SYRACUSE, NY — Lizzy Luckman of Lucky Lane Farm in western New York knows what it takes to show beef cattle, but it doesn’t mean she is overconfident.
“I didn’t expect to win this show,” Luckman commented after the judges at the New York State Fair bestowed the Supreme Champion Beef Female title on her homebred heifer Lucky Lane Eloise on Aug. 26.
Twenty-one heifers, all of them county fair champions, were entered in the female champion division and 10 made it to the finals. Purina Animal Health, the sponsor to this year’s New York Supreme Champion Beef Female and cow/calf show, bestowed trophies and a check for $1,000 to all supreme champions. Reserve Champions earned a trophy and a check for $500.
Luckman, 17, had bred Eloise’s mother to one of Lucky Lane Farm’s bulls in 2012, thus ensuring “quality control,” she explained. Lucky Lane Farm in Barker, near Lake Ontario, has succeeded in raising quality black Angus for show and for meat production. Eloise won the Niagara County Fair title.
The judges seemed to appreciate Eloise’s size, if they didn’t also recognize her genetics. “She’s wide across the top and big-ribbed, but she’s free and easy in her movements,” said Luckman. “Her grandmother won the reserve title here the first time this show was held, about five or six years ago.”
Some of Luckman’s modesty is a result of her farm’s low-key operations. “My dad grew up on a big dairy farm, but they sold the farm 30 years ago,” she explained.
Although Dan Luckman does breed a small number of black Angus cattle, his primary job is with a construction company that builds barns.
“We like to compete in the fairs just like the others but we’re really just trying to raise a better genetic cattle,” he said. “We’re humbled by this (award). It’s fun to get out to the shows, but we enjoy the camaraderie and spending a week with good people.”
Jessy Milne-Smith, showing for Andy Weaver of Windy Point Farm in Potsdam, Franklin County, won the reserve champion, with a January 2013 Angus heifer, WPA Bemindful Maid 13002.
Bemindful was a little high-strung or “antsy,” during the show, but it didn’t affect the judges’ decision. “She likes being in one spot,” said Weaver, who raises 120 head of black Angus in northern New York. “She got third last year in the Keystone Show in Harrisburg.
The division champion sponsor was Tom Miller, Miller Farms, Lockport, NY. The division reserve Sponsor was Hawks Hill Farm, Scott & Kathy Kelley, Cobleskill, NY.
Amanda May Crandall was meticulously and yet nervous as she fitted her 18-month old shorthorn heifer for the Supreme Champion competition and parade.
Crandall, 15, of Eaton, NY, lives in Madison County, but her 18-month old heifer won the title at the Oneida County Fair to qualify for the state championships.
While Crandall was furiously brushing, combing and clipping her heifer, two of her sisters, Megan, 13, and Kaycee, 7, bustled around the barn attending to their own animals, and tried to assist Amanda when necessary.
Amanda seemed stressed by trying to meet the show’s high standards. “Rightfully so,” Megan said. “She puts a lot of work into this heifer, about 30 to 45 minutes a day washing and grooming her, but she’s the only (cow) we have to fit tonight.”
Megan revealed that her older sister, whom she described as “the boss,” had high hopes for her star Highland heifer going into the show.
Clyde Crandall sat quietly nearby, observing his daughters’ routines in the barn. “Amanda is pretty hard-wired,” he admitted. The elder Crandall is a faculty member at SUNY Morrisville. He teaches thoroughbred marketing, physiology and horse racing.
The Crandall family consists of five daughters, including Emily, 14, and Haley, 9, who weren’t participating in Beef Day.
“My wife, Kristi, and I are in the horse business,” he said. “We breed thoroughbreds, but we’re doing this (showing cattle and pigs) to raise kids and keep them out of trouble and teaching them work ethic.”
Although Amanda was clearly dejected when her heifer failed to make it to the Supreme Champion’s final round, she was soon back in the barn dreaming of another show day.