Skyelar Rock won the Grand Champion Market Beef category at the Delaware County Junior Fair’s Beef Show Sunday.
“His name is Buckeye,” Rock told The Gazette on Tuesday afternoon. “He’s very nice, super hungry, always eating. He was a pig! But a good appetite is good for market cattle, it helped him to win.”
She said Buckeye was a two-year project, and since this was her final year of competition in 4-H for Nature’s Friends of Radnor, she showed him with his teammate, Brutus.
“He had a bit of an attitude,” Rock said of Brutus, who ended up finishing in fifth place.
“It’s a lot of work,” showing two cattle in the same event, Rock said, but rewarding.
“Showing was relatively similar to previous years, the skill sets are the same. COVID was a big thing last year and they rushed through the show, but it was nice to get back to normal. Prepping for the show I was nervous, but once I step in the ring it’s like muscle memory, and your animal is your prize.”
Altogether, Rock has competed at the fair for a decade, showing beef as well as some still exhibits.
For last weekend’s show, she said the judges looked at her showmanship skills, as well as the cattle’s muscle quality, finish and bone structure. She said the animal shouldn’t be too fat or too lean for the marketplace.
A former member of the Future Farmers of America at Buckeye Valley High School, Rock considers herself a non-rural agricultural enthusiast who rents out space to keep her animals. Rock is from Delaware and her parents are Kelly Wood and Carl Rock.
Rock said she was hoping for the best at Tuesday night’s Junior Fair Sale, where an auctioneer once took to changing her name from Skyelar to “Smiler” for her enthusiasm.
“The buyers have had extra time to save up. I’m hoping for some high bids. It’ll help pay for my college. Knowing it’s my last year, I’m just happy for the experience.
A sophomore at The Ohio State University’s Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster, Rock is majoring in Agricultural Communications.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.