Spray-painted hoofs and hair-sprayed tails are common
One of the main reasons that those in the cattle business bring their bulls, cows, heiffers and steers of the stock show is to compete and win top prizes. A Grand Champion Bull will command higher breeding fees. A champion beef steer or heiffer will command a higher per-pound sales price and will increase the prestiege of the breed line they come from.
Yesterday we walked through the barns on a morning when there was no judging. All judging was delayed until after the big parade downtown. That did not keep the people who would be showing cattle from their "beauty-shop" duties. Below you see one man in the cow wash. It is not uncommon to see four or five showers in use at a time just before several classes are to be judged in different arenas..
One of several Cow Washes in the cattle barns
Waiting their turn for judging
It is imperitive that people understand the complexities and demands of this business that is so important to our food supply--and our economy.
Being around the vocabulary and farm-culture-specific terms reminds me of a book I read on a recent trip, knowing that we'd have 3 hours in an airport. I wanted something entertaining but not intellectually demanding and someone had recommended reading something by Nora Roberts. Since I had spent my childhood on a cattle ranch I chose to read her book, "Montana Sky." Now I know that most people will look at a herd of cattle and say, "Look at all those cows." That is a common non-specific reference. But when an author is describing particular procedures to prevent young bulls from fathering calves, a little bit of basic research would have revealed that on a cattle ranch one does not refer --more than once in this case--to "castrating cows." Of course, I'm being petty but I doubt that I will read another book by her, because I don't trust that she will have properly researched her characters or location,