Agricultural History Series
Missouri State University
1904 St. Louis Worlds Fair
College Cattle Show
A barn located near the Livestock Forum housed a number of educational displays. This College Cattle Exhibit displayed an array of grade cattle provided by a number of agricultural colleges and experiment stations.
The College Cattle Exhibit was the one exhibit that was said to catch the eye of prominent breeder and feeder stockmen who were striving to master the art of raising beef for profit. This exhibit symbolized many of the ideas that were expressed in Professor Herbert W. Mumford’s bulletin No. 78. The exhibit consisted of 48 head of grade steers, heifers, cows, and bulls. These cattle were primarily to show the difference in market grades and classes of beef cattle as determined by the Chicago market. It included prime beef steers, stockers, feeders, and cutters and canners.
Many states contributed to this exhibit: Iowa State College donated the use of several blue-gray steers breed by crossing the Shorthorn and Galloway. Missouri provided several grade steers, which were also used in many experiments to determine the value of concentrates which are fed to steers on pasture. The University of Illinois sent three Holstein-Friesians and one nondescript animal to be used for dairy demonstrations and Kansas State Agricultural College furnished the novelty of the show, a four year old, 3,500 pound steer that was described as a “Red Bovine Mastodon.”
The showing of such animals was said to be the most useful and edifying display of the kind ever attempted by and experiment station or an agricultural college. The interest in this exhibit was so widespread that General Manager W. E. Skinner of the International Live Stock Exposition asked the Illinois station to duplicate the exhibit at Chicago the following year. All of the ideas expressed in the station were of great success.
There was one questionable exhibit, however. The “Red Bovine Mastodon” called Sampson was paraded in the Live Stock Forum under the banner of the Kansas State Agricultural College. This act was seen by some to be one of bad judgment and merely an effort to advertise the institution. Although the 3500-pound Samson was memorable, his presence was said to be of questionable educational value. Some complained that it was unfortunate that this monstrous steer could occupy a stall in the same barn with all of the uniformly good cattle. However, there were a number of visitors who would most likely not have paid any attention to this exhibit if not for Sampson. The state of Kansas was so proud of their big steer that his was the first photo included in the livestock section of the World's Fair book.
The 3,500 pound steer, Sampson.
Sampson was 9 feet 10 inches long and 6 feet high
References: Breeders Gazette, November, 1904.
Photos from the Irwin Collection.
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