Grand Steer

Aurora Hilkerbaumer, 11, Union, said she didn’t expect her market steer to win the top prize Thursday at the Washington Town & Country Fair.

“I was really surprised,” she said when she learned her animal, John T. Chance, was the grand champion in the market steer show.

And there was no secret to success for Aurora, who exhibited for the third consecutive year. 

“I just wanted it a lot, I guess,” she added. “I made sure he was comfortable.”

Hilkerbaumer is a member of the Jeffriesburg 4-H Club. She soon will be a fifth-grader at Immanuel Lutheran School in Washington.

Steer show judge Phillip Martin called the 1,395-pound steer a “really good calf.” All the steers received blue ribbons.

“It was one of the better calves I have seen in a while,” he said. “It was well cared for and well groomed.”

Martin selected John T. Chance out of a field of 61 steers split into eight weight classes. Hilkerbaumer’s steer was in Class 8.

Aurora’s parents are Alan and Julie Hilkerbaumer.

Aurora added that she would show her sister, Anna, the ropes when the younger girl shows a steer. Anna showed a bucket calf Thursday at the Fair.

Reserve Champion

The reserve champion was shown by Kaitlynn Van De Wiele, 12, of the St. Clair area. The steer was in Class 6 and weighed 1,320 pounds.

Kaitlynn is a member of the Rockford Rebels 4-H and a student at St. Clair Junior High School.

This was Kaitlynn’s fourth year showing, but the first at the Washington Town & Country Fair. The past two years she has shown the grand champion steer at the Meramec Community Fair in Sullivan.

Kaitlynn added she was out before the sun was up brushing the steer, Augustus Frank.

“I was out there every morning brushing and using conditioner,” she said. “It makes it a lot easier to show.”

This was the fourth year showing for Kaitlynn, who is the daughter of Dave and Krista Van De Wiele.

It probably wasn’t a factor in Thursday’s steer show outcome, but while raising Augustus Frank, Kaitlynn learned, by accident, that the animal enjoys Golden Oreos.

“He took it out of my hand and ate it,” she said. “I gave him one more but I didn’t want him to get sick.”

Judge Comments

In general, Martin said he was impressed with the steers at this year’s show.

“They were rock solid, deep quantity,” he said. “The kids, and families behind them, in this community show good cattle.

“I encourage everyone to get some of this beef for their freezers.”

Class Winners

The first-place winners in each class for the steer show are as follows:

Class 1, Julia Wagner; Class 2, Julia Gerling; Class 3, Inaya R. Chishti;  Class 4, Wyatt Meyer; Class 5, Celia Gildehaus; Class 6, Van De Wiele; Class 7, Alex Bolzenius; and Class 8, Hilkerbaumer.

Bred and Owned

Wyatt Meyer, a member of New Haven 4-H, showed the reserve grand champion and Hilkerbaumer showed the champion in the bred and owned category.

Meyer’s steer weighed 1,260 pounds. He is the son of Donna and Jason Meyer.

In showmanship, the junior division winner was Amy Gerling. Olivia Jacquin picked up the intermediate division honors and Anna Elbert earned the senior division title.

All 61 steers in the show received blue ribbons and will be up for grabs at Saturday’s Fair livestock auction. The grand champion and reserve are the first steers sold at the auction.

All the winners received belt buckles sponsored by hth companies.