2010 Oakland County Fair opens
July 07, 2010 - Taylor Bottiglia's "pet" weighs more than half a ton more than she does.
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The 8-year-old Brandon Township resident is just 60 pounds. The steer she calls "Checkers," weighs in at about 1,080.
"He is scary sometimes," says Taylor. "I still like him. He's nice more than he's scary."
Taylor got Checkers in September from a Kensington petting farm, when the steer was 5-months-old. The 4-H Club member will show Checkers at the 2010 Oakland County Fair, set for July 13-18 at the Springfield Oaks County Park, 12451 Andersonville Road, Davisburg. The steer will be sold during the large animal auction, 6:30 p.m., July 17, at the fairgrounds.
Taylor is hopeful she will win a prize for the steer, whom she helps feed and water, washes three times a week, and walks regularly, invoking laughter from the neighbors on occasion.
She has learned all the parts on the steer in preparation for questions from the fair judge, and she uses a stick to scratch his belly and get him to stand the way he will need to in the show ring.
"I take care of him and let him know I'm the boss, he's not the boss," she said.
The steer isn't the only animal Taylor is showing at the fair. She will also take two goats, "Twist" and "Lizzie," as well as six chickens, all of them easier to care for than the steer. Although the goats can be stubborn when she tries to walk them because they want to stop to eat or rest, they are her favorites, because "they're nice and gentle."
Taylor enjoys taking care of animals and besides the steer, goats, and chickens, she also helps her family care for their four horses, pony, dog, two cats, ducks, rabbits, and roosters.
This is her first year being able to show animals at the county fair, and she will also compete at the fair with tomato plant and photography entries.
Sharon Mason, a volunteer with the Oakland County Fair, is expecting a good turnout this year, with attractions including carnival rides, animal and craft exhibits, miracle of birth barn, pig races, and various contests including burping, watermelon and pickle eating, diaper derby/toddler trot, and the ladies skillet throwing and husband calling competitions.
Grandstand events each night include figure 8 races, super kicker bullmania rodeo, demo derby, monster trucks and new this year, bump and run car racing.
Mason said the fair, around for more than 100 years, is doing very well.
"It shows off our youth and what they can do," she said. "We have close to 200 families, not counting individual kids, with exhibits. It really is a good opportunity to see what our county offers and it's a good, inexpensive outing for families to enjoy."
Admission to the fairgrounds is $10 per vehicle, including cars, trucks, buses or semis, Mason laughs. Carnival rides are extra, as well as the grandstand events. Visit oakfair.org for more information.
Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville