Monday, December 22, 2014

Teen steers parents toward her fair goal

By DYLAN LYSEN, Herald Staff Writer | 7/14/2014

Amanda Wray just wanted to do better than her older brothers, she said.

And she already met that goal.

Amanda Wray just wanted to do better than her older brothers, she said.

And she already met that goal.

Amanda, 14, an incoming freshman at Ottawa High School, has participated in Franklin County’s 4-H program and the Franklin County Fair since she was 7, but hadn’t enjoyed the opportunity to raise a steer until this year, her mother, Brenda Wray, said. Amanda will show her steer, “Gus,” which she’s been raising all year in hopes for a championship at the Franklin County Fair. The competition is set to begin 5:30 p.m. Friday at the fairgrounds, 17th and Elm streets.

“This is it, because I don’t want to do sheep or horses,” Amanda said.

Like many younger Franklin County youth in the program, Amanda followed in her siblings’ lead, she said. Once she joined 4-H, she wanted to prove she could compete and worked hard in hopes of besting her brothers at raising animals, she said.

“I wanted to beat them,” she said. “[And I beat them] with goats my first year.”

Amanda won grand champion showing her goats at the Franklin County Fair — a feat her brothers never reached, she said. Her mother confirmed her story.

“It was amazing,” Amanda said.

But now Amanda has a new goal: to raise a championship steer. She wanted to try cattle long before this year, she said, but her mother had doubts. Steers shown at county fairs often reach 1,300 pounds, and sometimes heavier. Amanda hasn’t yet reached 100 pounds herself, Brenda Wray said.

“I can’t say I’m not a little nervous when they start working with the steers,” the mother said. “She wanted to show a steer several years ago. Her dad said, “Yeah, sure,” and she weighed all of 70 pounds. She weighs 90 now, but I was kind of a chicken so I made her wait until this year.”

Amanda takes care of her steer every day, including walking him through the field and washing him, Brenda Wray said. She also had feared Amanda might not take responsibility for the animal, and the daily duties would shift to her parents — a worry that hasn’t proven to be reality.

“She’s old enough now that she can to go out and [take care of them]. When she was little, it would have been me or her dad,” Brenda Wray said. “She feeds them every day, and she takes care of them.”

Along with her 4-H responsibilities, Amanda also is involved in sports, her mother said. She’s busy with something at almost every moment of the day.

“I love that she loves to keep busy,” Brenda Wray said. “She is outside 100-percent of the day. She loves to be outside working with her animals.”

At 14, Amanda now has the ability and responsible nature to raise the animal her self, she said. Raising animals has taught her the value of hard work, she said. Amanda also has learned to not put things off with the animals, she added.

“I would say from the beginning of the 4-H career to now, she’s learn to not procrastinate,” Brenda Wray said. “This year, we are way ahead of where we were last year, and probably way ahead of the year before that. There is just so much to do. You just have to learn with you other activities. You just have to learn to be good time managers. She’s learned that, she’s learned that better than I did.”

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