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Clay County Fair features new beef show

By Renae B. Vander Schaaf

Date Modified: 09/23/2013 9:32 AM

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SPENCER, Iowa — "Bushels of Fun" is the theme of the Clay County Fair that will run from its Sept. 7-15 run.

Farm animals remain a top attraction since the fair's inception in 1917.

Beef Superintendent Tex Sonius is getting pens ready for the beef shows. Three new open class beef shows have been added — Charolais, Low Line Angus and Miniature Herefords.

"Low Line is a smaller version of the Angus breed," said Sonius. "Low Lines were started in 1974 from the Angus breed. The selection was done at the Trangie Research Center in Australia."

The animals were imported to the United States in 1993. Mature cows weigh between 700 pounds and 1,100 pounds and a mature bull between 900 and 1,500 pounds.

Low Lines are popular with people who have smaller pastures.

The ribeye is a smaller but has the same marbling and texture as conventional breeds. The cattle fill a niche market. They have their own registry.

Low Line exhibitors can start bringing in cattle after 7 a.m. Sept. 10, said Sonius. They must be in by 8 a.m. the next day.

Sonius has been beef superintendent for three years. He showed 4-H and FFA.

"I like meeting the people," he said. "Through the years I have made many friends of those who have brought in cattle. Some come back year after year. We look for each other, spend our free time visiting and catch up on things."

Clay County Fair Superintendent Jeremy Parsons welcomes the additional beef show.

"Expansion of our open class beef shows is just another way for us to open our doors to even more competitors," said Jeremy Parsons. "The cornerstone of any fair and what makes fairs unique from other festivals and events is the competition. Fairs offer people the chance to showcase their best, whether it is a prize-winning quilt or steer or photograph."