BY ROXIE Murphy
ADVOCATE Staff Writer
BELLE — The Baretich sisters showed their competitive streaks at the abbreviated Belle Community Fair that took …
BY ROXIE Murphy
ADVOCATE Staff Writer
BELLE — The Baretich sisters showed their competitive streaks at the abbreviated Belle Community Fair that took place July 24-25 at the Belle City Park.
Rachel Baretich, 15, won grand champion and weight of gain with her lamb and reserve champion with her steer. Kara Baretich, 13, won reserve grand champion with her lamb and took second in her class with her steer.
Both girls felt like they fought to get there.
“Everyday I would wake up thinking ‘are we actually going to have the fair this year or are we gonna be canceled?’” Rachel said during an interview with The Advocate between livestock shows.
Despite not knowing what to expect, Rachel and her sister Kara worked with their steers, Beau and Buddy, and their lambs every day they were with their dad, usually from 9 a.m. to noon.
“Going back and forth between mom’s and dad’s, we don’t always get to work with them,” Rachel said. “You feel like yours are going to be a little bit more behind than everybody else’s because we only get to work with them half-time. But we work with them a little harder.”
The 4-H and Future Farmers of America members had schedules planned to work with their animals. Then they heard about the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and that it could affect everything they had worked for.
“Whenever we first heard about coronavirus, I thought ‘oh, well, it’s in China.’ But when it first started coming here, they were talking about the fair getting canceled. I was mad,” Rachel admitted. “I was ready to throw something through the wall because my steers haven’t been great for the past couple of years. But this year I got a big steer. He is perfect. When I knew he was going to be big, I was like ‘ok, we better have a fair, otherwise we are just going to have to eat ‘em.”
Since the livestock show and sale was only open to Maries County FFA and 4-H members, participation numbers were down. Rachel was glad the fair board decided there would be a livestock show and sale, she wishes her steer would have gotten to compete against more.
“I wish there was a little more competition,” she said. “It’s always better with competition. It’s more fun to show ‘em with other people around. I like the competition even though mine is not always going to be the best or have the best chance of winning. It’s still fun to see the other kids having fun and showing their animals along with ya.”
Rachel’s younger sister Kara was also working with her steer and lamb. Their family will usually sell one steer and butcher the other for themselves over the seven years that the girls have raised steers.
“My steer’s name is Buddy the fourth,” Kara said while she stood outside the pin that housed the Baretich steers. “I didn’t put in as many hours as I did last year, but I worked with him daily, about four to five hours a day.”
Kara said she was also nervous early on that the fair board would cancel the livestock shows and the sale.
“We got our steers around Decemberish,” Kara said. “This is my fifth year showing a steer and my third year with a lamb.”
She was more unsure if the fair would be canceled, some days thinking it was sure to happen and other days thinking it sure wouldn’t.
“I continued to work with my steer,” she said. “But I was excited to hear that we would have a fair. Then I was kind of nervous because I didn’t work as hard with my steer this year.”
There was a big difference between this livestock show and all of the others in the past.
“Our lamb and steer shows were all in one day versus our lambs are usually on one day and the steers are the next,” Kara said.
So while the number of participants were down, the event seemed to go at a faster pace. It was a challenge to get an animal ready for competition, change into competition clothes, then change again, get the next animal ready and change back.
Even though it was more to do at once, the hustle and bustle was missing.
“It was calmer this year,” Kara said. “There’s a lot of people here, but there is not a lot of people.”
Even though coronavirus has made every event for the remainder of 2020 uncertain, Kara and Rachel said they will do both the market steer and lamb again next year.
“I didn’t like how my lamb turned out this year,”Kara said. “Every year but this year I have always gotten grand champion. So getting reserve will push me to compete next year again.”
Rachel said she is planning to show again. Uncertainty is something that is always there.
“Not every year is going to be the same. You’re gonna have some curve balls. Things are gonna look different and not go the way you planned.”
She said she looks forward to telling future participants about this year that everything was different.
So in the future I can tell younger kids or my kids that they don’t need to plan everything out like it is going to be the same, because it probably won’t be. Not at all,” Rachel said.