Archive for Wednesday, September 8, 1999


September 8, 1999


Area residents made suggestions for changes for future fairs at the board meeting Tuesday night.

Trying to stop a slew of rumors surrounding this year's Douglas County Free Fair grand champion steer, the president of the fair board said there was no evidence of illegal substances in the animal.

"The results of tests performed on the animal do not show any results of tampering," fair board president Francis Thomas said. "There is no justification for any punitive action to be taken by the fair board against the owner of the steer."

Thomas made the comments Tuesday night during a fair board meeting at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds.

He said a whirlwind of rumors has been circulating that the grand champion steer shown by Sarah Buttenhoff of Baldwin had been treated with illegal substances, including steroids.

"I think the people who owned that steer were given a tremendous disservice," he said.

The Buttenhoff family could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

Thomas said meat from the steer was tested both at state and federal government laboratories.

A report on those tests by Gerry Stokka, a Kansas State University Extension veterinarian, and by Butch Kruckenberg, director of food safety for the Kansas Department of Agriculture, verified no illegal or hazardous substances, Thomas said.

Following Thomas' comments, none of about 30 people who attended the meeting mentioned this year's grand champion steer during about two hours of public comment time.

However, members of the crowd made several suggestions for future fairs, including drug testing of champion steers and random testing of other animal entries.

Melissa Colgan, president of the Douglas County Beefmaster 4-H Project, suggested that the board also prohibit 4-Her's from "fitting" their animals, or using spray paint, tape and other substances before showing them.

But Lawrence resident Rocky Swearingen said the board should think twice before adopting changes that could "punish" children who work hard at raising and showing their animals.

The board took no action on any of the recommendations, but members said they would consider changes this fall.

"We'll look at some possible changes, but nothing too drastic," Thomas said.

-- Michael Dekker's phone message number is 832-7187. His e-mail address is

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