10/05/05 — Quick answer, showmanship skills help in heifer competition

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Quick answer, showmanship skills help in heifer competition

By Turner Walston
Published in News on October 5, 2005 1:51 PM

A big part of successfully showing livestock in competition is being able to answer the judge's questions quickly and correctly.

After all, it's the showman, not the animal, that is being judged.

So when Randy Wood, the judge in the Open Junior Beef Heifer Show at the Wayne Regional Fair asked competitor Rossie Blinson what the acronym EPD means, she was quick to answer.

"EPDs are expected progeny differences," said Rossie, 14. "You look at the bloodline and other cattle in the breed, so you can try to predict what she's going to do when she cows."

She went on the explain that the EPD helps determine how valuable a heifer will be as a calf producer.

The answer, along with the way she handled her animal, helped the Buies Creek girl win first place in the intermediate competition.

Wood had nothing but praise for her afterward.

"She does not miss a question," Wood told the crowd in the arena, after announcing Rossie as the winner.

She said six months of working with her animal was the key to winning.

"I work with them five days a week, leading them," she said of her cattle. "I brush every day, and we work on setting (positioning the animal to remain stationary before the judge). My dad feeds them in the morning, but I work with the cattle and feed them in the afternoons," she said.

Her heifer was named Fashion.

Where did the name come from?

"Her mother was Jordache and her father was Wrangler," Rossie said, "so the whole family's been named after jeans."

Rossie is no stranger to the livestock show circuit. She has been showing sheep for 10 years, and cattle for six. Livestock showing has twice taken her to Hereford Junior Nationals and to the North Carolina State Fair, where she was Grand Champion in the Limousin cattle division and Reserve Champion in the Hereford cattle division.

Tuesday's win helped Rossie advance in the Eastern Carolina Showmanship Circuit, a series of shows in nine counties that culminates at the State Fair in Raleigh later this month. She now leads in the points competition.

To determine a showmanship winner, Wood said he watches the exhibitors carefully. They have to maintain eye contact with him, but still keep their animals calm. The heifers should stop, walk and set up easily. Wood also quizzed the exhibitors individually on the breed and feeding habits of their heifers.

Before announcing a winner, Wood spoke to each of the exhibitors personally.

"You answered that EPD question really fast,'" he told Rossie.

Rossie went on to place as Reserve Champion in the animal judging portion of the competition, while Michelle Batton of Selma took home the Grand Champion title.

Other winners in the heifer showmanship competition included Colleen Jones of Kinston in the novice class and Milo Lewis of Walstonburg in the senior class.