Stillwater News Press

Local News

August 31, 2012

Swink family steers different but the same — champions

STILLWATER, Okla. — Axel is 900 pounds of oddball.

Chevy is 815 pounds of bashful.

Despite their different personalities, the steers have one thing in common.

They are champions.

Axel was named grand champion prospect and Chevy took reserve grand champion prospect honors Friday during the beef cattle show at the Payne County Fair.

“We did really good,” said 13-year-old Jaxon Swink, whose family owns the two steers for the purpose of showing them in competitions.

Axel, who is 10-months old, is a Maine Anjou. Chevy, also 10-months old, is a Chianina.

Both steers are classified as prospects because they weigh 900 pounds or less. Market steers weigh 900 pounds or more.

“They have their own personality,” said Swink, a Perkins seventh-grader, who tends to the steers along with his sisters, Tatum, an 11-year-old, and Carly, a 7-year-old. “Axel is calm. He’s weird. He’s an oddball in a good kind of way. Chevy is a little more shy. He’s a little more nervous.”

After the judging was completed early Friday afternoon, the children sat in a stall next to Axel and Chevy and displayed many items awarded to them after their victory, including belt buckles, a wooden ring box, a backpack and championship ribbons.

Caroline Swink, the children’s mother, said each steer will consume 16-20 pounds of customized rations each day. She estimated that it takes about $2,000 a year to feed the steers.

“These are show steers,” she said. “We manage their nutrients very closely. We rinse them every day, comb their hair. We try to keep them show ready. Before the show season, we are constantly working with them to get them ready.”

Both steers will be shown in the Payne County Livestock Show in February and again in March at the Oklahoma Youth Expo in Oklahoma City.

Caroline Swink said caring for and preparing steers for competition is hard work, but she believes that hard work is a benefit to her children.

“They learn about responsibility, the diversity of people they meet at shows, the social aspects of being in a competition,” she said. “They also learn a lot about sportsmanship and how to help others.”

Caroline Swink said she has been competing in livestock shows her entire life. Jaxon was competing for the fifth year in a row, and this was Tatum’s fourth straight year to compete. All of the children are members of the Perkins 4-H Club.

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