After showing bucket calves for two or three years I decided I wanted to show a market calf. I bought a red heifer and her name was Kibbles. Little did my family or I know we were in for a rude awakening.

I bought Kibbles in September and planned to show her at an open show in March. I was busy with other activities but still put a lot of effort in breaking Kibbles. March came along and we were going to clip Kibbles for the show, along with my brother’s calves. The clipping went okay, but not great. Now it was time to head to the cattle show.

Let me share a funny story about my dad that our family will NEVER forget: I was still small at this age so my dad lead Kibbles to weigh-ins in the show ring which was quite a walk from our trailer. Let me remind you, it was a snowy, cold and wet March night. So my dad starts to lead Kibbles but not long after the walk started my dad is being drug through puddles and snow banks still trying to stop Kibbles. Finally, he let go but he was covered in yuck from head to toe! We eventually caught her and I even showed her the next day with no problems.

I showed Kibbles at Calhoun and Sac county [Iowa] fairs. She threw a couple fits and tried to get away from me. However, I never gave up but she knew exactly how to frustrate me.

Kayla poses for a picture with her calf Albert, a.k.a. ‘Tank’.

It was the next fall and it was time to look for new calves. Since having such a time with Kibbles I did not know if I wanted to show. Reluctantly, I went with my dad and brother to look. Little did I know that there would be a “broke” bucket calf with a purple halter waiting for me. I instantly fell in love.

I brought him home along with my brother’s two calves. Later I named him Albert. Something I noticed right away was Albert loved to eat! I could walk in the barn and find him standing and waiting patiently in the feed bunk, even at 1,200 pounds. He easily earned the nickname of “Tank” by many including judges. He was a very special calf for my family and I. Not only because he would follow me around the yard but surprisingly won Overall Market Animal at the Calhoun County Fair and Sac County Fair.

Since Albert won two county fairs, it opened the doors for Albert and I to show in the Governor’s Charity Steer Show at the Iowa State Fair.


Kayla Degner was born and raised in rural Lytton, IA on a diversified grain and livestock family farm. She graduated from Rockwell City-Lytton in May 2012 and currently attends Iowa State University studying Agricultural Communications. Her past involved many agriculture venues. Kayla has a strong interest in advocating to the youth involved in agriculture.

Contact her at [email protected].