One-on-One with Matthew Costello, state fair dairy cattle exhibitor

Frances Myers

The Iowa State Fair is nothing new for Matthew Costello, junior in dairy science. He has been showing dairy cattle at the fair for six years. Costello sat down with the Daily to discuss his experiences with the state fair in showing and how it has impacted his decision to major in dairy science here at Iowa State.

What are you showing this year?

This year at the state fair my family and I showed Registered Holstein and Ayrshire dairy cattle.

How long have you been showing at state fair?

I have been showing at the State Fair since I was 14. This year was my sixth year in a row.

Have you always showed the same livestock or were there ever years when you differed in what you showed?

I have always shown dairy cattle at the fair. There were several years that I showed FFA crops such as corn, oats and hay also.

How did you get involved with showing at the state fair?

I had relatives who had shown at the fair previously for several years. I decided to join them when I was 14 years old.

Do you have any favorite memories of showing?

My favorite memory of the fair is the fun I have with my family and friends.

How long do you typically work with your cattle?

I typically begin working extensively with my heifers near the beginning of June. Heifers are kept at my house and cared for year-round to ensure they are in top show quality.

What’s it like when you’re in the show ring? What goes through your head? Is there anything you do to prepare beforehand?

Being in the ring has the same feeling as any competition. You know your competitors and what they have. All you can do is show your animal to the best of her ability and hope the judge likes what you have. I’m always making sure my animal is being presented at her best while trying to figure out what the judge is thinking and whether I am going to win. I stay focused and concentrated. Preparation for the show always begins early in the morning when animals are cleaned and in top show quality.

So what is your favorite part of the state fair?

My favorite part is the opportunity to connect with others in the dairy industry and compare my hard work to theirs.

What are you looking forward to most?

I look forward to catching up with old friends and hopefully a few purple [first place] ribbons.

What is your least favorite part?

It’s August, and it is almost always hot. With all those animals in the barn it gets to be even hotter than what it is outside so you have to find ways to deal with it. It’s hard at times.

Do you have any goals you would like to achieve this year?

My goal this year was to be competitive in the ring. Competition is fierce at the state fair and winning a class is a huge honor.

How do you hope to use your experiences with showing dairy cattle to impact your future?

My experience showing dairy cattle lead me to choose my major in dairy science and lead me to be employed by CRV USA which is a dairy AI, [or artificial insemination,] stud and service company.