Fairs & Festivals

Steering towards a win at the Manatee County Fair

PALMETTO -- Kimberly Duncan, 17, stood beside her steer Thursday evening, gently using a show stick on his side to calm him down. The Braden River High School junior was preparing Ted for the Steer Show at the 2015 Manatee County Fair.

Just 10 minutes before the competition began inside the Mosaic Arena at the Manatee County Fairgrounds, Kimberly said she felt comfortable because she's done this before and she and Ted are really close.

"He's stubborn at times -- but when it comes to showtime -- he knows what he's supposed to be doing," she said, adding she doesn't think he was nervous.

Duncan, who would later place first in Class 3, was one of more than 75 people competing in the Steer Show. Class by class, com

petitors stood in the ring beside their steers, circling them and keeping them still for judging.

Lakewood Ranch High School junior Tyler Parkinson admitted to feeling a few butterflies before heading to the ring.

"I don't get nervous till I get up to the ring and see everybody get it going," the 16-year-old Myakka City resident said. "I'm kind of excited and ready to go 'cause I feel like I've a good steer this year."

Parkinson named his steer Boudreaux after one of the characters from the reality show "Party Down South." The teen said he and Boudreaux have bonded and the 1,190-pound steer has also gone swimming in the pond a few times. Boudreaux would jump right in and swim, he said.

"I think there are some neat calves but I think I have competition this year with mine," Parkinson said.

Billie Mason, a sixth-grader at Buffalo Creek Middle School, snagged second place in Class 2.

"I feel that the animals do really well and all animals should get a placing," the 11-year-old said.

Billie's mother Muffet Mason, 46, said the family is excited about how Billie and the Parrish family's steer Bandit did.

"You have to get up early. You have to get up at 7, you have to clean pens by 7:30, you have to go to school, you have to bathe, you have to wash. ... You have to pick up poop," Mason said. "That's a lot of work."

She put her hand around her petite daughter and brought her in for a tight embrace.

"She's little," the proud mom said, "but she can do it."

Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. Follow her on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.