Ox Takes Home Record Prize - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Ox Takes Home Record Prize

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Randolph, Vermont - November 2, 2009

His name is Crockett and he calls Vermont home. But he's known far and wide as a national champion. Crockett, the ox, just brought home the championship ribbon for the fourth time in a row.

In Vermont, you wouldn't think twice if you saw a herd of cows crossing the road, but what about a 3,158 pound oxen strolling down the street?

This is Crockett the ox, and he's a pretty amazing animal. Not just because he's big and beautiful, but because he just took home the top prize in the national show at the Fryeberg Fair in Maine. That's the largest gathering of oxen in the world.

"To ox people it's like the Winchester Dog Show is to dog people," said Crockett's owner Gail Billings.

It's a significant honor to win just once, but what about four times?

"No one had ever repeated. When he got it the third time that was really awesome and to get it this year, the fourth time was just the frosting on the cake," replied Billings.

The judges look at a number of things. First, his confirmation. They want a nice straight line across his top. They don't like rolling fat, but they do like four strong legs.

"They call it good pine or a good foundation under that body. He should be like a brick on four toothpicks. Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop. He's also very nosy! Laughs," said Billings.

But he's pretty friendly, too. So when he's not in the show ring just what DOES he do with his seven other oxen friends on the farm?

"What do you do with him?" asked Bridget Barry-Caswell.

"I play with them more than anything. They're our pasture ornaments, but I always wanted oxen as a child. In 1991 my husband asked what I wanted for Christmas and I told him my own pair of steers. Santa delivered," answered Billings.

Gail Billings gives senior citizens down the road a present of their own. She often takes Crockett down for visits, to rekindle the memories of those whose families raised oxen and worked them in the fields long ago. But to her, they're just her babies.

Don't be surprised if you run into Crockett one of these days. He makes appearances at town parades, and was most recently a big hit at the Champlain Valley Expo and the Tunbridge World's Fair.

Bridget Barry-Caswell - WCAX News


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