Old Rookie

Jackson Russell, a 2020 graduate of Labette County High School from Altamont, showed a steer for the first, and last, time at the Labette County Fair on Wednesday. His steer was then sold at the premium auction on Friday night.

OSWEGO — Jackson Russell, who recently graduated from Labette County High School as part of the Class of 2020, checked one more box off his bucket list before he heads off to college at this week’s Labette County Fair.

Russell, who is 18, got to show a steer at Wednesday night’s show for the first and last time ever.

With Russell reaching the age limit, he wanted an opportunity show a steer at the fair.

While he was helping with cattle at LCHS, he asked the instructor if he could use one of the steers for the fair back in January.

“I was helping take care of the herd at the school,” Russell said. “We had a few heads of cattle. I just asked if I could show one of the steer, and they said it was OK if I took care of it. So I started brushing it and taking care of it.” 

Over the next seven months, Russell prepped his animal for the fair.

“It was a learning process,” Russell said. “I’d get up every morning, feed it, wash it every day. I had to teach a 1,300-pound animal how to walk on a rope.” 

As Wednesday night’s show came at the Labette County Fair, Russell was aiming for a strong outing.

“I was just hoping he didn’t drag me across the arena,” Russell said. “I think I did really good for my first year. I feel like I did as well as I could. I got beat out in my division by the reserve champion and grand champion of the whole show. So I’m happy with that.” 

Russell also earned the honor of having his steer sold in Friday night’s premium livestock auction.

“That’s the end of our journey,” Russell said. 

Next for Russell is a college education. He’ll head to Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, where he intends to study natural resource management and wildlife ecology.

“I’ve always loved the outdoors, hunting and fishing and everything,” Russell said. “I want to preserve the outdoors. That’s something I’m very passionate about.” 

As for the experience of showing a steer at the county fair, Russell said it truly was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

“It was definitely a lot of fun and taught me a lot of hard work,” Russell said. “It’s sad I won’t be able to do it again. It’s a really good community to get into. It teaches a lot.”

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