AUXVASSE - Teagan Engle's grandmother showed cows as a youth. So did her grandfather, her aunt, and now Teagan herself at the Callaway Youth Expo on Friday night.
Teagan, 9, of New Bloomfield was one of many young people showing throughout the weekend who benefit from several generations of livestock show experience. Many on Friday were participating in the bucket calf and market steer shows.
"My grandmother passed it on to me," Teagan said, noting that is at least part of the reason she has shown bucket calves for the past two years.
"I just love leading them - they're like my BFF - and my grandparents get to help," the Hardin Hustler 4-H Club member said.
That help included getting the calves used to halters and working with a lead. It also included learning what qualities to look for when trying to decide which animal to show.
"You look at how fat they are, and how strong they are," Teagan said. "If they have bumps and bruises, you don't want that one."
Periann Rimert, 16, of New Bloomfield has been showing since she was five years old and has also benefited from the example of her mother and grandmother - noting showing cattle was how they paid their way through college.
"It's just a family thing," said Periann, a member of South Callaway FFA. "Cattle are easier than hogs - you don't have to worry about them running away."
She said the best part of showing is getting to see the end result.
"You start out with small, wild, crazy animals and you get them to be large puppy dogs," Periann said.
Like Teagan, Periann said she has learned to look for specific qualities when deciding which animals to train for show.
"I look for a wide butt and wide-set shoulders," she said. "If they have a wider-set frame they'll fill that frame out so you have a better-looking calf."
Hatton 4-H Club member Makenlea Jones - another show veteran with a long family history - gave similar advice for choosing which livestock to feature.
"You want a good disposition, you want a straight back, you want a wide rump, a lot of muscle and big bones," Jones, 18, said.
Makenlea, who has been showing since she was three years old, said her favorite part of working with cattle is "their first time bathing."
"It's always a fun experience - some of them don't like the water," she said.
Clare Starkey, 14, with the Williamsburg Pioneers 4-H Club, has been showing for six years.
Clare said she got into it both because her family raises cattle, and because it was one "extra curricular" activity at school she was interested in.
"I like animals, and it's something to do. This is like my sport," she said.
In the months leading up to a show, Clare said she spends hours each day getting her animals ready.
"I tie it up so it gets used to the halter, you get them used to the noise and people touching them," she said, noting "trying to keep them calm if they're not into it," on show day is the most challenging part.
Carter Moore, 7, of Auxvasse showed a bucket calf in the open class and said his methods of getting a calf ready are similar.
"I like leading them around and showing them," Carter said. "We practice almost every night and lead them out of the pen."
Grant Norfleet, 11, of Mexico gave the same training regimen for his cattle.
"You feed "em, work with "em, break them to the lead when they're young and brush "em," Grant said when asked how he gets his animals ready for show.
"I think it's just fun to have an animal to work with," Grant said. "My dad did it when he was little, and my grandpa did it."