DES MOINES — Sometimes all the hard work pays off.
For Perry’s Kade Killmer, it paid off to the tune of over $16,000 worth of college scholarship funds.
Killmer recently showed Lori, his market heifer, at the Iowa State Fair. So impressed were the judges, that Lori was rewarded as First Place in Class 9. The market heifer competition featured nine classes of 10 animals apiece, so Killmer had already done well, save that he and Lori were not done.
With the nine Number 1 heifers rejudged, Killmer and Lori stood in second place, or as Reserve Champion.
“I knew she was pretty good and might do well, but I had no idea she would be overall Reserve Champion,” Killmer, 16, said. “I had hopes of doing well, but this was beyond anything I could imagine. It was great.”
The top animals are auctioned off after judging, with Lori bringing a winning bid of $22,000 from Big Box Energy.
Killmer, the son of Kevin and Holly of rural Perry, had raised $11,000 dollars from local businesses and individuals as sponsor funds. If a showman’s animal is auctioned, the bidding begins at the donation level. When bidding ends, 25 percent of the price is place in a scholarship pool administered by the non-profit Iowa Foundation of Agricultural Advancers.
College-bound students who have shown at the fair and who will major in an agriculture-related field can then apply for scholarships from the IFAA fund.
However, the bulk of the auction price (75 percent) is awarded to the showman of the animal, with Killmer thus securing a hefty $16,500 toward his future education.
“It’s amazing,” the Perry sophomore admitted. “I couldn’t believe she would bring such a price. It was hard for me to stop smiling.”
Success in the show ring runs in the family. Kade showed the third overall market heifer at the 2011 Iowa State Fair, with younger sister Macy, 13, placing third overall in the same category last year. Eleven-year old Kain has displayed his ability as well, having shown the fourth-best overall steer at the Dallas County Fair this summer.
The Killmers have 140 head of cattle on their local farm, and Kade credited his father for “having a really good eye” in picking out calves to be raised and shown while attending area breeder sales.
Kade began working with Lori last fall, spending two hours every other night with the animal, which must become used to the showman, his or her smell, sounds, commands and presence.
A special diet of feed is given to show animals, designed to create an animal as nearly perfect to breed standards as possible.
Once the state fair was 100 days away, intense work with the heifer began.
“I worked with her for two hours every morning and then another two hours every night, every single day,” Kade said. “You want her to do exactly what you ask at exactly the right way and to do it the same time, every time. The only way that is going to happen is to spend hours and hours with them, and even then you still have to have the right heifer, because they have different personalities. Lori was a winner.”
And now Kade is as well.