Chad Marriott chose a calf because he liked its color and proved himself right when the animal's reddish color turned to green for him - $7,844.50 worth of green.
Chad, 11-year-old son of Mike and Vickie Marriott, Warren, Weber County, entered the animal in Weber County's fair Aug. 17-20 and walked off with the fair's first prize - Grand Champion designation, plus the check from Big O Tires of Ogden.The tire company's representatives, Bob Rauzi and Jerry Peterson, purchased the steer on the final night of the fair. The purchase price of $7.25 per pound was another first - the first time in Utah history the price has gone that high.
Greg Call, 16, of Farr West, had the Grand Champion Fat Lamb, which brought $10 a pound, netting him $1,220. It was bought by Chuck Ackerman of Smith's Food King. Greg, pleased with his profit, said he will stay in the sheep business.
The Grand Champion Fat Hog belonged to Kimberlee Rackham of Roy. It sold for $854.70 or $3.70 a pound. Kimberlee said she would probably have a different project next year because it was too sad for her to think of her friendly hogs being slaughtered.
The calf was purchased by Chad through Delmar White, a local cattleman who travels the country hand-picking calves for junior livestock 4-H'ers. The boy showed up at White's to make good his selection with hard-earned $1, $5, $10 and $20 bills from his pockets and lugging a can full of coins. He earned the money mowing lawns and doing farm work for his dad.
He paid $620 for the 800-pound Limousin/Angus calf - approximately $1.29 a pound. He fed it a lot of hay, grain, corn and molasses to make it into a 1,085-pound championship steer.
This was Chad's first year in 4-H, and he enlisted his dad's help as a partner in the undertaking.
"Although his dad gave him some pointers, Chad earned it," said his mother. "He did most of the work himself. These (4-H) kids are the future leaders of our community."
She added that the whole experience of the first Weber County Fair was a "four-day high."
Chad tended the calf for 120 days, breaking it to halter by leading it behind a tractor.
Chad's win also was a high for Jim E. and Kayla Wayment, who were having their first experience at leading a 4-H club, the Rascally Ranchers.
"This is probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience, to have a grand champion steer," said Jim. "Although Chad may win again, the feeling will never be the same."
Chad is a sixth-grader at West Weber Elementary School. He plans to use his prize money to purchase another calf, pay the expenses involved in rearing the first one and sock the rest away toward college.