Young Casey showman has learned to be in command in the ring

June 11, 2004|BRENDA S. EDWARDS

LIBERTY - Travis Stringer shows seven or eight Jersey cows in fair dairy shows, but his favorite is an 8-year-old named Miss.

He said the older and bigger the cow is, the easier it is to handle. Miss was the oldest Jersey he showed in the Casey County Fair dairy show competition Thursday night. The youngest was Vision, a junior calf born in March.

He won a grand champion ribbon in the 4-H youth class.

"I really enjoy this," said Travis as he prepared the animals to show in one of the largest dairy shows the fair has had. More than 130 Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Holstein and Jersey dairy animals were transported to the Central Kentucky Ag/Expo Center for competition.

Travis, son of Barry and Susan Stringer of Mount Olive, is only 10 years old and has been showing five years. He started in the kids class for youngsters too little to enter the competition. He's outgrown that now, but his sister, 8-year-old Shelby Stringer, and cousins Trent Stringer, 5, and Andrew Stringer, 2, children of Bruce and Carolotta Stringer of Somerset, showed young Jersey cows in the Kiddie Show.


Travis has learned that he has to be in command when he's in the ring, but sometimes the cows want to take the lead.

"One cow went all crazy with me," he said. "Dad said she buffaloed me. She jumped up and down while I was leading her."

The older cow, Miss, is very cooperative, said Travis. "When they are older, they have more experience in showing. She cooperates. She doesn't jump."

However, she does move her head when flies swarm around her. She likes to take a bath, too.

To prepare the animals for competition, Travis gets help from his dad. They wash and brush the animals and give them a light meal.

"The cows like water and food, but we only feed them a little bit of water and grain before the show," said Travis. "It makes them lazier and want to walk slow if they eat too much."

The wider the legs are apart and the higher the head, the better she looks

When Travis gets in the show ring, the cow holds her head up while the judge is watching. He said the wider the cows' legs are apart and the higher the head is, the better she looks during judging.

"The time they stay in the ring depends on the judges," he said. "When the judges are looking over the cow, I watch for their signs. They tell you where they want the cow to stand or how to move her around."

Travis said it is not hard to show cattle. "You have to keep a certain distance from other cows. If they jump, you want to be far enough away so you won't get hit."

Travis showed cows that his cousin, Josh Mullins, had shown before he died recently. He said Mullins taught him how to care and show animals. "I watched him and learned to show."

Travis looks at his Jerseys like old friends.

"I had a cow that let me lay on top of her," he said. "I could go sleep on her and she wouldn't move. After the cows get to know you, they trust you more."

Travis spends a lot of time every day with his cows. Actually, he does most everything except milk and plans to show his Jerseys a long time.

"I plan to show them till I die," he said. "It's fun."

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