Steamboat Springs On a wooden box her husband built 43 years ago; on a box her son used to put himself through college; on a box her grandchildren painted from blue to green, Evelyn Monger sat. She sat and watched 60- and 70-pound children coax half-ton beasts around a ring with hooked sticks and more than a little courage.
The box holds the equipment three generations of Mongers have used to get their steers ready for show. As the heat bore down on the Routt County Fairgrounds in Hayden Friday, Evelyn watched her granddaughter Tyra take Frisky, a Gelby steer, around the ring.
Before the showmanship event, Tyra said she was nervous, looking up at her father, Doug, for support as she held onto the fence at the fairgrounds.
But when she made it into the ring, Tyra was the picture of cool, guiding Frisky across the dirt and setting him straight with a "short stick," with which she also rubbed his belly to calm him.
"He was getting freaked out, but I took care of him," Tyra said.
After the event, Doug washed the steer down with cool water and congratulated his daughter, who had made off with second place in the junior showmanship event.
Doug Monger, who is now a county commissioner, said he put himself through college on the money he made from selling market steers and other animals during the nine years he sold animals at the show.
"There's a lot of opportunity for the kids," he said.
The payoffs on the steers can reach into the thousands, with Saturday's sales promising to line the pockets of some very young businesspeople. Livestock buyers spent more than $164,575 at the junior livestock sale in 2000. A total of 113 animals were sold last year; beef products sold for an average of $2,846 each.
The showmanship events on Friday are meant to teach young people how to handle and present animals. The judge also asks the young people questions about their animals.
"I just enjoy seeing the kids and the time they spend with the animals and the experience and responsibility they've gained," said Adele Carlson, the mother of 17-year-old Kelly Carlson of north Routt County who was showing his steer in the senior showmanship class.
The market beef showmanship event is an attempt to see how well the young future farmers have raised their steers and the quality of the animals. It is a prelude to today's big sale. Doug Monger said the steers are much bigger these days than when he was in 4-H. While a 1,000 pound steer was seen as a major accomplishment in his day, steers these days often tip the scales at 1,300 or 1,400 pounds.
BREEDING BEEF CLASSES
Cow / Calf
1. Kelly Carlson; 2. Andy Mucklow; 3. Brandon Craig
1. Kaylee Myers; 2. Tack Louthan;
3. Zane Younglund
1. Andy Mucklow; 2. Kelly Carlson
1. Brandon Craig
1. Austin Carnahan
Yearling Heifer born
prior to March 15
1. Zane Younglund; 2. Courtney Long 3. Brandon Craig
Yearling Heifer born after March 15
1. Kalvert Shiner; 2. Katy Button; 3. Tiffany Schaffner
Cow 2+ years
1. Kelly Carlson; 2. Zane Younglund; 3. Andy Mucklow
Champion Breeding Beef Female
Zane Younglund, Grand Champion
Kelly Carlson, Reserve Grand Champion
MARKET BEEF CLASSES
1. Tyler Knott; 2. Janey Montieth; 3. Jamie Booco
1. Kalvert Shiner; 2. Courtney Long; 3. Tack Louthan
1. Sarajane Rossi; 2. Tyra Monger; 3. Keith Curry
Janey Montieth, Grand Champion
Jamie Booco, Reserve Grand Champion