Diablo and Petre got a little early exposure in preparation for the fair next week.
By TRAVIS REED
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
COLUMBIANA -- On Friday afternoon, the Sparkle store in Village Plaza might have had the freshest beef in the entire country.
But they kept it out in the sun in an asphalt parking lot.
There, Diablo and Petre, two steers a year and a few months old, ate hay, mooed and got scratched and petted by passers-by.
They are Bridget and Kelsi Garwood's entries for next week's Columbiana County Fair, and the Garwoods took them to the grocery store parking lot to promote the fair and grab the attention of Sparkle management, who bought their steers in the fair auction last year.
By the numbers
Bridget, 19, and Kelsi, 16, of Leetonia, both brought home awards for last year's steers, and picked up hefty checks from Sparkle at the auction.
Bridget's 1,550-pound grand champion brought in $2.50 per pound, and Kelsi's 1,655-pound winner in the rate of gain competition sold at $2.60 per pound.
"Kelsi threatened to let them loose in the store if we didn't bid on them this year," joked Chuck Adams, supervisor of the Village Plaza Sparkle.
Adams estimated that the store spends $35,000-$45,000 per year on 4-H livestock.
Adams said Vincent Furrie, owner of the Sparkle chain, has been buying livestock from fairs in Mahoning and Columbiana counties since the stores opened in 1978.
Furrie was involved with 4-H as a kid, and even took home a prize for potato growing at age 12.
Drivers in the Sparkle lot slowed to see what was happening Friday, and several customers came by to check out the Angus crossbreeds in a small brown pen filled with sawdust near the store entrance.
Neither Diablo, who likes to be scratched on the top of his back, nor Petre, who fancies getting the bottom of his neck rubbed, seemed to notice much.
Bridget and Kelsi have been preparing them for the fair since November, walking them a quarter of a mile, feeding and washing them each day. In the summer, they keep the steers under fans to protect their shiny black hair, which can be damaged by heat.
Guido and Tammi Jannetti of Edinburg, Pa, dropped by the store to pick up some pictures they had dropped off to be developed. They stopped by the pen on their way inside the store so their 4-year-old son, Bret Pacella, could see the animals.
It could not be determined whether Bret likes cows. When asked, he buried his face in his mother's shoulder.
Diablo and Petre ate hay and looked on.