Wayne County 4-Her sets record at State Fair show

Wayne County 4-Her sets record at State Fair show

Image Credit: Submitted

A Wayne County 4-Her accompanied by two Central Ohio celebrities helped set a fundraising record and won the hearts of spectators at the 2022 Dean’s Charity Steer Show at the Ohio State Fair.

Owen Bailey, 12, teamed up with WBNS 10 TV news anchor Angela An and Tom Feeney, retired chief executive officer of Safelite AutoGlass, to raise almost $68,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. It broke the record charity bid for the show, hosted by the Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Cathann A. Kress, Ohio State vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the agriculture college.

Thanks to strong fan support, Bailey’s team also won the People’s Choice Award by exhibiting his Angus-Maine crossbred steer named Milkface.

“Basically, it was (given based on) who had the most people cheering for them,” said Bailey, the son of Wooster veterinarians, Drs. Chad and Stephanie Bailey.

Banners also were given to the best steer, best dressed team of exhibitors and the showmanship winner.

Bailey said the biggest reward was helping people. "Giving back was pretty exciting."

This year’s event in the Ohio Expo Center’s Cooper Arena raised $240,000 for RMHC, far exceeding the $152,000 raised at the 2019 inaugural event. The show took a two-year hiatus before returning for the 2022 state fair.

Bailey was chosen to participate in the event based on his experience and success in Beef Exhibitor Show Total, an Ohio Cattlemen's Association youth program. BEST recognizes Ohio’s junior beef exhibitors for participation and placings through a series of sanctioned cattle shows that include showmanship.

After learning of his selection in January, Bailey met with An and Feeney over Zoom a couple of times, then joined them in March at the Ohio State Fairgrounds to train.

“I taught them everything I do with cattle,” Bailey said.

The day of the show, An and Feeney helped wash and groom Milkface — named for a white spot on his face that looks like he’s been drinking milk.

“We gave each other roles on what we were going to do in the show ring,” Bailey said. “Tom held the steer while Angela and I brushed it.”

A sale following the show was conducted just like a typical livestock sale; however, no animals traded places. It was all in the name of charity.

Bailey was responsible for his own online fundraising, adding $11,000 to his team’s total. For Feeney, raising a record-setting bid was personal. A longtime supporter of RMHC and a member of the Ronald McDonald House Hall of Fame, Feeney wanted one last hurrah for his cause before his retirement after a 35-year career with Safelite AutoGlass.

Neither Feeney or An had experience with livestock.

“They are very much city dwellers. Tom bought me a cowboy hat,” said Bailey, who sported the gift during the Celebrity Steer Show and the Ohio State Fair Junior Steer Show. “Angela went on air (the morning of the show) in her cowboy outfit.”

Later that day, she posted on her Facebook page, “And a huge thank you to Owen and the Bailey family for embracing this ‘city slicker’ into a day in the life of Milkface.”

“It is a wonderful event that celebrates agriculture and children, both our 4-H youth as well as youth who benefit from the amazing Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio,” Kress said.

Bailey, who joined 4-H as a Cloverbud member and has been involved with 4-H for seven years, said proceeds from the auction will help double the size of Ronald McDonald House, which serves as a home away from home for families while a child is being hospitalized. More than 4,500 families use the facility each year with 82,000 nights of lodging provided. It also is the largest Ronald McDonald House in the world with 137 guest rooms and 120,000 square feet of kitchens, dining areas, play rooms, laundry facilities, a meditation room, exercise room and informal gathering areas.

The Baileys have had family members need to use the facility. “So it’s nice to give back,” Stephanie Bailey said.

Giving pages for the Charity Steer Show will remain open until Aug. 31 at www.osu.edu/deanscharitysteershow.