SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Seats were almost impossible to find in the Junior Livestock Show Ring as the drive for Junior Grand Champion Steer took place Saturday afternoon. The judge rather quickly picked his favorite, a Crossbred steer shown by Addie Girard.
Addie, the 18-year-old daughter of Jim and Jan Girard, is from Pontiac, Ill. in Livingston County. She has shown her cattle since the age of eight and has one more year left in the junior division. Her grandfather watched excitedly as pictures were taken, remarking how proud of her he was. Addie was involved in FFA and sports at Pontiac High School, and she will attend Joliet Junior College in the fall to become a veterinarian technician.
At the beginning of the summer, Girard’s steer was no less than wild, dragging her on several occasions and refusing to be shown. The fact her Crossbred was able to show at the State Fair was an accomplishment in itself, making the win even sweeter for Addie. She plans to use the money raised in the Governor’s Sale of Champions to go towards a college fund.
Kevin Carey’s Crossbred steer took Reserve honors for the 2009 Illinois State Fair. Kevin is the 18-year-old son of Tim and Belinda Carey of rural Kinsman, Ill. At Seneca High School, he served as both a section and chapter FFA officer, was Class President for four years and was very involved in theatre productions and musicals. He will be a freshman at Illinois Wesleyan University in the fall, studying political science.
“I’m exhausted, but this is extraordinarily wonderful. I couldn’t have placed second to a better person,” Kevin said. His steer, Sparky, was named the Grand Champion Steer at the 2008 Illinois State Fair. He has been showing since he was ten and spent every day over the summer with his cattle.
“They become your best friends,” he said.
The Land of Lincoln Grand Champion steer was a Hereford shown by 12-year-old Bradi Branyan of Assumption, Ill. in Shelby County. Taking Reserve Land of Lincoln honors was 19-year-old Emily Butcher’s Angus steer. Emily is from Blue Mound, Ill. in Sangamon County.