It was an emotional win for the small show team at Proston State School P-12, whose Limousin steer won the coveted Ray White Rural Junior Led Steer competition at Beef 2021.
The young steer was up against strong competition, with 63 entries across the heavily entered weight classes.
Exhibited by Proston State School student Jessica Jackson, the winning steer named Sapphire was kindly donated to the Proston State School by the Madden family at Smithfield Cattle Company at Proston in November, 2020.
Purchasing two steers for $7600 at the Blue Ribbon sale in Pittsworth, the Madden family donated them in support of the school's agricultural department and to bolster their 2021 show season chances.
Proston State School P-10 agricultural teacher Katrina Howard described the win for the small cattle team as "quite amazing".
"We didn't expect it, we thought we might get in the top line and that was the goal," Ms Howard said.
"This particular steer is actually in preparation for the Brisbane Ekka and this wasn't his goal at the end of the day, this was just a happy bonus and we've had an absolutely magnificent day.
"We've got two steers here today and to get one steer win his class and one come second is amazing.
"We can't thank Smithfield Cattle Company enough, they purchased these steers for us, and then donated them back to us."
The Proston State School brought to Rockhampton five students and eleven head of cattle and are also fitting for other studs.
Judge Jeff House, Jeff House Livestock Pty Ltd, Forbes, NSW, awarded Sapphire first place in the 37 milk tooth steer with a live weight of 440 to 449 kilograms class, before announcing it as his champion of the day.
Mr House, who is contracted by Australian Lot Feeders' Association as their technical services officer, said the steer's "adequate fat coverage for its weight for age" got him over the line.
"Really tough decision between all four class winners and it came down to the two Limousin steers and there's a reasonable difference in weight between the two of them," Mr House said.
"The younger steer was a little bit stronger up over the top and for its actual weight, I've decided to go for the champion from the second class.
"Just the rib eye when you get in behind this young steer and actually run your hand in behind the shoulder of this animal, that muscle runs right in there behind the shoulder."
The Limousin steer weighed in at 473 kilograms with an eye muscle area of 100 square centimeters and measurements of 8 millimeters and 6mm in the rump and rib fats.
Mr House described this year's competition as a "fantastic line-up of steers right across the board."
"Given the seasons that we've had for the last couple of years, a big congratulations to all the exhibitors," he said.
"Some really good quality steers there, plenty of muscle and plenty of meat in those animals and in a lot of the classes, it was really just down to how much fat coverage they had on them and that they had that evenness of fat cover.
"I think just on the day, they had the muscle and that put them up there to be honest."
Junior Led Steer Competition highlights
Winner of the first 36 milk tooth with a live weight of 350kg-439kg class was Crusher, a 439kg Droughtmaster steer exhibited by Oscar Hills, St Brendan's College, that measured 70sq cm in the EMA and 4mm in both the rump and rib fats.
A Speckle Park-cross steer, exhibited by Tim and Lauren Eastwell and led by George Tucker, was awarded first place in the 38 milk tooth led steer class with a live weight 500 to 559kg. Billy Bob weighed in at 512kg with an EMA of 96sq cm and 13mm and 10mm in the rump and rib fats.
Rounding off the top four steers of the day was Billy Goetsch's entry B1 that won the 39 milk tooth led steer with a live weight 560 to 650kg class. The Limousin-cross steer weighed 620kg with fat measurements of 16mm and 11mm in the rump and rib, and 109sq cm in the EMA.