ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
Ty Goossen will have had a depth of cattle show experience before coming to the Marion County 4-H fair competition in August.
But that won’t matter to the 13-year-old Hillsboro Middle School eighth-grader because he tries to do his best at every show to which he brings his heifer calves.
“It’s not just about winning,” Goossen said.
Goossen has a reputation in area 4-H circles for being a hard worker. By his own account, he spends four to five hours daily working with his two heifers. It’s a family tradition he hopes will help bring to pass his desire to continue the Goossen heritage as a farmer with cattle.
His parents, Tim and Cherie, live on the family farm northwest of Hillsboro on Falcon Road and have helped him along the way with work and as mentors-just as 4-H parents are intended to do.
Ty began showing cattle when he was “6 or 7,” and now does most of the work himself.
Tim and his two sisters, Stephanie and Amy, also showed in 4-H. Tim was a member of the Willing Workers Club at Lehigh, and Stephanie and Amy were members of the Goessel Goal-Getters. Cherie became acquainted with the work as a mother because she didn’t belong to 4-H.
Ty is a member of the South Cottonwood 4-H Club in Hillsboro. This year he is showing two heifers, Pebbles and Rachael, that probably will help form the foundation for his own cow herd.
Ty said Pebbles is a Maine Anjou-Angus cross born April 10, 2002, out of a cow that was a heifer he showed for two years. The cow is part of his current herd of four animals that also included Simmental and Shorthorn breeding.
Ty’s cows are maintained through the family farm his parents operate along with Tim’s parents, Arlo and Billie Goossen.
Ty said Rachael is a registered Angus born Feb. 24, 2002 He bought it last fall at the Chris and Sharee Sankey production sale at Council Grove.
Last week he had just returned with Rachael from the North-Central Regional Angus Show at Lincoln, Neb., with a belt buckle as a trophy for winning champion junior showmanship from among 48 competitors from 11 states.
This past weekend, he was to compete at the National Junior Angus Association Show in Louisville, Ky. He will be one of of about 58 Kansas youth expected to contribute about 100 cattle to the show, thanks to Angus fieldmen who make an effort to work with youth.
After the Marion County Fair, Aug. 6-9, he plans to move on to the state fair at Hutchinson and then to the Kansas Junior Livestock Show at the Kansas Coliseum near Wichita.
This summer Ty went to the Beauchamp Show Cattle Camp at Warner, Okla., where 140 participants were separated into six groups according to age and knowledge in order to sharpen their skills at showmanship and working with a calf.
The 20-plus kids in each group paired off to concentrate on fitting and grooming, setting up calves the best they could as quickly as they could in the ring, making sure the calves presented well, and keeping the all-important eye contact with the judge that’s part of showmanship.
On a written test, Ty placed highest at the camp with a 100 percent score.
Ty said one of the greater rewards of his involvement in showing cattle is the closeness gained with an animal.
“Rachael has been all over the state with me,” he said. “I know her, and she knows me.”
The calves are “gentle by nature,” but Ty’s also experienced many hours of dragging and pushing the calves to lead, and washing and grooming them.
The calves are fed crimped corn, whole oats, an all-natural supplemental product that includes a mineral mix.
They also may receive “all the hay they want.”
The Goossens also have discovered the benefit of feeding high-fiber beet pulp, purchased in 40-pound bags from Countryside Feeds as a “sweet treat” hay substitute for calves. When mixed with water, the beet pulp can add food and water when the cattle otherwise go off feed and don’t want to drink in the strange environment of a fair.