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Youth Prepare For Four States Fair Livestock Shows

Youth Prepare For Four States Fair Livestock Shows

by Heather Thomson

Hunter Grant has been participating in livestock shows for the majority of his youth, earning many titles, one of which was the  Showmanship and Division Champion at the state shorthorn show in Forth Worth, Texas.

It was one of 18 competitions he competed in last year, and this year he hopes, if possible, to compete in even more.

“I think I was seven when I first competed,” Hunter said. “That year I showed a goat.”  Through the youth organization called 4-H he registered to participate in showing the goat. He began the process by raising funds to purchase a goat and then take care of it for several months, preparing it to show. Preparations included grooming and training the animal to show in front of judges.  The goats are typically judged on which one has the most muscle and is the largest to take to market for meat.

The 4-H organization is a youth development program that reaches more than 7 million youth, beginning in elementary schools and extending through high school. The organization engages youth in hands-on learning activities in the areas of science, healthy living, and food security. The organization’s mission statement says 4-H empowers youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnerships with caring adults.

Participating in Hunter’s first showing experience must have had a lasting impression because over the years, Hunter has continued to progress through 4-H and show a variety of animals in competition. 

His father, Robert Grant, who also grew up showing livestock, credits the organization for helping encourage positive character traits. “Four-H is very family-oriented and truly has a whole village approach to teaching the kids. The kids involved still believe in manners and being polite,” according to Grant.

“Having a heifer is just like having a dog – they want to be loved and petted”

For Hunter specifically, Robert says, “He never meets a stranger, he is a very good public speaker and is also very responsible,” all things he credits to his experience through 4-H and the livestock shows.

Hunter has participated in showing events through 4-H, such as heifers, goats, and steers, and he has even competed in other subjects such as photography and participating on a livestock judging team. “As I have gotten older, I enjoy the competition. I’ve become more competitive,” he says.

He recently changed to short horn heifers because he thinks the animal is more competitive, and it is harder to compete with the short horn heifers. Each day he grooms the two heifers he owns: a 2-year-old heifer named Star and a younger heifer named Grace. He washes them, clips their hair and blow dries their hair daily. He also keeps the heifers under fans to help promote hair growth, and he has a cooling systems that help as well.

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Hunter enjoys raising the heifers because at the end of the livestock shows they still get to go home with him, unlike the steers which are sold for meat. The heifers are not sold for meat but are used for breeding.

“Having a heifer is just like having a dog – they want to be loved and petted,” he says.

To date Hunter’s heifers have calved around six times, and he is looking forward to growing his herd. Selling the calves has been profitable for Hunter and each year is allowing him to invest in additional livestock.

At the upcoming Four States Fair he will be showing both his short horn heifers. The 2-year-old named Star will compete for showmanship, and the new younger heifer, Grace, will compete in the Junior Cattle show. Then it’s on to other shows and maybe one day medical school or perhaps veterinary school for Hunter.

But more than anything, Hunter says, “My favorite part of participating is traveling with friends and family and having a good time while going to shows.”

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