Kids steer their cows around the ring

A total of 85 cows are competing in junior fair competitions this year.
BAZETTA -- Valerie Sutliff lost junior fair dairy showmanship by a tail.
Three teen-agers stood in the ring in white shirts and black jeans, holding cows by the halter while the judge circled round. And Valarie , Sutliff's 10-month-old milk cow, just would not keep her tail down.
A quick pinch to the rump will usually persuade the cow to let its tail drop, Sutliff, 16, of Lordstown said.
"I'm just not quite long enough to reach it," she added.
A lack of bovine cooperation did not keep Brandy Owen, 19, of Streetsboro from winning the senior colored-breed class, one of 43 distinct classes for dairy cows and their owners. Her cow Shirley lay down during the middle of judging and had to be rousted with some quick thinking.
"I smacked her on the butt and she got up," Owen said.
It was only Friday morning, the day of the dairy judging, that Owen decided she would be taking Shirley in with her to the showmanship ring. Her family brought a total of 20 cows for different competitions.
"When I woke up, she looked good, and I said, 'This is the one that's going,'" she said.
A total of 85 cows are competing in junior fair competitions this year, about the same number as last year. They were brought by 23 kids, from four 4-H clubs, said Ken Wolfe, adviser to Cows R Us in Southington.
There is no good reason why a cow's tail needs to hang flat over its rump, but making the animal do it is a good lesson for the children, Wolfe said.
"If you are working with animals showing them, you need to know how the animal is going to move, how the animal is going to react," he said. "You learn how to handle it for day-to-day matters."
John Klingensmith, 17, of Leavittsburg gave his 3-year-old cow Aries some of the credit for his victory in advanced showmanship, a class open only to previous showmanship winners.
"She was pretty comfortable when we went out there, so it was pretty easy," he said.

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