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For 17-year-old Amy Pecora, spending hours each day in the barn at her parents’ Harrison City farm has paid off.
Pecora recently was awarded Reserve Champion Crossbred Steer and Reserve Grand Champion Steer at the 2022 Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg after presenting her steer named Charlie.
“I did not expect to win it at all, but I do put in a lot of effort in the barn 24/7,” said Pecora, a senior at Penn-Trafford High School. “I’m there from 6 am to whatever time it ends at night, so I really don’t ever get a break. It’s my full-time job. But I never really expected it. Winning it, I’m beyond grateful.”
During the show, animals are judged on the amount of body fat, how they walk and their hair coat.
To prepare, Pecora created a hair care routine for Charlie, who was bathed, blow-dried and conditioned each day. He also ate high protein, high fat feed to help his skeletal structure.
“It’s like any everyday process of making sure their hair is good, making sure their weight gain is on track, making sure their feed is good for their type of bodies,” Pecora said.
In addition to the farm show, Pecora also presented Charlie, who she purchased last February, at shows in Massachusetts, Delaware, Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia. In each of those shows, Charlie placed in the top five. Following the farm show, Pecora sold Charlie for $10,000, according to a release from the state’s Department of Agriculture.
“I think when I won, it was more of an emotional roller coaster because I was so happy, but I was just so relieved that my hard work paid off,” she said. “It was like an emotional roller coaster. And then selling him, I had to sell him on Tuesday at the sale, and that was hard getting rid of your best friend.”
Pecora has had a successful career in showing cattle and pigs since her parents introduced her in 4-H at the age of 8.
In 2017, her 277-pound pig, named Tyrone, was named Grand Champion Market Hog at the Westmoreland Fair. Two years later, she took home a livestock garner ribbon for the Division III Championship, swine showmanship. Recently, Pecora won Champion Steer and Champion Showman Steer at the county fair.
“I think she’s doing great,” said Pecora’s mother, Amanda. “She sets the standards, and she works hard to reach her goals; she really does. I never have to preach to her to do any of her work. You tell her to get it done, and it’s done. She’d rather be doing this than anything else, really.”
As Pecora inches toward graduation, she plans on attending Westmoreland County Community College so she can still work on the farm and show animals. Her major is undecided, but she plans to study a field related to animals, such as vet tech or animal nutritionist.
“You kind of just have a passion toward it like someone has a passion toward playing a sport,” Pecora said. “It’s kind of like our sport, but with animals.”
Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .