Pick a calf that has the look of a fat steer,now. Dont think that if he is high flanked as a calf that you can change that with feed. You wont. Make sure he covers his tracks now also. Short strided will never get better either. If he looks now like you want at 1250 then that is a good one. Good hair is a almost a must too but some only think a bonus. Depending on your age attitude should be a consideration too.
at your fair, find a family that has fat, gentle cattle and fits them together as a family. they ARE the folks to ask for help! they may not have the nicest truck and biggest trailer and they may not win the show but they will probably be your best mentor.
i agree with all the above post,i am not a steer raiser,in fact about the only thing i am good at is nachos and watching nascar.fwiw, find a calf that is stout and structurally sound,that dont get better when they weigh 1200#.i use to think good feet,but with steers as long as they dont limp,imo i dont think some judges care and this hair thing, i guess.i have never heard a judge name a grand champ because of better hair,might be thinking it,hope i never hear it.rusty
Never be afraid to ask questions. You can never ask too many. Learn what cattle are suppose to look like (which can be subjective) and learn to evaluate them for correct structure. Compare the good ones from the not so good.
To me, It's about training your eyes to look. I mean really, really look. Cattle have a unique look like people have, so it's kinda like learning to tell the difference, like we are able to tell the difference in the ways people look.
When I am looking at the structure of the prospects, I always look at the feet. Where the hoof meets the 'hair line', that line should have a slight slope towards the back. I have noticed that if that hairline is level, the calf usually ends up being too straight or a cripple.
There is an interesting article on this very subject in the new SHOW BOX this month. Pick them like the chubby folks. If they are tall long faced and long necked they probably aren't going to gain alot and be real fat. If they are short, fat as a calf they usually don't grow out of that. Ask to see the parents if possible from the breeder. Also, take someone with you that you trust and knows cattle. Do not try it alone at first. The article in the show box really made sense. Read it.
I agree with Ohio Breeder. Do not try this alone. I haven't read the article your referring to yet, but the heads of cattle
can give you a good idea what their body shape is. I have always looked at calves heads when it comes to selection.
Showing steers that are competitive has become more difficult then when I was showing thirty plus years ago. It has become an art and a science. Parents and adult usually have a lot of involvement with these project so you're not only competing with your peer group, but you are also also competing with some very knowledgeable adults.
With that said, it is a great sport and probably my favorite spectator event.
I agree that a mentor or someone that can help you is the biggest bonus you can find. Hopefully, there are people in your area that are willing to do that.
When you look for a steer, don't buy one that you think will change because of feed or hair. It he's got structural problems now, it's only going to get worse. Also a high flanked steer is not going to get better w/ time. Look for a broad top, moderate shoulders & good butt.Make sure all the toes point in the same direction & watch him walk. Imagine him as a fat steer & how he will finish out. Depending on your area, hair may be important. See if you can see finished steers or older steers from where you are buying your at to get an idea how they finish out.
Alos find out how much help they will provide & make sure you are all on the same page. Don't buy a steer expecting them to check up on you & help fit shen they don't consider that part of the package.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or whoever is judging. Our small county show uses the same judge for two years, this being the case everyone picks a calf that they hope meets that judges criteria. I guess I am stubborn, we pick our steers on their top, structural soundness, and the shows we will hit. Our current Ag. Science teacher loves hair, my mentor for 25 years says hair is to hide flaws. I laugh with both of them and tell them to find us something within our budget. Bottom line the breeders and steer jocks know what they are looking at, and want top dollar for the "Good ones". Do you want to win or have a good experience? If you want to win, get ready to fork over the cash. If you want a good experience buy as good as steer as your budget will allow, with lots of hair to cover the flaws. Good luck, and be proud of the time, effort and energy you spend.
Great answer, before you go to select a steer start out with what you expectations are for this steer, what does competitive mean to you, those 2 questions determine what type of steer you want to select? Most people get into trouble when they expect to win the State Fair with a 900 dollar steer, and I know it has happened, but I can tell you it was sheer luck, 1 in a million type of thing.