The third day of the St. Francois County Fair was a hot one, but there was a steady breeze that helped make it bearable nonetheless.
There’s was one boy on the grounds who didn’t mind the sun, the heat or breaking a little bit of sweat — 13-year-old Colton Grass.
He might not be the biggest guy showing livestock at the St. Francois County Fair this year, but he’s without a doubt one of the most successful ones at it.
Living on a farm with his parents, Ronnie and Jennifer Grass, and 9-year-old sister, Clarissa, he has had quite a few winners through the years and it’s pretty obvious that he knows his stuff.
“This is my sixth year showing at the St. Francois County Fair and this is going to be my third or fourth year in a row winning Grand Champion steer,” Colton said proudly. “I didn’t start out doing all this because I was in 4-H.
“We started out with a couple of cows on our farm in Bonne Terre and then we heard about the shows, so we came over here and started from scratch working our way up.”
Colton, who is now a proud member of the Bear Creek Kids 4-H Club, shared a couple of simple steps to raising a Grand Champion-worthy steer to show at the county fair.
“You have the cows and then you get ‘em up and just feed ‘em,” he said. “Sometimes you put stuff in their feed, but not much. Normally it’s just the genetics — the breed — that makes ‘em look good. The one I’ve got is a Charolais Red Angus cross.
“When you ween ‘em, you’ve got to run ‘em through the shoot and tie the halters. Then we’ve got this little pen over beside us where we can tie them up and leave them for a couple of days. We bring water and food over to them until I feel comfortable walking them — get them used to the stick and all that.
“Then after I really, really get used to them, every day — morning and evening — wash ‘em, walk ‘em and stick ‘em. Even sometimes three times a day — wash ‘em, walk ‘em, stick ‘em. Just to get ‘em like a dog.”
And how does it feel to be a consistent livestock winner at the county fair?
“It just feels great,” Colton said, adding that he tries to stay the middle ground between feeling like he’s got to come out on top each year and allowing himself just to do his best and have fun. Still, the youngster realizes the animals he’s working with are much bigger than he is and sometimes allowances have to be made for his short stature.
“When I was 8 years old, I was at the Missouri State Fair with my steer and I had to stand on my tippy-toes to look over him and see the judge,” he said. “That was the first year I ever took one of my steers to the state fair. I got Reserve Champion over there.”
Colton will be going to the state fair next week in Sedalia with his grandparents, but he isn’t going to be showing any livestock.
“I’m just gonna be having fun,” he said.
So, what is it that Colton likes most about being a 4-H Club member and showing livestock at the county fair?
“I like helping others,” he said. “If somebody needs help, I’m here to help them and if I need help, I know somebody will be there to do the same for me.”
Here is the schedule for Friday and Saturday, as provided by the fair board:
$8 gate admission starts at 8 a.m.
7:30 a.m. – Open Swine Show – YAB
8 a.m. – Open Sheep Show – YAB
8:30 a.m. Open Goat Show – YAB
9 a.m. Open Dairy Show – YAB
9:30 a.m. Bucket Calf Show – YAB
10 a.m. Open Beef Show – YAB
1-4 p.m. – Senior Day Activities – Exhibit Bldg.
4 p.m. CircusSaurus (other showings at 6 and 8 p.m.)
4-10 p.m. – Animals ‘R’ Us Petting Zoo
5:30 p.m. – Awards Presentation – YAB
6-10 p.m. – Live Music
6 p.m. – Cornhole Tournament
7 p.m. – Cowboy Mounted Shooting
$8 gate admission begins at 8 a.m.
8 a.m. Jr. – and Open Dairy Released
9-10 a.m. – Animals ‘R’ Us Petting Zoo
10 a.m. – Antique Tractor Display
11 a.m. – Draft Horse Show
1 a.m. – CircusSaurus (other showings at 3, 5, 6 and 8 p.m.)
7 p.m. – 4-H Jr. Horse Show
7 p.m. – Bootheelers Tractor Pullers
8 p.m. – Southern Brothers Band
While there are not any carnival rides this year, there are plenty of activities. For additional information, go to www.sfcfairgrounds.com or the St. Francois County Fair page on Facebook.
“This is my sixth year showing at the St. Francois County Fair and this is going to be my third or fourth year in a row winning Grand Champion steer.” — Colton Grass
Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or firstname.lastname@example.org