Peters family shares love for cattle showing

Staff writer

Six-year-old Ashley Peters led her black-and-white Maine-Anjou steer, 3-times her size, into the show ring Friday, hoping he would bring a good price.

Her steer, Leopard—or Leopold, depending on the day—won grand champion in its class at the Marion County Fair.

“My dad helped me pick him out as a baby,” said Ashley, one of the youngest members of South Cottonwood 4-H Club.

Her dad, Ryan, helped break Leopard, but she trained him and showed him herself.

Competing in cattle shows runs in the family. Ashley’s 9-year-old brother, Charlie, won grand champion at the fair with his red short-horned steer, and reserve champion with another.

Charlie doesn’t name his cattle, because, he says, they are going to be eaten anyway.

He said he won because he received good advice from his dad and grandparents.

“I’ve been in 4-H three years and won grand champion last year, too,” he said. “Dad has some really good cattle.”

Ryan Peters, owner of Peters Cattle Co. west of Peabody, said he helped his kids pick out their cattle, then either gives them the animal, or sells it to them at a discount price.

“It’s a family thing,” Ryan said. “I showed cattle in the same club when I was their age, and I wanted them to experience that.”

He said he knows how educational a cattle project can be.

“You learn responsibility and to take care of something other than yourself,” he said. “It just builds better people.”

Ashley and Charlie participated in a premium sale at the fair. Businesses bid as if it were an auction, but the money raised is more a donation to offset expenses of purchasing and raising animals. The animals most often goes back home to be sold or raised as the person showing them wishes, but buyers can decide to purchase the animal at market price and send it to processing or keep it.

“It’s very expensive to raise an animal to show,” Ryan said. ““Most business owners in this area are old 4-Hers and know the value and expenses of the livestock projects. This helps these programs stay alive and encourages business owners to be involved in county 4-H.”

Ashley wants to keep her steer, but Ryan is not sure that will happen.

“We’ll keep their animals for a while, and then probably sell them for processing when we sell other livestock,” he said.

Ashley and Charlie have not picked out their cattle for next year. Whatever money is left, after purchasing their new cattle, will go into a college fund—so we can go to a good school,” Ashley said.

 

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