Lander brothers show together
Lander – As the Fremont County Fair prepares to celebrate its 100th year, Jace and Joel Florquist, sons of Kraig and Tammy Florquist of Lander, are putting in extra hours fitting their market livestock for the fair.
The Florquist brothers have been active members of Fremont County 4-H for the past five years and have shown a variety of market swine, sheep and steers.
“Presently, we are feeding the steers 24 pounds of grain and about 25 pounds of hay per day per steer, which has resulted in a good average daily gain,” says Jace. “We started them on a Ranchway Feed Program right after purchasing them from the Abernathy Ranch in Lander.”
“Last year we didn’t start a feeding program right away, and it was hard for our steers to make weight, so this year we started the feed program early,” he adds.
Thirteen-year-old Joel Florquist is working overtime to ensure his steer Sir Loin and lamb Hammy are show ready.
“There is not a whole lot of difference showing a sheep or a steer,” explains Joel. “I walk both animals around the arena and set them up for the judges.”
This similarity has prepared Joel for showing, even when the animals prove to be stubborn.
“There were not many problems with getting Hammy ready,” says Joel, “but getting my steer to calm down and to lead has been a challenge.”
“I halter broke Sir Loin later in the year than the steer I had last year,” he explains. “We should have started earlier. Last year, we halter broke earlier by taking the steers to grain or water and they were a lot nicer.”
However, the family agrees that the lamb’s presence at the barn has helped to settle the steer, making him more manageable.
“It is the weirdest thing,” laughs Tammy. “We really can’t explain it, but Sir Loin likes being around Hammy and is much calmer when Hammy is there.”
Even though his lamb has posed less of a challenge, Joel still spends time working with the lamb.
He walks the lamb up and down the sizeable hill that leads to their house to teach the lamb to lead and increase his appeal to the judges. He says all the walking really helps to make the hindquarters muscular.
The long hours and hard work it takes to get the animals show ready has not lessened Joel’s excitement for fair.
“I am really looking forward to the lemonade stand at fair,” says Joel brightly, “and camping with my family for the week. Our cousin comes every year during fair, and it is a lot of fun.”
Fifteen-year-old Jace Florquist works alongside his brother, preparing his own steer for fair. Although he is only showing one animal, Jace is passionate about raising steers and strives to provide high quality meat for his buyers.
“Raising steers is fun and more profitable than the other animals,” says Jace, who plans on using the money he earns to pay for flight lessons. “I think the only thing different I will do next year is the breed of steer.”
“This year, I am showing a Black Angus, and they are known for being stubborn and not having much hair,” he continues. “Next year, I am thinking of showing a Shorthorn cross.”
Due to the late start training, Jace is also facing challenges with his steer.
“This year’s steer won’t lead and set up nearly as well as last year’s steer. He is more stubborn,” Jace says, “but I have been using willow leaves to help train him. He will do anything for willow leaves.”
Jace admits that showing animals takes a lot of hard work but he has learned a lot from the experience.
“This year I learned not to step behind a steer,” he jokes. “I was kicked a couple of times.”
“It is great having them around, and it is a lot of fun working with them,” he adds seriously. “Even though you have to wake up early and can’t sleep in during a holiday, it is all worth it in the end.”
Kelsey Tramp is assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.