10-year-old sells champion steer at Arkansas State Fair

Carol Rolf/Contributing Writer Published November 3, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
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Courtesy of Mark Fonville/ARKANSAS STATE FAIR

Chancee Clark, a fifth-grader at Vilonia Middle School, smiles as she gets ready to enter the show ring at the 2013 Sale of Champions at the Arkansas State Fair.

ROMANCE — Weighing in at about 60 pounds, 10-year-old Chancee Clark has no trouble handling Swag, her 1,280-pound market steer. In fact, she handled him to perfection Oct. 18 during the Sale of Champions in Barton Coliseum at the Arkansas State Fair in Little Rock.

That appearance in the show ring earned Chancee $10,500 in premiums for her Grand Champion Market Steer. Randy Veach, president of the Arkansas Farm Bureau, did the bidding for his company, coming in with the winning bid.

This marks the second year in a row that Chancee has appeared in the Sale of Champions at the state fair. She showed and sold the Reserve Grand Champion Market Steer, a 1,337-pound animal that she called Luda, at the 2012 state fair, which was the first time she had shown livestock at the annual event. The Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association paid $4,700 in premiums to Chancee for that animal.

Chancee bought Swag last year after the state fair. He weighed 400 pounds at the time.

“I feel pretty good about it,” Chancee said right before she lined up with Swag for this year’s Sale of Champions.

“We are absolutely proud of her,” said her mother, Andrea Clark.

A call to her family after the sale found that Chancee was “very excited” about the sale of her animal, which was returned to her. Her mother said they might take Swag to compete in the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colo., in January, but they haven’t made that decision as of yet.

“When she was in the show ring, she said she couldn’t really understand where the bidding was and how much the steer sold for,” Andrea said. “When she got out of the ring, she said, ‘Mom, what did he bring?’

“When I told her, she said, ‘Ooooh. That’s a whole lot of money.’”

Andrea said the money from the sale will go toward purchasing animals for the next year.

“She’ll buy more than one animal,” Andrea said of Chancee. “She shows heifers all year long.”

In fact, Chancee was to have competed Friday and Saturday at the American Royal Livestock Show in Kansas City, Mo., with a Chianina heifer.

At the 2012 Royal American show, Chancee participated in the National Maine-Anjou cattle show and showed the Junior Heifer Calf Champion in Division II with a heifer she called Miss Minnie 2017. She also showed the Summer Champion with a heifer she called RCC Pretty Please.

This past June, Chancee competed in the Maine-Anjou Junior National Show in Grand Island, Neb., where she won showmanship in her age division for a heifer she bred and owned.

“She’s won that distinction for the past three years,” Andrea said. “That’s quite an accomplishment for someone her age.”

Chancee has grown up around cattle. Her parents, Jeremy and Andrea, own Clark Show Cattle in Romance. They also have a custom hay service.

“We both work full time on the farm,” Andrea said. Both of them come from farming backgrounds — Jeremy is from Mount Vernon, and Andrea is from Mulberry. Jeremy graduated from Vilonia High School in 1998, and Andrea graduated from Mulberry High School the same year.

They met showing cattle, and both attended Connors State College in Warner, Okla., where Jeremy was on the livestock judging team. Both attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and both were on the livestock judging team there.

The Clarks were married in 2002. They also have two other daughters, Carlee, 8, who shows heifers, and Chloee, 6, who likes pigs.

Chancee is in the fifth grade at Vilonia Middle School, where she is part of the Vilonia Academy of Service Technology (VAST) program. She is a member of the Cadron Creek 4-H Club and plays softball and basketball.

Chancee said her day usually starts with grooming her steer.

“I have to wash him and blow-dry him really good,” she said. “Then about 7:45 [a.m.], I put him in the cooler, where he stays all day. I leave for school after that.”

Chancee’s mother explained that the cooler is an all-enclosed building like a commercial refrigeration unit.

“It stays at 45 degrees,” she said. “He stays in it all day, and then she brings him out at night to exercise him, and for him to eat.”