The Story of a... Livestock Competitor

West Orange senior BRYCE CRAMER, 17, earns his fair share of awards showing off steers.



Bryce Cramer hopes Matrix is a winner in the Central Florida Fair, which runs March 1-11.

Norma Lopez Molina

“My grandfather was a ranch manager, so I’ve grown up around this. And when my brother did it, I always helped him, so it really interested me. It kind of came naturally.”

The senior at West Orange High School has won numerous prizes since he started entering livestock in competitions at Orlando’s Central Florida Fair five years ago. His entry this year is a 1,025-pound steer named Matrix.

“I can’t consider him a pet because it’s raised as a market animal [for its meat]. It’s easy to think of them as pets, but in the end you have to know that he’s going to get bought. It’s difficult sometimes to not get attached.…You’re always going to have a bond with your animal.”

 “Even if you like him, the biggest challenge is the steer’s temper. One day they’re perfect, and the next they can be giving you a hard time, pushing you into panels.”

Bryce, who is president of West Orange High’s FFA [Future Farmers of America] chapter, gets a new steer every year, purchased by the school. “They’re normally born in October and then I get them in May.’’ 

Matrix has gained 300 pounds on a high-protein diet since Bryce started working with him.

Bryce spends more than 14 hours a week caring for and training the steer. “You definitely have to work them out. You have to walk them. I let mine play sometimes. You know, let him run and let him graze.’’

Judges look for straight backs and a wide body, but “the main thing is fat coverage because the fat is the taste. You can’t really change the genetics of an animal. So you can walk him and exercise him, but the main thing you have to do is get the fat on him. Because if the judge comes up to feel the side of him and there’s no fat, he’s not going to go up in class….It’s difficult to get the fat right.” 

You have to get them to stand in place because sometimes it can take up to 45 minutes [to judge]. I train them so that during that time they’re not going crazy. It just takes a lot of work to get to that point.”

“All of my hard work is shown through the animal. People can tell how dedicated I’ve been to my project based on their behavior and appearance.”

Edit Module
Want to read the whole issue? Download and read this issue and others on Magzter.

Add your comment:
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags

Guides & Resources

Orlando's Best Lawyers 2016

Our annual list includes hundreds of Orlando-area attorneys in dozens of areas of practice.

Orlando's Top Dentists of 2016

Our annual list featuring 224 of the area's finest dental professionals.

Guide to Private Schools 2016

Our searchable annual database will help you chart an educational course for your family.

2015 Premier Doctors

Our annual inventory of Central Florida’s Finest Doctors with details on hundreds of physicians in dozens of specialties.

Orlando's Top Chiropractors of 2015

Check out our searchable 2015 list of some of the best chiropractors in the Orlando area.

Premier Veterinarians 2015

Check out our searchable 2015 list of some of the best vets in the Orlando area.

Choosing a Graduate School

Programs at UCF and Rollins College
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

MoreRecent Blog Posts

Weekend Happenings in Orlando May 6 to 8

Find the best events in and around Orlando for the weekend.

Weekend Happenings in Orlando April 29 to May 1

Find the best events in and around Orlando for the weekend.

Arts Beat: Parting Gift

The Orlando Philharmonic’s Eric Jacobsen says goodbye to his longtime string quartet cohorts in a concert on April 27.

Weekend Happenings in Orlando April 22 to 24

Find the best events in and around Orlando for the weekend.

Weekend Happenings in Orlando April 15 to 17

Find the best events in and around Orlando for the weekend.
Edit Module