This is one in an occasional series of stories that will follow the Rooks children as they prepare their entries for the 1990 Citrus County Fair. With the Citrus County Fair less than a month away, Micah and Shonna Rooks' steers are finally standing proud.
The two Hereford-cross steers, the children's 4-H projects, finally have learned to lead and stand straight.
"We have really been working with the steers during the past month, because they have to do well at the fair," said Shonna, 16. "If your steer doesn't lead well or stand right, it can really be embarrassing."
Micah, 12, said his steer now is following instructions better than before.
"A few months ago, I really couldn't get him to do what he was supposed to do, but now he is leading just fine," he said.
The children said they've had no problems getting the animals to eat. Micah's steer has gained 438 pounds and Shonna's has gained 425 pounds, since the projects started. Shonna's steer, Rock Steady, weighed 655 pounds in September and now it weighs 1,080.
"I am very pleased with his weight gain, considering he was a small steer to begin with," she said. Shonna said
she expects her steer to gain a few more pounds before the fair.
Micah's steer, Be-Bop, weighed 815 pounds in September and it recently tipped the scales at 1,253 pounds.
"I'm really happy with my steer because he is really big," Micah said. "But I am hoping he will weigh in at about 1,280 pounds at the fair."
Although Shonna is a veteran of steer projects, the competitions can still make her tense.
"I'm not real nervous about it yet, but when show night comes I get so nervous I feel sick," she said.
The fair will be held March 19-24. According to Jean Grant, fair manager, the steer show will be at 7 p.m. March 21 and the sale will be at 7 p.m. March 22. She said there are 30 steer entries this year.
Grant said that although the Citrus County Auditorium has been converted into a jail this year, plans call for the fair to be held on the fairgrounds again.
She said although the jail is next to the fair, it shouldn't be a problem. No prisoners will be seen, and security will be increased.
Although the auditorium can not be used for entertainment this year, Grant said two stages will be set up under tents on the fairgrounds.
"The fair board has really gone all out in bringing in entertainment this year, and we hope that people will still show the interest they have always shown, and not let something that has happened to the community, the jailatorium, be a deterrent," Grant said.
She said local singers Brittany Lynn Hale, Ryan Parrish and Cathy Bonner are scheduled to perform. Other entertainers include comedian Andy Andrews; The Fox Brothers, a country/western and gospel band; and The Walters Family, a Canadian group with a Big Band sound.
Admission is $3 for adults, $1 for children six through 12, and free for those six and under. Membership passes are available for those 12 and older for $10, which allows unlimited admission.