This isn’t a beauty contest.

There’s no shampooing, no blow drying, no crimping and styling. These cattle come straight off pasture and into the show ring.

And if there was ever a year he had a good chance of placing with his cow/calf pair, Roger Gier commented as he sat in the stands watching the show unfold, this would be it.

“He does have a pretty good one,” his friend, Gerald Hiitter, a Sylvan Grove-area producer, admitted.

State fairs are known for showcasing the state’s best – whether it is a top-ribbon pie or the best breeding cow.

And for Gier, a third-generation producer who lives in Ellsworth but farms and ranches near Sylvan Grove, his luck was about to go supreme.

Gier won first place in his division, bettering Hiitter, who took second. The friends were also were the top two overall, with Gier receiving a $600 check for having the fair’s “Super Cow Calf.” Hiiter got $400.

“It’s my first,” Gier said with a big grin as friends came around to congratulate him, adding that, in the end, it wasn’t about him. “It shows the cow’s hard work this year.

“If you would have seen our grass – how much she had to go through to get here,” he said, adding that this summer, largely the last month, has brought little rain to his area of Lincoln County.

Cow/calf shows are a big deal in Lincoln County, drawing sometimes more than 45 entries, said Hiitter. The two, along with others from their area of the state, come to the state fair each year to not only showcase their cattle, but to socialize – meeting up with old friends who also are have a cow/calf operation.

“It’s kind of a social event,” said Gier.

“Most of these people we only see once a year,” Hiitter said. “We bring (the pairs) more for the fun of it.”

Judges take the entire pair into consideration when doing rankings. Cows should have feminine characteristics, along with a good disputation. Judges also look at structure, muscling, natural fleshing and soundness of udder.

Similar traits must be echoed in the calf, Hiiter said. For instance, in steer calves, the judge will consider “how many steaks you can make out of it.”

That, after all, is the end result.