You Write It Contest Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our You Write It Contest in the January 14, 2013, issue. We couldn’t have written these articles better ourselves!

Click here to read the You Write It interview that inspired these articles.

Check out the winning entries below:

“Raising a Champ”

Leah G.
Alexandria, LA

Hailee Sims, 15, from Yuma, Arizona, raises farm animals at her home. She raises rabbits, pigs, and steers, which are large cows used for beef. Hailee enters some of her animals into state fairs, where the prizes go to the best steers.

Hailee works hard to raise her animals. On a daily basis she gets up at 5 a.m. to feed and rinse the cows and pigs. She must be at school by 7:30 a.m., and gets home at 3 p.m. During after-school hours, Hailee does her homework, then takes care of the animals again. Hailee has many responsibilities, but she enjoys taking care of her animals. She says that steers are like dogs, only bigger, and are energetic and playful. “I love the challenge of raising them,” Hailee explains.

Conditioner, blow-drying, and hair products. Sounds like Hailee is getting ready to go somewhere. Actually, Hailee used all these items to prepare Mully, her champion steer, for the fair. She washed and dried Mully’s coat, using conditioner to make it look shiny. She used a hairspray-like substance for his legs, and even paint to make his dark coat more even. Hard work doesn’t stop here, though! Hailee had to face the judge. Hailee walked her steer in circles around the ring while the judge carefully inspected him. “I knew Mully was doing well because the judge couldn’t stop watching him,” Hailee explains.

Luckily, the judge did find something interesting in Mully and selected him as the winner. Sadly, not everything was to be celebrated. After they won, Mully was sold at an auction to be taken to a slaughterhouse. It was hard, but Hailee had to say goodbye.

Hailee is currently raising three pigs and two cows. In college she plans to study something in the field of agriculture. She worked hard to raise Mully and win champion, and she will surely miss him.

Kennedy K.-B.
Leitchfield, KY

Raising a champion animal is hard work, but fifteen-year-old Hailee Sims from Yuma, Arizona is up for the challenge. Hailee has been raising animals for six years. She has raised rabbits and pigs, and she raised a steer named Mully.

Raising a steer is a lot of work and responsibility. But, it is a job that Hailee does not just enjoy, but loves. She says, “It’s like having a dog, except bigger. They play and run. And I love the challenge of raising them.” Hailee is very dedicated to raising her animals. She spent long hours every day taking care of Mully.

Hailee has to go to school at 7:30 a.m. like every other kid. But, her day begins much differently from everyone else’s. She has to get up at 5 a.m. to feed and clean the cows and pigs. Most kids come home, do their homework, then do activities like play video games, talk to their friends on the phone, or even to go to the mall. But, Hailee’s activities are different. After homework, she “takes care of the animals for three or four more hours.”

Just recently, Hailee’s steer, Mully, won the Arizona State Fair’s top award. Getting ready for the state fair takes even more time and work than usual. She had to make Mully nearly perfect. She had to wash him so he would be all nice and clean. Then she had to dry him with a big hair dryer. She then uses a special conditioner to make Mully look silky and shiny.

After all her preparation, she had to let the judge inspect him by walking Mully in a pattern around the ring. But after he won, the hardest part of all came. He had to be sold at a beef auction, which is where steers are sold for meat. Then, Hailee had to say goodbye forever. It was sad for her and her whole family because they knew he was going to the slaughterhouse.

She will miss Mully, but “raising your first steer is something you’ll never forget,” Hailee said. Even though that was tough for Hailee, she is still raising animals and she hopes to study agriculture when she goes to college.

Caroline C.
Xenia, OH

You will not find many high school girls who are willing to get up before the sun rises. The few that do are usually conditioning and blow-drying their own hair, not their cow’s.

Fifteen-year-old Hailee Sims found her passion in the barnyard about six years ago when she first began raising animals at her home in Yuma, Arizona. She started small, raising rabbits and pigs. But now, Hailee is winning big titles, especially for her steers.

A typical day for Hailee begins at 5:00am, when she feeds and rinses the animals. But her work is only beginning. Just because she is an expert with the animals doesn’t mean she can skip school. She starts school at 7:30 and gets home at 3:00

After homework, she devotes much of her afternoon and evening to caring for her animals. Yes, raising animals is hard work, but Hailee told us that she enjoys doing it. “It’s like having a dog, except bigger. They play and run. And I love the challenge of raising them,” says Hailee.

All of Hailee’s hard work paid off when her steer, Mully, won first place at the Arizona State Fair. There was a lot involved in preparing Mully to be a top competitor for the fair. A makeover for Mully included washing and drying his hair. Then he got a coat of hair spray on his legs and a lather of conditioner to add extra shine to his coat. For his big debut, he was also touched up with some black paint to even out his darker colors.

When Mully’s moment came to impress the judges, Hailee walked him into the pen and led him in a pattern. “I knew Mully was doing well because the judge couldn’t stop watching him,” Hailee said about Mully’s performance at the fair. The judge was, indeed, impressed, and he and Hailee went home with the blue ribbon.

It was gloomy day for Hailee and her family when they had to send their champion steer and friend to the beef auction. “My whole family didn’t want to lose Mully, but you really can’t keep a steer,” Hailee said. It is always hard to say good-bye, but as Hailee looks back on the whole experience, she says that “raising your first steer is something you will never forget.”

The young farmer is still raising animals, and she plans to continue her passion for animals in college where she will like to study something related to agriculture. She put forth many hours of work raising and caring for Mully, and not only was she raising Mully to be a champion, she was also becoming a champion herself.


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