By Stan Maddux
LA CROSSE, Ind. – An Indiana girl is following in her mother’s footsteps and then some in raising award-winning cattle.
Madison Scarborough, 12, came away from the 175th LaPorte County Fair with the Grand Champion steer. Her mother, Denise, raised the Grand Champion steer during the 150th LaPorte County Fair.
Their happy trip down memory lane started when the Scarboroughs were preparing for the fair in the cattle barn and Denise saw her name on a banner listing Grand Champion steer winners from previous years. She pointed out her name to her daughter who did not expect her 1,300 pound steer to achieve Grand Champion status.
Denise cried tears of joy and excitement on July 13 when this year’s Grand Champion steer winner was announced.
“It’s an honor. It’s just strange. It’s very peculiar how it happened 25 years apart,” said Madison, who’s entering the 7th grade at South Central School in the farming community of Union Mills.
Her Simmental cow sold three days later for $13,600, a record for the beef auction at the fair.
The family raises corn, soybeans and wheat at their farm in La Crosse about 30 miles from the southern tip of Lake Michigan.
Denise Scarborough said her husband, Mark, works the row crop operation full-time. She’s employed full-time as an agricultural loan officer at the First National Bank of Monterrey.
Denise works nights and weekends keeping the books at the farm and doing other chores. Madison and her younger brother, Parker, also help whenever needed.
Just a handful of animals used strictly for show during the fair are kept at the farm.
Madison feels her steer circling the show arena gracefully is what made the difference in the scoring by judges. “He was square when he walked,” she said.
The steer was also given a good washing and combing to help him stand out among the rest of the beef cows.
Madison also won Grand Champion gilt, Supreme Ewe and the Intermediate Showmanship Award for her work in the show arena in each of the three animal categories she competed in at this year’s fair. She was still trying to overcome the shock from all of her success. “It was very unbelievable,” she said.
Madison is going to show her 260-pound female pig at the Indiana State Fair, which begins July 30. Her female sheep is staying at the farm for breeding.
Denise said she never had more than one animal win top prize at the fair and doesn’t mind, whatsoever, being surpassed by her daughter.
“As much as I see her work, I’m OK with that. She definitely puts in the hours of hard work that goes with raising good animals,” she said.
Denise grew up on a farm outside La Porte while Mark runs the farm he was raised on. Both of them were showing animals at the fair when they first met as teenagers.
His stalls were across from hers and soon they began dating.
They were married seven years later. “We actually showed cattle against each other. I think we made a pretty good team early on,” she said.