The Bontekoe brothers can boast of bovines that have grown to behemoth proportions. Jack and Cal Bontekoe of Deerfield Township raised two dairy steers with a combined weight of more than 3,300 pounds, the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus of Howell reported in an article published Friday.
Nester, a dairy steer raised by Jack, 16, tipped the scales at 2,157 pounds. That's far above the typical weight of 1,600 pounds.
"I'm eye-level with his back," Jack said. "He was a large calf when me and my dad pulled him."
A midget Holstein named Midge was 10-year-old Cal's creature, weighing in at 1,177 pounds.
"It taught me responsibility and taught me steers are really nice animals," Cal said. "They just need to get used to you."
The brothers, whose family owns a dairy farm with 300 cattle, entered the steers in the Fowlerville Family Fair through a 4-H club, hoping to take home grand champion and reserve awards for livestock.
They didn't win — Jack said the judge called his steer "too big" and Midge was deemed "too beefy-looking."
Still, the experience was rewarding, they said.
"We're out there every day — feeding them, training them — but in the end, it's worth it," Jack said.
"I just like having him," Cal said of Midge. "It's really a good feeling."
And it wasn't a total loss. Nester could be sold for slaughter at $1 a pound, netting Jack more than $2,000.
"It's tough to see them leave, but you get used to it," he said.