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FARMINGTON — Activity was high as exhibitors used blow dryers and applied adhesive sprays to style their heifers and steers' hair in preparation for the breeding beef show Thursday at the San Juan County Fair.

Bloomfield resident Khale Lucero used a blow dryer and a brush to fluff the white coat of his Charolais cross, Clyde, before participating in the Class 6 category for market steers.

"You start training them as soon as summer starts, to get their hair going forward so today it'll pop," Lucero said.

The extra attention applied to hair style enhances the animal's shape and appearance, he said.

Thursday was the fourth time the 15-year-old was showing a steer at the fair.

"It's something I love to do. I love the animals and I love the show," Lucero said.

Taking part in the fair is a family affair – in addition to Lucero, his brother, Riely Lucero, and their cousin, Christian Robinson, were participating – each one exhibits heifers and steers raised by the family.

Taylor Ashcroft, Lucero's cousin, helped groom the Charolasis cross and remembered her younger cousins helping when she competed several years ago.

"We always help each other," she said.

Bob Echols, beef superintendent for the fair, said exhibitors range in age from 9 to 18 and are either 4-H Club or National FFA Organization members.

There were eight entries for the breeding heifer class and 44 entries for the market steer show, Echols said.

He added the five heifers and 19 steers for the San Juan County breed show were raised by local operations.

During the breeding heifer class, Judge Ben Cooley examined each animal before announcing his decision for placement.

Cooley, who is serving a second year as judge, talked about balance and blend of each heifer's shape before congratulating the exhibitors.

Izabel Stock's heifer, named Marilyn Monroe, was selected grand champion for the breeding class and for the San Juan County breed show's heifer class.

Stock, a Farmington resident, was happy and excited about the win secured by the 18-month-old.

"She was a lot of work. She was mean and she tried to run you over when you're walking," the 14-year-old said about the first weeks with Marilyn Monroe.

"But she's mellowed out a lot," Stock said.

Stock, a member of the Rockies and Wranglers 4-H Club, also showed two steers – The Worm and Wildfire – at the fair.

"I bond with them. When they mellow out they'll start coming up to you and rubbing on you. It's nice," she said.

Aztec resident Brilie Dils, 17, waited for her Limousin steer to compete.

A steer she showed earlier received third place in the Class 2 category.

"I think the best part about the county fair is when all your hard work pays off in your class and then your placing at the sale," Dils said.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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