Local heifer Raspberry tastes sweet success as grand champion
October 15, 2013
By Evan Pappas
Katie Jo Jensen, an 11-year-old girl from Issaquah, and her 1,200-pound Black Angus heifer Raspberry took this year’s Palouse Empire Fair Grand Champion prize in the Open Beef class.
The Palouse Empire Fair holds exhibitions for students to train and groom animals for show. Katie spent the summer training Raspberry, also affectionately known as Razzy Jazzy, on her grandparents’ farm.
Katie took inspiration from her brother Joey, who showed a cow named Hiccup at the show when he was in fourth grade. The relationship he developed with Hiccup was something that resonated with her.
“I thought it was really cool how they got connected,” Katie said.
Joey’s experience showing Hiccup was very positive. It was hard work but he had help from the animal showing community.
“There’s a really good community. Everyone jumps in to help,” Joey said.
Katie began last April when her aunt Kris McIntosh, who has been showing animals since she was a kid, picked out a cow for her at her grandparents’ farm. Katie would go to the farm for a week at a time every two weeks throughout the summer in order to train.
Days would begin at 6 a.m. with catching Raspberry with the halter, washing, drying and grooming.
Initially, Katie was afraid of Raspberry; the cow’s size and demeanor were intimidating. When Raspberry would misbehave, Katie thought that the cow didn’t like her. But through her hard work, perseverance and some help from her aunt Kris, Katie was able to build the confidence to take charge of the situation.
“I overcame the fear of my cow and the fear of her misbehaving,” Katie said. “I would run away, but now I hold on and make sure she’s not misbehaving.”
Katie’s dedication paid off when she won the Grand Champion prize at the fair. Raspberry was judged in the Market Class, which meant that the judges looked at things like quality, height, weight and build.
Katie’s mom Kerri Jensen said she feels that having the experience early on helps teach kids valuable traits as they grow up.
“I think it helps kids with a sense of work ethic and responsibility,” Jensen said.
Part of her enjoyment of seeing her daughter succeed also comes from the fact that she used to show cows.
“It’s charming to see your kids experience what you knew and loved as a child,” Jensen said.
The win has encouraged Katie to continue to pursue working with animals in the future.
“I always wanted to be a vet,” Katie said. “But this made me want to be one even more.”
Before that happens, Katie is planning to show again next year, in the Peewee Category, as Raspberry is going to have a calf by spring.
Katie looks back fondly on her experience with Raspberry.
“When you see their personality, it’s not just a cow. It’s like another person,” Katie said.