7/15/2014 7:00 AM
By Shannon Sollinger Virginia Correspondent
FREDERICK, Md. — CWR Braxton, an imposing red-and-white Texas Longhorn steer, started his day at the June 29 Northeast Texas Longhorn Association show carrying 9-year-old Gressa New and the American flag around the Frederick Fairgrounds arena for opening ceremonies and the national anthem.
He ended the day as all-age champion steer, ably handled to the big win by Josh Shifflett for his family’s ZF Longhorns of Frederick. And Gressa, just a few moments later, won her junior showmanship class.
The Shiffletts bought Braxton from the Moxley family’s Cross Wrench Ranch in New Market, Md., as a just-weaned calf. The plan always was to develop Braxton as a riding steer, Shiflett said, and “he cooperates well.”
He walked into the ring “very nice, very well behaved,” said judge Toni Knopsnider of Rocking K Longhorns in Acme, Pa. “Color is important in steers. When you have a flashy looking steer next to a plain red steer, and they’re very similar in temperament, conformation and horn length, the flashy one will catch your eye.”
Knopsnider found her reserve champion senior steer in Nel-Tam Happy Bear, presented by Travis Martin. But for reserve champion all-age steer, her nod went to the junior class winner, Tomahawk, piloted by diminutive Cassidy <\h>Huntzberry.
“I just love this little steer,” Knopsnider said. “I can’t wait until his color comes in.”
Knopsnider’s top junior heifer was CWR Clearly Classy, presented by Justin Moxley in Class 8 — born Jan. 1-Feb. 28, 2013 — and her reserve from the same class was Nel-Tam Ice Princess, presented by Adriana Norris, granddaughter of Nel-Tam owners Nelson and Tammy Hearn of Richland, Pa. Clearly Classy later took home the rosette for reserve champion all-age female.
In Class 7 — born March 1-April 30, 2013 — Adriana Norris took her grandparents’ homebred Nel-Tam Jolly Molly to the blue. The red-and-white heifer, just three months past her first birthday, is sired G&G Longhorns’ syndicated Sittin Bull, and records a horn measurement of 33 inches.
Horn length, or “tip to tip,” is key in evaluating longhorns. John and Suzanne Moxley’s steer, Lasso, grand champion steer at the 2009 national show, measured 93 inches tip to tip for the win. And he’s still growing.
Champion heifer all-age was another Nel-Tam youngster, Nel-Tam Blazin’ Hot, shown by Lane Huntzberry in senior heifers — born Jan.1-April 30, 2012. The red brindle heifer, 2 1/2 years old, is sired by LLL Slammin’ Max and the mother is Blazin’ Dots.
Only one bull showed in each of the bull classes: Latimore Quad Trouble, shown by Remington King, won the junior bulls award; ZF Sunny Joe, with Josh Shifflett piloting, took the younger intermediate bull class; and Latimore Bullet, Remington King on halter, was named champion intermediate bull and champion all-age bull.
The Northeast Texas Longhorn Association has members from Virginia and on northward to Canada and Pennsylvania, said show chair June Cohron. About 50 members are in the senior ranks, 20 in the juniors, and a majority of them were on hand for the annual two-day show in Frederick.
Each day started with showmanship, then a youth conformation show, then an open conformation show. Gary Don Taylor of Okarche, Okla., judged the Saturday open show, and Mike Tomey of Bedford, Ind., presided over Sunday’s open conformation competition. Larry Cohron of Stuarts Draft, Va., judged Saturday’s youth classes.
In the youth showmanship classes, starting with peewee — younger than 7 — the judge looks for “a team,” Knopsnider said, after choosing the Sunday show’s top youth performers.
“I consider them a team, the exhibitor and the animal that work well together, they have eye contact with me, they move smoothly, seem effortless. I look for the kids you can tell they’ve put lot of time and effort into their animal and it shows,” Knopsnider said.
Of course, by the second day, not all the animals are cooperating as well as we might like, she added. They are getting tired.
Gressa New, 9, took the blue in the junior showmanship — ages 7-9. K.C. Davis was the intermediate winner — ages 10-12 — and Travis Martin took the blue in the teen class — ages 13-15 — as the sole competitor.
Lane Huntzberry won the senior class — ages 16-18 — with an animal Knopsnider called, “very well broke.”