NORTHWOOD, Iowa – Worth County is honoring Janice Hullinger this week. On opening night of the fair, a statue of Hullinger, now Janice Norris of Unionville, MO., and her prize winning steer was unveiled. It’s a night she and her family won’t forget.
“I don’t think words can explain it,” says Hullinger.
When the Fair Board decided it was time to spruce up the fairgrounds with a statue, one idea rose above the rest.
“After they kind of decided to do that, I said well you know in 1954, we had a girl that was on the Ed Sullivan Show with a steer from our county,” says David Lawyer with the Beautification Committee.
Hullinger and her steer, Shorty, have quite the history together and it all began in Worth County.
In 1954, she was 16 years old and won grand champion in the county and took 2nd in the State Fair. Then, to her surprise, she and Shorty moved on to the international level and won the Grand Champion Junior Beef Award.
“It’s a whole different world up there,” says Hullinger.
She says they were “green, very green,” and didn’t know much about showing steers at the time. That’s why Bud McBride stepped in to help groom the steer. He was also present at the ceremony and shared some of their memorable experiences.
Since winning at the international level, life changed as she knew it. She was featured on magazine covers and even appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Her family also benefited from her success. One company came in to re-do their house and another provided a pump so they could get running water and outside hydrants for livestock.
“The guy upstairs has had a lot to do with all the things that have happened,” says Hullinger.
Now she hopes to be an inspiration for future generations of 4-H.
“I think when kids see that, and they hear the story they think that, hey I can maybe do that. I can go to the state fair, or even the national or international level. It motivates kids to maybe work harder and work with their calves more. Maybe even get some kids who were nervous about it involved in the cattle industry,” says former 4-H Cattle Showman Kelci Larson.
“One thing that I really hope will come from this is a lot of inspiration for 4-H kids and give them something to look forward to and to work for,” says Hullinger.
So this statue will serve as a reminder to kids for years to come.
If you want to see this statue in person, the Worth County Fair is going on until the 22nd.