SEBRING - Shelby Hill has been showing animals at the Highlands County Fair since she was 7 years old, but now in her 10th year at the fair, she is listed as the breeder of her steer and heifer.
Hill's grandfather, retired Lake Placid High ag teacher Dale McQuillen, said this is the first time that a student has bred their own cattle to show at the fair. Usually students buy cattle from ranches.
Hill had the opportunity to show her heifers at a previous fair and then take them home and breed them and then show the calves from the heifers, he said.
One of the calves that she bred was judged a reserve grand champion steer Tuesday at the fair.
Hill, who is 17, said raising and showing cattle takes a lot of work.
"You have to take care of them every day from feeding to watering and working him," she said. "It's about three hours a day just walking him and then every morning and night you have to feed them. So it takes a lot of work."
Hill's heifer was judged fifth in her class in Monday's judging.
Following her McDonald's theme this year, Hill has named her 1,389-pound brangus steer "Big Mac." Her 1,044-pound heifer is named "fries."
Hill has been accepted to Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Tifton, Ga., where she will study pre-veterinarian medicine. Then Hill plans to transfer to another college or university to complete her studies to become a veterinarian.
"I want to be a large-animal vet because that is what I grew up with," she said. Her father has 200 head of cattle and her mother showed cattle when she was a student.
While the other students wore jeans and boots as they tended to their animals Wednesday afternoon in the livestock barn at the fair, Hill wore a dress and sandals.
She was honored earlier in the day by the Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce as the Student of the Month at Lake Placid High School, Hill explained. But she was ready to check her animals after her mother arrived with a change of clothes - boots, jeans and a long-sleeve white shirt.
Hill is president of the Lake Placid Clovers 4-H Club and she is the vice president of Lake Placid Senior FFA chapter.
McQuillen offered some of Hill's highlights at the fair.
"When she was a ninth-grader she had the grand champion steer and the grand champion heifer up here, and then last year she had the grand champion heifer and this year she had the reserve grand champion steer," he said.
Hill said her steer and heifer would be up for sale in the Jr. Livestock Auction.
See Saturday's edition of Highlands Today for coverage of the Jr. Livestock Auction.