Faulkner County 4-H member wins Grand Champion Market Steer at Arkansas State Fair 

Lasley and Jack, her 1,300 pound Simmental steer, took home three winning titles in 2023: Grand Champion Market Steer at the Faulkner County Fair, the Arkansas Youth Expo and the Arkansas State Fair. (Division of Agriculture photo.)

Among the busy stalls in the cattle barns at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds, two colorful banners hang above one steer with a particularly shiny, fluffy black coat. Jack, a 1,300-pound Simmental steer, was recently crowned Grand Champion Market Steer, the first Arkansas State Fair win for Faulkner County 4-H member Kylie Jo Lasley.  

Lasley, 14, has been raising cattle since age 6, when she first joined the Mount Vernon-Enola 4-H Club in Faulkner County. In September, Lasley won Grand Champion Market Steer at the Faulkner County Fair. Earlier in October, Lasley won Champion Simmental Steer, which was then chosen as the Grand Champion at the Arkansas Youth Expo. On Oct. 14, Lasley earned Grand Champion Market Steer at the Arkansas State Fair.  

“It feels crazy to win both the expo and the state fair,” Lasley said. “This is my first time winning either.”  

Lasley’s father Kyle Lasley said it has been a special experience to watch his daughter’s hard work with Jack.  

“It’s fun and very rewarding to see her work ethic and how she takes care of him,” he said. “She really wants to get out there and work, and make sure she does a good job.”  

Kami Green, extension 4-H agent in Faulkner County, said Lasley is an exemplary 4-H member.  

“Kylie Jo is hardworking, and I have seen her grow, especially while working with her in livestock judging contests,” Green said. “I believe that Kylie Jo can do anything she puts her mind to. Raising any animal is hard work, but a steer is a whole new level of commitment. She and her family are a terrific example of how hard work and dedication lead to success.” 

Raising a prize-winning steer

Lasley began raising Jack in October of 2022. Lasley said her daily duties with the steer start with feeding him before she goes to school. In the afternoon, she takes him outside, rinses and brushes him, then goes through the laborious process of blow drying his coat. 

“I’ve learned that the more work you put into it, the better they look,” Lasley said. “My favorite part of this is getting to see them grow and develop into what they can be.”  

Kyle Lasley said participating in 4-H has helped his daughter gain confidence and learn new skills.  

“She was pretty shy starting out, and this has really made her come out of her shell,” he said. “It’s especially developed her work ethic, and she takes on a lot more responsibility. It’s been awesome.”  

He also said Lasley has been able to meet other youth and families in the livestock judging community, which will benefit her for years to come.  

“She started doing livestock judging when she was 8 or 9 years old, and that’s really helped a lot, just to be able to get out there and talk to people,” he said. “We’ve sent her to a livestock camp in Oklahoma the past few summers, and she’s made contacts, connections and new friends from all across the country. 

“I told her, ‘You never know, you may make a connection with somebody and then later on in life, that connection helps you out,’” he said.  

Lasley said she plans to compete again next year, and her goal is to travel to an out-of-state show. For other 4-H’ers considering raising and showing cattle, Lasley said it’s all about consistent effort.  

“The harder you work, the more it pays off,” she said.  

Finding inspiration

Green said 4-H offers a chance for every child to find a project that inspires them.  

“4-H is a great program that offers a wide range of projects so that every kid finds their passion, which we can tap into and help them excel at,” she said. “Faulkner County 4-H is heavily dominated by the livestock project, and like any other focus, it teaches life skills that prepare these youth for their future, including responsibility, hard work, dedication and organization.”  

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4-H is a youth development program operated by the Cooperative Extension Service, part of the Division of Agriculture. The program teaches participants life skills through the “learn by doing” model. Program participants gain knowledge through non-formal, science-based, experiential education activities.