National Heifer Show Comes To East Texas

Their passion is something far different from what most teenage girls see as fun.

"I like being around the animals," Mallory Lynn Blair, 14, said. "They're kind of entertaining to watch."

Blair, from Soledad, Calif., and Kaitlyn Eubanks, 13, from Hot Springs, Ark., have devoted their lives to breeding cattle and then showing them off at local and national shows. They each brought seven heifers. Eubanks has four generations of them.

"They're just really sweet," Eubanks said. "After you get to know them, they are, they're sweet. I like them."

A girl's best friend.

"They're loving," Blair said. "They're cuddly, too."

Aside from companionship, a heifer can be rewarding, especially for Eubanks, who's a past national champion in showmanship.

A winning Heifer has to be well groomed. For Kaitlyn, it's clipping the hair short and using a bottle of Joy dishwashing liquid to make it shiny.

The girls say working with heifers requires discipline and devotion.

"My friends'll have birthday parties, and I won't be able to go because I'll be off at some show," Blair said. "But it doesn't bother me."

For the young cattle breeders, it's not "the simple life."

"A couple times, I've wanted to give up 'cause I've gotten hurt a couple times showing and all," Blair said. "But it's something you have to love doing. You have to be committed, too, to do something like this. You can't just feed them and walk away. You have to stay with them and clean up after them."

But it's all worth it for these cow lovers.

The show and convention begins tomorrow with a kick-off luncheon. It runs through Saturday.

Julie Tam, reporting.