Morgan Moreland raised the 2016 Grand Champion Steer, which sold for over $10,000 at The Great Frederick Fair on Thursday evening.
Moreland, 18, is a member of Tom’s Creek 4-H Club and showed for the last time this week. She is headed to Shepherd University in West Virginia to begin a degree in nursing.
This was the first time Moreland won a grand champion title, but she told her parents it would happen before she finished 4-H, she said.
The opportunity came along last year, when her steer was donated back to her after it sold at the fair. She was able to resell the steer and spend the extra profit to buy her choice steer.
“Coming into the fair, a lot of people came up to me and made comments like, ‘We already know who made champion,’” Moreland said. Still, she tried not to get ahead of herself.
Pito, the steer, took the title and was sold for $8 per pound to one of her father’s friends — Joe Roche, vice president of operations for Roche Bros. Inc. Roche spent $10,064 for the 1,258-pound steer.
Roche said he comes from a farming family in Wisconsin and has supported 4-H the past six years.
Moreland competed in 4-H for nine years and got her start showing pigs, but they proved not to be a challenge. She switched to showing goats, which she “very quickly did not like,” she said. By her third year, she was raising steer.
Steer were without a doubt the hardest and most stubborn projects she did in 4-H, Moreland said. She recalled waking up early to feed her steer and, to train them, give up some of her summer break, which her friends did not do. But it was worth it, Moreland said.
“At the end of the year, they give you a sense of achievement,” she said.
Standing outside the market ring Thursday night, she got teary-eyed as she realized it was the last time she would walk into the ring as a 4-H member. A part of her began to consider using her final year of eligibility to compete the next year, but she knew it wouldn’t be fair to ask her family to raise and train the steer while she was at school, she said.
Moreland listened as the price climbed ever higher. Then, Pito was sold.
Moreland plans to use a portion of the $10,000 to fix her truck that is currently in the shop. She had not yet decided how to use the rest.
She worked a little harder with Pito, because it was her final year competing.
“I put a bigger sense of pride into him, because this is my final year, and I wanted to go out with a bang,” Moreland said.
She also grew close to him, like she does with each steer during fair week, as she spent 24 hours a day with him, she said.
“You do build a bond with him, and then you have to sell,” Moreland said.
The hardest part was the good-bye.
Pito was taken shortly after Moreland fed him Friday morning. She originally thought Pito would come home to her farm until Tuesday. Losing that control is always hard, she said.