Grand champion steer chosen at U.P State Fair

Haley Gustafson | Daily Press Jace Moker stands with his grand champion steer “King” after being given the title at the beef cattle junior show Tuesday at the Upper Peninsula State Fair in Escanaba.

ESCANABA — The grand and reserve champion steers were selected Tuesday during the Beef Cattle Junior Show at the Upper Peninsula State Fair in Escanaba.

The grand champion is owned by Jace Moker of Wallace. Collin Carlson, of Norway, raised the reserve champion.

Lead judge Cory Edge of Camp Grove, Ill., said he was expecting quality steers to come through the show Tuesday.

Edge, who was the assistant judge at the 2016 cattle show, was assisted this year by his father, Doug, who has been a beef show judge for more than 17 years. Of the 67 steers that were judged Tuesday, Edge said he was looking for adequate muscle and a well-balanced steer.

“In any species of livestock, they’ve got to be sound structurally,” said Edge, adding if the quality was as good as last year, he was expecting a great show.

Edge said he was honored to come back to the Upper Peninsula, adding he enjoys the U.P. State Fair and the scenic area.

“It’s beautiful up here,” said Edge.

Moker, 16, is no stranger to the cattle show. At the 2016 show, his steer, “Zeke,” won reserve champion while his brother Jaxon’s steer took home the top prize of grand champ.

According to Moker, this year’s win feels even better than last because he came out on top.

This year, Moker’s steer “King” tipped the scales at 1,286 pounds. Moker explained that prepping for the cattle show was no easy feat, adding it took a lot of responsibility and watching King to make sure he was show ready.

“It’s really time consuming,” said Moker.

Taking home the reserve champion prize was Carlson’s steer, “Francis,” who weighed in at a hefty 1,165 pounds.

Seventeen-year-old Carlson, of Norway, has been showing steers since he was 10 years old, but began showing market sheep at the tender age of five. When asked how it felt to win reserve, Carlson said it was hard to explain as he and his family have worked tirelessly in an effort to make this year’s show a success.

In order to prepare, Carlson said he was up at 5 a.m. Tuesday washing, combing, and blow-drying Francis to make him show ready.

All spring, Carlson said he washed and blow-dried the steer daily, along with having him professionally clipped to look his best for the fair.

“We fitted up his legs and made him look pretty,” said Carlson.

Carlson is also no stranger to winning blue ribbons. He has won reserve and grand champion steer awards at the Dickinson County Fair.

Carlson said he would like to thank all of the people who helped him while at the fair, including Matt Ehnis and the Caneberg and Zawacki family.

Carlson also took home the title of grand champion in the lightweight steer division, while Myles Anderson from Delta County received reserve.

Other winners included in the medium weight class, or steers weighing 1,1993-1, 289 pounds, were Moker, who was given the title of grand champion. His brother Jaxon took home reserve.

For the heavy weight division for steers weighing 1,300-1,802 pounds, Kelsi Stapleton of Delta County received grand champion while Riley Vivio of Dickinson County took home reserve.