Young handlers and their animals separate from the fashion herd in OC Fair costume contest

Take it from Samantha Stewart: Putting wings on a steer is hard.

But her experience in last year’s handler/animal fashion show at the Orange County Fair, when she and her steer won first place as “Toy Story”-inspired Jessie The Yodeling Cowgirl and Buzz Light-steer, enables her to give some advice to other young fair exhibitors who want to branch out into fashion design with their livestock: Make the costume easy to get on and off. And make sure the animal likes it.

Samantha’s know-how paid off at this year’s contest on Friday, where she repeated as a champion. This time her companion was a good-natured Hampshire swine named Hank — this day Hank the Bank, as in piggy bank. With Samantha, 17, he trotted around the show ring with a comically undersize glittery fedora strapped to his head and a half a giant quarter poking from his back.

“Most of the costume was already done,” said Samantha, an incoming senior at La Habra High School.

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