area to compete,” Gerstner said. “We had approximately 70 the past two years and while we would like to see more come out — basically why we have done it is to give the kids a place to compete.”

Gerstner explained the show is called a “trailer show” so there is no pre-registration. The win, place and show money is provided by sponsors, primarily Show Rite Feeds.

One Wapakoneta High School student and FFA member returned for her third year of competing because she said she loves to show.

“I wanted to come here because my heifer has never been out and my steer hasn’t shown all winter and he has been doing pretty good for me — plus this is only about five minutes away from my house,” said sophomore Kerrie Miller, who recently earned a second place at districts in beef proficiency. “This is just a nice show, a good show and the people here are really nice. This is a good show to just come and hang out.”

Miller brought her heifer, Adeline, whom she purchased in October, and her steer, Charlie, whom she purchased in September to compete in the Auglaize County Fair the last week of July and first week of August.

The daughter of Kellie and Ron Miller spends time with them every day — working with them in the ring, washing their coat and blowing dry their hair.

“The more I work with them the better they get,” said Miller, who plans to earn a degree in beef and sheep management with a minor emphasis in animal science. “When I first got them they were pretty crazy, but I work with them every night and the more you work with them the more they get to know you and the better they act in the ring.”