A local 4-H’er scored double grand championship honors at the Bartholomew County 4-H Fair Beef Show.

Brad Paetzel of Hope, who will be a senior at Hauser High School this fall, exhibited the grand champion steer and also the county born and bred grand champion steer at the fair Thursday, witnessed by more than 200 people at the fairgrounds Pavilion.

The Paetzel family has long endeavored to win the grand champion steer title, Paetzel said.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said after his steer won both titles. “I just thought, ‘Thank goodness. We’ve been waiting 19 years to win this.’ “

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Paetzel’s brother, Jermy, had come the closest, winning reserve grand champion in 2009, right after his senior year of high school, Brad Paetzel said.

This year’s winning steer, a 1,283-pound Simmental, will be sold at the fair auction today, Brad Paetzel said, with the proceeds going toward helping him purchase another steer for next year’s competition, which will be his final year in 4-H.

Brad Paetzel, a Hope FFA member, is planning on attending college and one day wants to return to Bartholomew County to build a herd of his own and sell show cattle for a living, he said.

Although the heifers, calves and steers were judged in 26 categories, a number of them had just one entry.

“But I don’t think that diminishes the quality,” said show judge Matt Edwards of Greenfield.

A big reason for fewer entries in each category is the expense, said Mark Case, Bartholomew County 4-H Fair Board president. It takes more than a year and a half to raise a steer to market weight, far longer than other farm animals.

Just prior to the show, several of the Lil’ Wranglers, made up of kids not old enough to join 4-H, were given the chance to parade their steers. Since most of the exhibitors were shorter than the animals, the crowd kept extremely quiet to avoid spooking the girls, boys and animals.

“This is just an earlier step to get them involved, so when they do get into 4-H, they’re ready to hit the ground running,” Case said.

When temperatures suddenly cooled into the upper 70s when the older 4-Hers and their steers entered the arena, the animals became a little more unruly, Case said.

“It was nerve-wracking,” said Braden Young, 14, who finished his fifth beef show competition this week showing three Angus entries.

Young said he tried to get the animal to walk correctly, “but there’s nothing you can do when they act up except try your best.”

But a nine-year beef show veteran didn’t give his 1,250-pound Angus any room for unruly behavior. Hauser student Ethan Miracle, 16, was named reserve champion over four other competitors after his time in the show ring.

“Usually, I just try to stay calm and they won’t break out real bad,” he said.

Luckily for the younger exhibitors, there were plenty of parents and volunteers to give the animals plenty of pushes into the pavilion.

Once inside the arena, 12-year-old Gracie Greene handled her 1,200-pound Chianina heifer with confidence during her second beef show.

“If you aren’t confident with the heifer, she’s going to be confident with you,” Greene said. “I’d rather be in charge than her.”

Greene won the grand reserve champion ribbon in her category. And so did Emma Mensendiek, 18, whose mini-Hereford fought her all the way around the arena.

“I don’t think they really hold (unruly animals) against you, as long as you can get a couple of steps out of her,” said Mensendiek, a 10-year 4-H member who will be attending classes at the University of Indianapolis.

Today at the fair



7:30 a.m.: Livestock Auction Buyers Breakfast, Pavilion

8:15 a.m.: 4-H Livestock Sale, Pavilion

5 p.m.: 4-H Community Building, Family Arts, and Commercial Buildings open

5 p.m.: Midway Opens

7 p.m.: Demolition Derby, Grandstand

Snapchat filters at the fair

Want to make the photos you take at the Bartholomew County 4-H Fair photos extra cool?

The fair board is offering up a different Snapchat filter for each day of the fair.

Take a photo at the fair, then take a swipe on Snapchat, and you’ll find some fun fair filters. Don’t forget to enable location.

4-H Fair Beef winners

Grand champion steer: Brad Paetzel

Reserve grand champion steer: Emma Wischmeier

Grand grand champion county born and bred steer: Brad Paetzel

Reserve grand champion county born and bred steer: Evan Shaw

Expert Showman: Jack Rosenberger

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.