ANDERSON — The love of animals and going to the fair started Amber McCully's journey to the McDonald County Fair this past weekend.

ANDERSON — The love of animals and going to the fair started Amber McCully's journey to the McDonald County Fair this past weekend.
"I have always really loved animals," she said. "Then I saw some of my friends show, I said, 'man, I really want to do that.' I got with my mom and she said, 'well if we can find somebody with a cow.' My neighbor said, 'well I have a cow,' so I started showing with her and have been showing with her ever since."
This is McCully's third year showing, but when she was little, she attended the fair.
"My mom brought me even to these because I enter indoor exhibits," she said. "I love being here and seeing the different animals, watching the different shows, see how people bond with their animals. And how they take pride in it."
This year was a special year for her, as she not only showed animals, but also was a fair queen participant.
"I am showing a market steer, two production hens and one ginny - which is also a hen," McCully said. "My steer's name is 'O'Malley, I have always had an Disney obsession since I was little. I always wanted to do a Disney theme each year. I have O'Malley and then have my little calf which is Duchess. That is from Aristocrats."
Training the steer
"You start by just halter breaking them, just leaving the halter on them for a couple of days or weeks - however (long) it takes for them," she said. "Then I like to start by tying them up 30 minutes or to an hour just depends how hot it is. then untie them and let them go. Then I start leading them around, working with their feet with my show stick and then toward more of the fair, I then walking them at least an hour or an half day."
She feeds her steer grain and hay.
"I started out with steer my first year, then I wanted to do more, so she have me a heifer," she added.
There is a lot of work to do at the fair. One has to not only get their animal or animals ready for the fair showing, but also has to feed them, brush them, keep them cool - particularly in the heat - and also clean out the stalls.
Some fair participants even stay all the time with the animals even in the barn.
"I have never stayed all night, I have wanted to stay all night, I really have," said McCully. "I thought that it would be fun, just staying at the fair, going camping."
Asked what the fair has taught her, McCully said, "dedication, responsibility and hard work. More than the hard work than others."
McCully didn't win the title of McDonald County Fair Queen, but plans on showing next year.
"But I plan on expanding and showing sheep as well," she said. "I am very excited."