Social networking, of all things, has turned out to play an unique roll in the life of an Eagle Point High School senior. Tom and Cara Ayres of Stevensville, Montana, were looking for someone to fit, clip and prep several beef animals at the Denver National Western Stock Show beginning January 6. Through a relative in the Rogue Valley, they found Katie Deupree, a relationship that has proved beneficial to both parties.
The Ayres hired Deupree and paid her expenses to the Denver show. Based on her performance, they have asked her back for more shows,.
What may sound like an Alice in Wonderland adventure is actually a lot of work. To get to the Stock yards, Deupree had to get up at 1:00 a. m. to arrive by 3 a. m. Then the work began, sometimes in weather well below freezing. Some work was done outdoors, but inside the barns, the temperatures were more tolerable. Some nights, the work was not done until well after 7 p.m., a considerably long day with a very hectic schedule.
During the week she was there, she fit six of the Ayres heifers and two bulls for the show and sale. Exhibitors have found prices escalate when fitted properly, more than paying the help such as Katie. According to her, prices can run as high as $1,000 per head for a very experienced person doing the same work as she did there.
This line of work is not new to Deupree, she has participated in many shows in California; Red Bluff Bull and Gelding sale, the California State Fair and a host of others.
Aside from being a great work experience, Deupree said she learned a great deal as she has from each of the shows where she has worked. Bulls and heifers are clipped differently, to emphasize different body traits. After all, the animals are eventually destined for the dinner plate, and lean bulls appearing to have little muscle mass will produce offspring with the same characteristics.
How does a young person juggle the work along with school? At Eagle Point High School she maintains a perfect 4.0 GPA. Prior to leaving she gets homework assignments and completes work before leaving for the show. That way when she returns, she is at the same point as others in her class.
Despite Katie’s desire to go into dental hygiene, her heart lies on the farm. Before taking classes in her chosen profession, she plans to take classes in genetics and nutrition. This way she believes she can take advantage of scholarship monies available now that might not be there at a later date, and then it’s off to Oroville California for classes in her profession. And as to where she plans on living? On the farm, of course. Somewhere close to pastures full of Angus steers.
By Ralph McKechnie
For the Independent