There are three kinds of cattle competition at our county fair: steers, commercial heifers and the beef heifer division.
Steers are market ready cattle that are shown on halter on Friday evening at the Fair. Commercial heifers are exhibited in a pen, with two heifers that kids kept records on and are judged based upon their growth, the exhibitor’s records kept, and conformation.
The beef heifer division is also a haltered class that showcases each beef cattle breed. Angus will compete against Angus and Brahman heifers against other Brahman. Exhibitor’s entered heifers are evaluated for conformation and the judges select winners based upon the appearance on that day at the show.
The Johnson family from Huntington is quite involved in the beef heifer shows both locally and across the state. Currently, the three younger siblings John Dee, Anna Claire, and Brooke are entered in the heifer show at the Expo Center on February 26 at 2pm.
John Dee Johnson is 12 years old, in the 7th grade at Huntington Middle School, and this is his fourth year to show at the County Fair. His sister Anna Claire is 11 years old, in the 6th grade at Huntington, and this is her third year at the County Fair. The youngest sibling is Brook. She is 10 years old, in 4th grade, and this will be her second year. Their parents are Bubba and Christie Johnson. They have three other children, Mary and Lane Johnson, and Laura Henderson.
The heifers that the Johnson family picks are usually around the age of 6 months. They will immediately start feeding, halter breaking and preparing their heifers for the upcoming competitions. In the past, this family has participated in a number of local and state level heifer shows.
Raising cattle for competition is a daily effort, with feed consumption and health at the forefront.
The Angelina County Fair allows exhibitors to show heifers that are 30 months of age, or younger, on the day of the show. The beef heifer division is sponsored by Ray & Carl Ray Polk Land and Cattle. Unlike most other divisions in the county fair, there is no limit to the number of heifers that may be entered by the exhibitor.
Registered breeds will show in their own breed division and any unregistered animal will show in the “All Other Breeds” class. Classes for the beef breeding show will be broken down into three age divisions: under one year old, one two years, and over two years of age. Heifers in a class will be lined up according to age youngest to oldest as they enter the arena.
Breed divisions are in three major groups: English, Exotic or American divisions. English (or sometimes called British) breeds include Angus, Hereford and
Shorthorn. Exotics will be the European continental breeds such as Limousin, Charolais, Chianina, Simmental, or others.
American breeds are cattle breeds from crosses developed in the US such as Brangus, Braford, Santa Gertrudis, and more.
The judge will evaluate the heifer’s growth and development based upon their age as well as their ability to raise a calf when they are old enough.
Each of the Johnson children will tell you it takes a lot of commitment, consistency, disappointment, and family support to show and raise their own show cattle.
This year’s Angelina County Fair presented by Brookshire Brothers is set for Feb 23-27 at the George H Henderson, Jr Expo Center.