Garrett Thornton Will Show His Last Market Steer at the Angelina County Fair

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Friday evening at the Angelina County Fair is the market steer show.  Garrett Thornton, a Senior at Hudson High, has been showing steers since he was in 10th grade. Outside of raising cattle, his other favorite activities include hunting, golf, tennis, metal forging, writing, and photography. Garrett has three siblings and his parents are Ty and Julie Thornton.

 “All of our kids have participated in youth fair projects over the years,” said Ty, “with animal projects including meat rabbits, goats, lambs, steers, and commercial heifers.  We have encouraged them to have animal projects primarily because it teaches responsibility for something other than self.”

Garrett’s mom, Julie states, “I think a lot of folks view the fair as just ‘kids and their farm animals.’  Animal projects are certainly a big part of it, but it’s about so much more.  Garrett and our other children have always enjoyed participating in the food show, in which they not only have to prepare food, but they have to present it to judges and be able to answer questions and discuss nutrition facts, for example.” She continues, “Another important lesson kids learn is how to win, and how to lose.  There are obviously some times when they can enjoy winning and a great financial return with their project, but there are other times when they don’t win, when they don’t make the sale, or even when an animal can get sick and die.”   

Sponsored by Southside Bank, the Market Steer division has 32 steers entered. After all the steers are weighed in on Wednesday evening, March 20, the superintendent will break the steers into classes based upon weight. Only 23 of the 32 entered will make the sale on Saturday afternoon.

Garrett states, “The best part of being in the fair is making memories with family and friends.  I love the atmosphere during the week, hanging out with friends and eating ribeye sandwiches!” 

“The hardest part of being in the Fair,” he continues, “is the time commitment that is required for about a full year after you purchase the animal, to work with them and get them prepared for the show ring.”

His dad affirms, ““These animals require them to get up a little earlier every morning and go out to the barn, rain or shine, to feed and water them, and do it again every evening.  They have to spend time working with their animals to prepare them for the show ring, and they learn to know their animals and to watch for signs when something isn’t right.  These are life skills that will help them even with their own families one day.” 

Garrett adds, “Taking care of an animal project taught me responsibility, discipline, and devotion to tasks.  For instance, the animal needs to be fed twice a day no matter where you are, what you are doing, or how you feel.  For any plans you make, you still have to consider how you will take care of your animal.”  

Steers at our County fair are judged solely on their carcass merit.  Breeds and hair color is not considered in the division of classes or in the judge’s placing.

This year’s steer show will be held on the floor of the Expo Center starting at 5 pm on Friday, March 22.  Looking ahead, Garrett plans on attending Texas A&M University to major in Molecular Biology and eventually on to Medical School.

For more information about this year’s Fair, go to www.angelinacountyfair.com.

Cary Sims
Cary Sims is the County Extension Agent for agriculture and natural resources for Angelina County. His email address is cw-sims@tamu.edu Educational programs of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, or national origin.

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