'Steer wars': P.E.I. brothers take to the ring at the annual Easter Beef Show

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'Steer wars': P.E.I. brothers take to the ring at the annual Easter Beef Show

The Potts brothers, nine-year-old Austin and six-year-old Nolan, will compete this week in the 66th edition of the Easter Beef Show and Sale — becoming the fourth generation of their family to be part of the annual event.

"It's like coming full circle," said proud mom Jill Potts, who was Grand Champion in 2002. 

"I loved it as a child and it's great to see my kids enjoy it as well."

Family connections

Her father and grandfather competed in the early days of the Easter Beef Show, and her husband's uncle, Carl Potts, won Reserve Grand Champion at the very first show. 

The Potts boys have attended the show since they were born. 

"They've always been around the show, I remember taking them in their car seats as babies," said Potts.

"The last couple of years we started letting them work on them a little bit more, for safety reasons obviously."

A steer of their own

Both boys have their own steers this year: Austin's is named Stewie and Nolan's is named Steve.

"They're out with them every day and it's really great to see the progress and how they're developing their skills with the cattle," said Potts.

Austin showed for the first time last year, finishing fourth out of five in his class, against adults, as he points out. This year, now that he's nine, he can compete in the 4-H class. 

"It's pretty cool because my grandfather did this and my mom did it," he said.

'Never let go'

The boys have been practising walking their animals in the barn.

"It's pretty hard, he can get stubborn," said Austin.

His advice for his younger brother: "Never let go of his steer."

"It'll be nerve wracking," admitted their mother.

"But I'm pretty confident that they know what they're doing, so I'm excited for them."

'Steer wars'

Jill Potts still has great memories for her early days competing at the Easter Beef Show.

"It teaches you a lot about competition, you win some and you lose some," she said. 

"I was Grand Champion, 4-H Champion over the years and I've also been at the bottom of the class."

There is also, she admitted, a friendly rivalry.

"Different people call it steer wars," she laughed. 

"As soon as the show's over, after about a week or so, then they start talking about the next show, so it's just friendly competition."

The number of animals competing this year is on par with last year. But Blair Campbell, president of the Easter Beef Show and Sale, is excited to see more young exhibitors.

"It's nice to see the young blood getting into the profession," said Campbell.

Thrill of victory

The money from the sale of the animals will go into the boys' education fund, the way it did when Jill Potts was growing up.

She's hoping her boys will someday too experience the thrill of victory at the Easter Beef show.

"You work at it for a lot of years to win the Grand Champion," she said.

"It's pretty exciting."

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