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Iowan to show cattle at the fair for the first time in 55 years

Terry McMurry grew up on a family farm in Iowa surrounded my animals. He showed cattle at the State Fair as a teenager, but took 55 years off. Now he's back.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Kids and young adults have generally been known to dominate cattle and steer shows in the past at the Iowa State Fair.

But on Saturday, 70-year-old Terry McMurry will break age norms in the competition by participating in the cattle show for the first time since the 1960s.

McMurry says he met some fair staff inside the Cattle Barn on Thursday, and got to talking with them. After a few minutes, he shared his story, and the State Fair staff were in awe.

McMurry said everywhere he went, people kept telling him: “You’re back again at the Iowa State Fair with an animal.”

For McMurry, "back again" comes after 55 years. 

He told Local 5 on Thursday that the first time he went to show cattle at the State Fair, he was 13-years-old. McMurry said his father dropped him off on the fairgrounds with his cattle, and told him he was on is own for three days.

“My dad just turned me loose and let me stay here," he explained. "I was on my own as a 13-year-old boy."

After spending time in the dormitories and meeting new people who also competed in the cattle show, McMurry began to enjoy the fair.

But he only came back one other time: two years later in 1968.

Now in 2023, McMurry and his cow "Red Miss" will participate in the cattle show in Saturday to try and win the same ribbon he won back when he was a teenager.

"I’d be very pleased," McMurry said. "I’d feel good about that.”

McMurry's brother-in-law will also compete alongside Terry on Saturday, in what he calls "a great family thing."

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