By Chase Rheam
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Bo Blakey watched from the side as his two youngest girls showed their cattle to the judge at the Payne County Expo Center on Friday.
Giving tips and encouraging his daughters, 11-year-old Adyson and 9-year-old Avery, he said it was an intriguing moment as it was the younger daughter’s first time to show.
Both girls made it to the final four. Neither were chosen for the top prize, but no one would know by looking at Blakey. He was proud of his daughters.
Adyson Blakey has been showing for four years.
“My mom had started showing when she was a little girl and I thought it would be cool to get into something when we moved here,” she said.
The family, formerly of Edmond, now reside in Stillwater.
“I didn’t have very many friends, so I wanted to get started in a club,” she said. “I joined 4-H and they were talking about livestock and showing cattle. I was like, ‘What is all this?’ It seemed really fun.”
One day, she arrived home to find her dad and a cow waiting for her. He told both girls they would get to start showing.
“And ever since then, I’ve fallen in love with it,” Adyson Blakey said.
The 11-year-old said it was difficult at the beginning, but she is happy to have relationships with peers. It helps when an item needs to be borrowed or for moral support.
Little sister Avery shared her thoughts on her first showing.
“I was nervous because I didn’t know what I was doing,” she said.
However, she was all smiles following the competition as mother, Holly, congratulated her on the close finish.
“I’ve been trying to learn how to keep control of my cow and how to set her up and get her in the right place,” she said.
Both girls said they practice with their heifers for an hour every day.
Showing has certainly caught on as a love for the entire family as Adyson and Avery Blakey are joined by their oldest sister Adrienne Blakey, 15, who has shown for the past three years.
“Sometimes, it’s not very fun, but when you get out of the ring, it’s a sense of accomplishment, like ‘Wow, I did this,’” she said.
She said she’s proud to look at her heifers and know that she raised them and cared for them.
“Before the show, we have to wash them lots and we have to dry them, which takes a very long time because they have lots of hair,” she said. “When you’re in the show ring, it’s not just walking around, because last year, I had a little bit of a cantankerous heifer and she didn’t want to stay still or walk for me, so this year I was blessed to have a heifer that will walk in and will set up for me.”
Getting a heifer to set up can be tricky.
At home during practice, they are more calm and likely to cooperate. In the arena, with loud noises, crowds and other distractions, things become difficult. All the girls attend “jackpot” shows, which are smaller and provide a venue to practice and condition the heifer to the environment and routine.
Adrienne Blakey won intermediate showmanship Friday. Adyson Blakey has taken home the state championship in her division at the Oklahoma Youth Expo.