Boy and his heifer make fair history PDF Print E-mail
Written by By BILL RYAN Sentinel Farm Editor   
Friday, 28 August 2009 09:58

Livestock_LRichards_storyLiterature is filled with great stories about boys and their dogs, and sometimes other pets.
This is a rare story about a boy and his heifer.
Landon Richards, age 12, took Miley to the Wood County Fair two consecutive years and came away both years with grand champion honors.
What makes it more interesting is that Miley won in classes where her male counterparts, the steers, usually dominate.
In 2008 Landon with Miley took top honors in the beef feeder show. This year, she was what is believed to be the first heifer to ever repeat and win the market beef event.
"I really didn't think I was going to win, there was some pretty good steers in there," Landon said. "It was a shock when I won."
Interestingly, Landon and his family considered taking Miley to the Ohio State Fair this year.
"I actually had a really hard decision, I chose to take her to Wood County Fair again," the young showman said. "We knew she wouldn't win at state fair."
According to Bill Kale, chairman of the beef department, Miley and Landon's win is truly rare.
He indicated although in the minority, heifers have won in the beef feeders on occasion; however, winning in market beef is very rare. There were only four heifers of 57 animals entered this year.
"They start putting on fat and it's hard to keep them lean," Kale said of the heifers.
Winning back to back years is the real rarity.
"I can't even remember even a steer repeating in back to back years," Kale said.
Miley was purchased from a family friend in Fremont, where the Richards family has purchased animals previously.
The champion animal was named after the youth pop icon, Miley Cyrus, however, Landon says it was his younger sister who named his heifer.
Like any good "boy and his animal" story, there is always a sad chapter. For Landon, son of Curt and Kim Richards, that came on the final day of the fair, when Miley was sold for slaughter.
"It was really emotional, I've had her for a couple of years," Landon said.
Despite knowing it was going to happen, it was still difficult for the youngster to part with the animal he had become attached to.
"It was a hard day for him on sale day," his mother confirmed.
The Sentinel-Tribune talked with Landon 10 days after the sale and he spoke about the process and Miley like a seasoned veteran. Several minutes and questions after talking about Miley and the sale, his memories got the best of him as he got choked up and was doing his best to fight back the tears.
He regained his composure and continued, noting they had just gotten the call from Frobose Meat Locker that Miley's meat was ready to be picked up.
The heifer brought $2,100 at the sale. He said her meat was rated as Grade A quality. "The highest prime you could get for meat," he said.
The Pemberville resident was devoted to his animal and truly earned the grand championship.
"Everyday I was out in the barn, three times a day," Landon said of his routine.
He regularly rinsed her, used a blow dryer, combed and groomed her.
"I sat in her pen and brushed her," he said.
"He brought her out in the backyard and set her up," Kim Richards said.
Mom indicated that while Miley was generally even tempered, she would set up better for him than when anyone else worked with her.
"She behaved very well for him. You could tell who worked with her," his mother stated.
At the fair, when Landon, a member of Livestock Unlimited 4-H Club, brought Miley to be photographed, he surprised the photographer as he jumped on her back.
"They're all pretty tame," Landon said of the family's cattle. "My sister sits on my brother's cows all the time."
He has previously shown a lamb at the fair, and may do that again. There is currently one lamb on the family barn.
Landon is already looking ahead to next year's fair when he is thinking about showing a breeding heifer.
"Hopefully I will get (win) all three shows in one year," he said. "I'm going to show as much as I can."
And thus Landon closes the story of Miley, and prepares for his next story.


Livestock Winner's Circle. Landon Richards, Grand Champion Beef 2 years in a row with the same animal. (Photo: Aaron Carpenter/Sentinel-Tribune)


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