Cox racks up wins at State Fair
SPRUCE PINE – When Colton Cox was about to turn 8 years old, he asked for a weed trimmer for his birthday. The next year, he asked for a leaf blower.
“I was happy to buy him both of those,” said Eddie Cox, Colton’s father. “He’s always been that type of kid and that is why he’s so good at what he does.”
Since he was 10, Colton has bought, raised and sold his own cows. After a trip to Triple T Farms in Nancy, Kentucky, Colton decided he wanted to buy a $2,000 calf. Eddie told Colton he would have to evaluate his financial situation – money he had saved from mowing lawns and doing other odd jobs – to determine if he had the $2,000 needed.
“On our drive home, we got a call from Tim Tarter, owner of Triple T Farms,” Eddie said. “He told Colton he could have the calf, raise it and sell it and they could split the money. It’s what he has wanted to do ever since.”
The partnership with Colton is one of which Tarter is proud.
“Colton is an exceptional young man and we take a lot of pride in helping young people,” Tarter said. “I like to think of myself as a pretty good judge of character and we definitely chose the right person. He is a dedicated, hardworking young man who just eats, sleeps and breathes these animals. Young people like Colton are rare and we are glad we found him.”
Colton, 14, has made quite a name for himself showing cattle. A member of McDowell County 4-H, the Tri-County Christian School freshman has already accomplished more than most 4-H’ers do in a lifetime, and oftentimes it seems like destiny.
When his cow was disqualified from the Angus Show at the recent North Carolina State Fair because of an incorrect tattoo, Colton decided to enter the commercial category.
“There were about 40 cows in the Angus Show and about 130 in the Commercial Show,” Eddie said. “We were disappointed because we knew he could easily win the Angus Show and we didn’t know what to expect in the Commercial.”
The disqualification caused Colton to miss out on the Blue Ribbon for the Angus Show, but his win in the Commercial Show not only garnered him the coveted Blue Ribbon, but also a $1,000 scholarship.
“We were disappointed for sure,” Colton said. “So I entered the Commercial show and was wondering if it would pay off.”
Colton went on to win Grand Champion in Junior Market Steer/Junior Beef Heifer Showmanship and Junior Heifer Calf Showmanship. He also won Reserve Grand Champion in Junior Female Beef Cattle Show and Supreme Drive Reserve Grand Champion, which is the No. 2 overall cow out of the nearly 400 in competition at the fair.
“I have always wanted to win the championship at the state fair,” Colton said.
These accolades were just some of Colton’s already banner year. He has also won Champion Angus, Reserve Champion Angus, Reserve Champion All Other Breeds and Reserve Supreme Champion Heifer at the Mountain State Fair Saturday, Sept. 9, and Champion Angus, Champion All Other Breeds, Reserve Supreme Champion, Champion Got to be NC Angus heifer and Reserve Supreme Champion Got to be NC Heifer at the Mountain State Fair Sunday, Sept. 10. He claimed a first-place win in the intermediate division at the Black Hereford junior nationals this past July in Bowling Green, Kentucky, as well.
“This all began five years ago when we bought him two steers to see how serious he was,” Eddie said. “He saved up money he earned from mowing lawns and sold his dirt bike to get money to buy a red Hereford. He finished last in every show he was in back then. When he finished next-to-last, we all thought it was great.”
Colton next travels to Sedalia, Missouri, for the American Black Hereford National Show and Sale and then goes back to Raleigh for the North Carolina Livestock Judging Contest, which he won No. 1 overall in the state in the latter in 2016.
As for his partnership with Tarter and Triple T Farms, Colton described it in one word.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “It’s been a great deal on both sides and they have done everything they can to help me.”