It's No Bull, Duchess Wins Grand Champion - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/25/07

It's No Bull, Duchess Wins Grand Champion

We get caught up in the rides and the fried food on a stick that we sometimes forget how the fair really gained its popularity. The livestock competition brings breeders and animal raisers from across the region to Lubbock.

"Duchess just won grand champion at the fair," proud owner Don Abernathy says.

That's right the Angus heifer, weighing in at more than 1,400 pounds, is the reigning queen. Don is a 4th generation Angus breeder from Altus, Oklahoma and he says Duchess is no stranger to the spotlight.

"She won Amarillo two weeks ago, and she's won five other divisions in other states," Don says.

So when it comes to the competition, what are the judges looking for?

Don says, "Well, first of all, you have to pick the genetics that you want to propagate, and this heifer has high carcass value. That means her rib-eye is huge, her length of body is huge, her bones are huge."

Being the grand champion looks like a pretty easy gig, but for the cattle the day actually starts at 5 a.m. Then it's hours of preparation including a haircut, style, blow out and hair spray and when you have as much hair as the cattle, that's takes a lot of time.

"They get a little spoiled. Once they become a cow they're like, 'I'm dirty. Will you please wash me?' and you're like, 'No. You're in the real world now."

Don says Duchess will continue to compete until the spring. Then she'll pass on her award-winning genes, "Her purpose in life is to actually become a cow and raise more calves just like herself."

And while that will be the end of her glory days, just like a true beauty queen, she'll always have her title.

"Years down the road when you look back on it, it's entertaining to look at a 15-year-old cow and say, 'She won grand champion at so and so,' and people look at you and go, 'What?' But she did," Don says proudly.

If you're worried about Duchess becoming a steak one day, don't, we're told she'll spend her days grazing the prairies in Oklahoma.

Click here for a complete list of events at the Panhandle South Plains Fair.

9/24/07
History of the Panhandle South Plains Fair
The Panhandle South Plains Fair is known as "The Granddaddy of West Texas Fairs" and ranks second only to Dallas' State Fair of Texas in attendance and continuous history. NewsChannel 11's Christy Moreland tells us how the fair got it's start.

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