It seems only fitting that in her first year of showing cattle and in her first appearance at the Missouri State Fair, Rylee Smith would show her Red Angus because 2016 marked the breed’s inaugural appearance at the Missouri State Fair as well.
“Last summer I showed hogs,” Smith said after placing first in her class in the Intermediate Junior Yearling Heifer Open Division on Wednesday morning in the Coliseum. “I really didn’t like showing them because they aren’t on a halter and they just seemed a little chaotic.
“I really love our Red Angus because they are so much more hands-on and sweet,” she added. “They are a lot of work but I love working with them and they’re just a really good breed.”
Red Angus cattle are a growing breed in the United States, which is one of the reasons they were selected to make their first appearance in the Fair, according to David Dick, livestock and beef superintendent for the Missouri State Fair.
“We’ve had an excellent set of Red Angus here at the Fair from what I have seen both in the tie outs and the barns and in the ring,” Dick said. “We have quite a few in the state and we have always wanted to have them here at the Fair.”
The breed is known for displaying a mild temperament and possessing a maternal ability and smaller size compared to others.
“They are a very efficient animal,” Rick Smith, Rylee’s father, said. “They have a good ability to convert their feed to milk because they are not worried about bulking up.”
The family started raising Red Angus this year and is pleased with the choice.
“Both Anna and Aubrey are really sweet,” Rylee Smith said. “Anna is really playful and she likes to eat everything including her show schedules and the ribbons she wins.
“I work with them a lot, bathing and grooming and feeding them and just spending time getting them used to the halters and me,” she added. “You have to put in the work though and that’s something I don’t mind at all.”
Smith, 16, is a junior at Ozark High School and is the treasurer of her FFA Chapter.
She referenced the FFA Creed’s second paragraph as being a motivating factor for her.
“I believe that to live and work on a good farm, or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and comforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement I cannot deny,” she said without a moment’s hesitation. “I really think it applies to my life and showing.
“I’ve really learned a lot about life from living on our farm; Anna and Aubrey are my SAE projects for FFA,” she added. “I’ve also been able to meet a lot of new people and new friends through all of this.”
For her mother, Elizabeth Smith, and her father, watching their daughter was a sense of great pride.
“Rylee works really hard at home,” her father said. “It’s good to see her have success for all the work she does.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.