MAHASKA COUNTY — Kinley Lobberecht led her steer into the Southern Iowa Fair sale ring early Saturday morning.
The duo stood patiently as fairgoers bid on the 1,223-pound animal. Southern Iowa Merchants purchased the steer, which will be shown at the Iowa State Fair Governor's Charity Steer Show by celebrity handler Matt Gunn, of Wood Iron Grille.
Funds raised from the Governor's Charity Steer Show will benefit Ronald McDonald Houses in Iowa. The houses are available for families in need of a place to stay while a loved one is seeking treatment for health concerns.
Clayton Heston, with Southern Iowa Merchants, said the Iowa State Fair event has raised over $3.2 million, or around 270,000 nights accommodation for families.
"Ronald McDonald houses in Iowa have helped over 44,000 Iowans," he said, "more than 8,000 families from all 50 states and more than 60 families from foreign countries."
According to information from Southern Iowa Merchants, the Lobberecht family's youngest son was diagnosed with viral meningitis at one month of age and was taken to Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines with a temperature of 105 degrees.
"The Lobberechts were grateful that the Ronald McDonald House option was available for them to use if and when they needed it," the release stated.
The Southern Iowa Merchants thanked all those who made donations for the event.
"Without all these donations it would be impossible to take a steer up to the Governor Steer Show to sell with all proceeds going to the Ronald McDonald Houses."
Twenty-five participants from around the state will be sending a steer to the Governor's Charity Steer Show, Heston said.
"Other groups, some of them choose political people like the governor. There will be some people that will choose a law officer or military person. I know two groups that will choose rodeo queens like miss Iowa Rodeo and Miss Iowa Rodeo Princess," he said. "Then people in the community, like we chose Matthew Gunn. And the other one, this one kind of gets big support from the crowd, Ronald McDonald House, people that use the Ronald McDonald House or people that had cancer and survived."
Gunn will have a chance to watch Kinley work with the steer and get some pointers on how to handle the steer.
Heston said the 25 selected exhibitors will volunteer some time at a Ronald McDonald house, working with maintenance, cleaning and even building a bike.
The Governor's Charity Steer Show is Saturday Aug. 10. Heston said the celebrity exhibitors, including Gunn, will also get to see how the steers are prepped for the show. Kinley will give Gunn some showmanship advice.
The event will take place in the pavilion, which, Heston said, is often jam packed with people.
A judge will pick the top five steers, Heston said, and will choose a celebrity exhibitor with best showmanship, and there will also be a people's choice award given.