Brock Montgomery wins Grand Champion Market Steer award at the 2019 Pratt County Fair.

When Brock Montgomery of the Glendale Reapers 4-H Club went into the livestock show arena for the market beef competition at the Pratt County Fair on July 26, he brought 10 years of experience with him. That experience paid off with the Grand Champion market beef for 2019.
Montgomery said he was extremely happy when Judge Ed Hewlett walked to him and shook his hand in victory.
“I was happy and excited,” Montgomery said. “It’s all about the work beforehand. Its when all the hard work pays off.”
Montgomery had entries in Market Beef Class 3 crossbred-first place, Class 5 Red Angus-second place and Class 6 All Other Breeds-first place. Besides his market beef entries, Montgomery also took first between two entries in breeding beef crossbreed and was the only entry in breeding beef red angus so he was very successful at the fair this year.
At previous county fairs, Montgomery has taken Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champions plus winning showmanship so he is familiar with what it takes to produce a winner at the county fair.
Montgomery starts working with his animal at an early age. The younger he breaks the animal, the better they are in the show arena, Montgomery said.
He starts them off with a drag halter that gets the animal used to having the halter on their face. He puts them in chutes and ties them to fences so they get used to what they will have to do at competitions.
Beef entries always outweigh the presenters. Weights ranged from 1,000 pounds to 1,560. With that much weight, its necessary for the presenters to show the animal they are not afraid. Montgomery wears leather gloves when training so he can hold onto the lead rope to teach the animal that he won’t let go. If he didn’t, the animal could think they can just get away any time they like, Montgomery said.
He takes his animals to smaller events to get them used to being in the arena with the noise and the procedures.
When its time for presentation, Montgomery washes the animal the day before the competition. He gets up at 5 a.m. and feeds them early. He spot washes the animal, if necessary, then uses a blower to get the dust off their hide. Sometimes he will use a hair product of a combination of white vinegar and shampoo to make the animals hair look its best.
When hes in the ring, he sets up his animals feet go give the judge the best look at the animal. He uses his arena stick to scratch the steers belly as a reward when it is standing correctly.
“It’s a sense of reward. It makes them feel good,” Montgomery said.
Taking care of animals and getting them ready for competition takes time. For 10 years, Montgomery has been bringing beef to the county fair. He has developed time management skills and has gained a sense of responsibility.
“You have to make time to feed them and work with them. You have to get out of your comfort zone,” Montgomery said.
From his involvement in 4-H Montgomery has had leadership and scholarship opportunities. He has met many people and developed life long connections.
Time is a big factor in showing livestock of any kind. Montgomery goes to many competitions and has had to give up playing basketball, missed some school, missed vacations and didn’t go swimming at the pool. His philosophy is “Livestock First, Relax Second.”
His experience has improved his leadership skills. He wants to pass his knowledge to others presenters and help them become successful too. His family is currently helping the Kalous family, that has recently moved to Pratt, learn training and showmanship methods.
The animals attitude in the show arena reveals how much the presenter has worked with the animal.
Weather also plays a part in animal behavior. The weather at the Pratt County Fair was cooler than usual and some animals were friskier than normal that caused handlers, including Montgomery, to work harder than usual to keep the animals under control.  
Montgomery had some additional excitement when his best friend Wyatt Slade of Southwest 4-H Club was Reserve Grand Champion. They repeated the placings in Senior Showmanship with Montgomery as Grand Champion and Slade as Reserve Grand Champion.
Judge Ed Hewlett said the quality of the top end livestock he saw at the Pratt County Fair was what he would expect to see at the State Fair.
“It was a pleasure to sort good quality stock,” Hewlett said.
The youth he worked with in Pratt, from top to bottom and bar none, were good quality. They were polite and showed kindness to the other exhibitors, Hewlett said.
Hewlett’s goal at every fair is to evaluate the livestock according to industry standards. The top two in the beef competition were good examples of what can be produced in the county.
Hewlett is convinced that if 20 different judges would have arrived at the same result for Grand Champion. It was commendable Montgomery was able to put that quality of steer given the time frame.
“That made my job easy,” Hewlett said.
Hewlett said 4-H was the only program he knew of that develops this kind of responsibility and work ethic and teaches skills that can help save money for college.