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Ratman wins top steer
Mar 29, 2012 | 1128 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kodye Neel prepares Ratman for the auction ring Saturday at the Refugio County Youth Livestock Show. The 12-year-old  has won three grand champion steers in four years at the local show and placed three times in Houston and twice in San Antonio.
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Kodye Neel, 12, began showing champion steers about the same time she began judging livestock with her 4-H club – four years ago when she was 8.

The Refugio seventh-grader says judging livestock helps her to raise champions. Understanding what the beef industry wants gives her the goals she sets for her animals.

In four years, Kodye has shown three grand champion steers in Refugio and placed in the Houston and San Antonio shows. When her steer doesn’t earn the grand champion, her older brother HC’s does.

“We’re competitive but only to a point,” Kodye said. “I’m happy for him when he wins and he’s happy for me when I win.”

HC and Kodye both compete in livestock judging. Both have garnered individual and team awards from the State Fair in Dallas to the Valley.

Even at such a young age, Kodye is a seasoned producer, looking on the Internet for animals she thinks will be promising.

Her younger sister named her steer.

“His tail didn’t have much hair so she named him Ratman and it stuck,” Kodye said.

The 12-year-old enjoys choosing her steers.

“I like to start with a green, big boned steer with good muscle and work him up,” she said. “Then you don’t have to hold them back.”

Kodye’s skepticism about Ratman’s championship qualities was dispelled in days.

“He was dog gentle and never acted out in the halter,” Kodye said. “He was green – that means he was skinny. Every day he got sweeter and better. I never had a bad day with him.”

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