Competitors battle for blue ribbons
By Steve Herring
Published in News on October 4, 2009 2:00 AM
Caleb Cashwell of Calypso shows off the cow that won fourth place in showmanship.
By the 10 a.m. start of Saturday's heifer show, the temperature had started to climb and cows and people alike were squeezing into whatever shade was available at the Wayne County Fairgrounds.
Large generator-powered fans were positioned to keep the animals cool and exhibitors were busy washing the animals then using blow dryers to dry them off.
The baths were followed by an application of a grooming oil and brushing to ensure that the bovines' hair stood up properly.
The heifer show attracted 27 youths from across eastern North Carolina showing 40 cows. For some, like Caleb Cashwell of Calypso, it was their first year on the circuit. While for others, like veteran Jordan Cox, 17, of Trenton, is was just the latest show stretching back many years.
The regional aspect of the show was underscored by Ridge Roberts and his father, Randy Roberts Sr., who left their home in Currituck County about 4:30 a.m. Saturday morning to make the show.
Miss Cox's entry took home the grand champion trophy.
"I have been showing lambs since I was 3, and I started showing heifers when I turned 7," she said. "I also showed swine when I was 3 years old.
"This year with showmanship I have won every class that I have been in except for two and I improved from those two, and I am leading the circuit right now."
The final show before the State Fair is this Saturday in Pitt County.
A senior at Jones County Senior High School, Miss Cox has shown animals at the State Fair since she was 3 years old.
"We have done really good with our lambs," she said. "We have won champion and reserve champion more than five years. With the heifers we have done well, but there are too many (cows) to count for the heifers, different breeds."
The winning heifer was raised by her uncle.
Along with washing the animals, Miss Cox said, "We feed them and make sure they are happy and content so they will be really good in the show ring and so they will look fresh and look neat. We try to work on making them look nice in the show ring.
While she enjoys showing the animals, Miss Cox hopes to attend either Kansas State or Texas A&M on a NCAA scholarship as part of a horse team.
Trevor Jones, 17, a student at North Duplin Jr./Sr. High School at Calypso has been showing heifers since 2004.
He averages eight to 10 local shows each year before competing in the State Fair and the Junior Beef Round-up in Raleigh. He also competes in the South Carolina Beef Round-up.
He finished third in Saturday's senior division and will compete in next weekend's final circuit event in Pitt County.
"I am probably in fourth place overall," he said. "The show next week will be the final decision on what place I get, but I'll go to the State Fair no matter."
Jones is no stranger to State Fair competition. His entries have captured grand champion three or four times and reserve grand champion a couple of times.
"One year I won the Junior Showmanship," he said.
He enjoys showing the animals, but wants to be a pilot, possibly flying helicopters.
Caleb Cashwell, 11, a student at North Duplin Elementary School at Calypso was busy spraying his cow with "pink oil", a grooming oil, and brushing the animal down.
"This is my first year. I have pretty much made all of the shows finishing mostly fourth in my class and showmanship," he said. "I have been by myself in a couple of them."
He became interested in showing animals after helping his cousins, who live in the mountains, with their shows.
"I like all of it," he said.
Chalye McCoy of Cove City won reserve grand champion with her entry.
"I have been showing about eight or nine years," she said. "I started off showing lambs. This year, I decided not to show lambs so that I could concentrate on showing the cattle."
She has competed in six shows this year and will compete at the State Fair.
Ridge Roberts, 14, of Currituck County has been showing cattle since he was 4 years old. Roberts said he is following in the footsteps of his older brother, Randy, who also showed heifers.
"I haven't done too bad this year, I have some fourths and fifths," he said.
"It (traveling to shows) is pretty much an every weekend thing starting back in the middle of August," said his father, Randy Roberts Sr. "Last weekend we were in Wilson. We have to be in Greenville this coming Saturday. We do a lot of traveling."
He said they would head back home as soon as the show was over.
"It has been a long day," he said.