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Sam Jernigan, a parent with Midway FFA, inspects the hair of a Simmental’s belly while clipping it at the Muskogee Regional Livestock Show.

After raising her heifer since it was a calf, Wagoner seventh-grader Natalie Masten says she learned that raising cattle is not like raising horses.

Masten showed her first heifer, a crossbreed, at the Muskogee Regional Livestock Show Thursday. Nearly 300 heifers and about 90 steers were led through the Muskogee Fairgrounds Arena.

Masten said she’s had her heifer, named Bella, for nearly 11 months, since it was a newborn.

“The cow was a twin our neighbor had and she gave her to us,” said Masten’s mother, Brandi Masten. “She was just a few hours old, two days old.”

At the time, the calf weighed about 40 pounds, “if that much,” the mother said.

“I had to feed her, like, three gallons of food a day,” Natalie Masten said. “My grandpa, he’s used to doing this stuff and he told me how to do it.”

The Mastens raise horses on their property near Wagoner. Natalie Masten said raising a cow for show is harder than showing horses. There’s so much to unlearn.

“I’m used to horses and combing their hair back,” she said. “With cows, you comb it forward.”

When asked why, Masten asked her mother “why?”

Getting her answer, the girl replied “it makes the heifer look bigger and heavier when she’s fluffy.”

Masten said there’s much more involved with showing cattle than showing horses.

“I had to learn a lot about setting up the feet,” she said.

When showing their animals in the show arena, contestants try to set their animals’ feet in a way that best shows their muscle.

Masten said her heifer now weighs about 647 pounds. She said she doesn’t expect Bella to make it to the premium auction Saturday. But, this year at least, Masten is not out for victory.

“I’m just trying to learn everything and get it all done,” she said as she wiped some discharge from Bella’s eyes.

With temperatures hovering a little above freezing Thursday afternoon, heifer and steer exhibitors braved much colder weather than those who showed sheep and goats earlier in the week.

Temperatures are to be even colder today as students show more than 900 pigs.



Show Schedule

Friday

• 6 a.m.-1 p.m. — Dress Western Breakfast, Lions Club pancake breakfast, Muskogee Expo Grounds.

• 8 a.m. — Judge market hogs.

Saturday

• 5 p.m. — Chuck wagon feed, arena, $5.

• 5 p.m. — Buyers dinner, 4-H Building.

• 6:30 p.m. — Premium auction.

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