Parish teen wins top steer title

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 1, 2010

MONTEREY — A year of hard work, early mornings and dedication to her animal all paid off for 15-year-old Kristin Russell two weeks ago.

That’s when she and her steer Red walked away from the LSU AgCenter’s 75th annual Livestock Steer competition with the Champion Overall Market Steer Award.

The competition, which is open to 4-H and Future Farmers of America members, pits the regional winners of livestock shows from across the state against each other. Russell went as a representative of Concordia Parish 4-H.

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Russell said at first she wasn’t sure she was going to win, but the longer she was in the competition the more her doubts disappeared.

“It was kind of iffy at first, but then I kind of thought that I had it because the judge was looking at my steer a lot,” she said.

Kristin’s journey to overall champion began last summer, when she and Red first became acquainted.

“We bought him from a place in Mississippi, and at the time he didn’t weigh a lot,” she said. “At the competition, he weighed 1,260 pounds.”

After that, it was all dedication, she said.

“You have to feed them the right amounts of feed, feed them twice a day,” she said. “We feed them at 7 a.m. and at 5:30 p.m.”

What made working that into her schedule challenging was that the Monterey High School freshman is also involved with school activities year-round.

“She does the (livestock) showing, but she has to keep her grades up, and she does basketball and track,” said Kristin’s mother, Paula Russell.

Kristen said she also dances.

“It is kind of hard to balance it, but you have to work around stuff,” she said. “It is worth it.”

Before the show Kristin had to give Red a haircut with a pair of clippers.

“You just cut their hair so it will look groomed and nice,” she said. “(Red) didn’t care, he’s pretty much like a pet.”

For winning, Kristin will receive a trophy, a belt buckle and a small cash stipend, she said.