A Beauty Pageant for Cows
Every July, the Jr. All Utah cows show is held in Heber City. It is a show just for kids, so we can learn and practice showing our animals in a competitive environment. My non-dairy-farm-friends often ask what it takes to show a cow, so I am going to explain how to get a heifer (a young cow which has not yet born a calf) ready for the show.
First off before you go to a show you have to give them a bubble bath because they are usually pretty dirty. We use a hose to squirt them with water then use soap like shampoo to clean their hair, and we have brushes to help us scrub them clean. It takes time and some hard scrubbing to get them to sparkle.
Once your heifer is clean, it is time to use clippers to give her a haircut just like when boys go to the barber shop to get a trim. While she is being clipped she gets to stand in a shoot, which is a big metal contraption – very useful for getting the heifer to stay in one place, and it helps keep us safe because some animals get scared easily and will jump or kick. We trim their hair because it makes them look nicer while they are being judged. Clipping them also takes a lot of time and patience. We clip the hair off of their whole body except the very top of their back, and their belly. Our heifers get to wear a Mohawk!
On show day they should already be clipped and mostly clean. For this show in particular we got up at 4:45 in the morning, so that we could be to the fairgrounds by 6:00a.m. Crazy thing was that we weren’t even the first ones there!
First thing we do on show day is take the heifers out of their pen, and rinse them off with a hose if they have gotten dirty. While one person is rinsing the heifers someone else is cleaning up their pen, and putting hay in there so they can eat breakfast. After they are rinsed off and back in their nice clean pen we let them relax for a few hours. While they are relaxing they get to eat and drink as much as they want because we want them to be happy and full. When the beginning of the show is getting near its time to fit the heifers. “Fitting a heifer” means getting her ready and doing her hair. We use a blow dryer, and special cow hair spray to make their Mohawks stand up. Getting good at this takes lots of practice. Then we comb their belly hair so that it is nice and fluffy. We use a big sponge to wipe them off because lying in sawdust can make them get dusty. Now that they are shinning and wearing more hair spray then a beauty queen they are ready to be shown.While showing a heifer she gets to wear a nice leather halter (the equivalent to a dog’s leash). The showman leads her around a ring while she is judged. For a heifer to do well at the show someone has to have practices with her, so she knows exactly what to do. Showing a heifer and a cow is very similar to a beauty pageant for animals!– Lacey