GIRARD — This year, two brothers learned about taking care of bucket calves for the 4-H calf competition.

The Droessler children, Kolton, Conner and Mackenzie have been participating in the 4-H pig competition since they were allowed to enter at age seven.

Mackenzie and her brothers brought their pigs along, but this year the boys had bigger animals in mind — calves.

The boys got up every morning and afternoon before and after school and fed and groomed their little calves Axle and Tank — at the time only 50 pounds.

“They are doing a really good job,” Their mother Marlana Droessler said before the competition. “They have been very dedicated to the calves.”

The six-month-old calves are now over five times that size, Axle at the weight of 248 pounds and Tank at 340 pounds — full grown they can get to be over 1,000 pounds.

Kolton said he named his calf Axle in memory of a friend’s dog and Conner said he named his Tank because of its sheer size.

At the competition, the brothers had to know as much as possible about calves — such as diet, pieces of meat on calves and other questions ranging from general to complex depending on the child’s age and judge.

Marlana Droessler said they practiced for weeks before the competition, going over potential questions.

While waiting for the competition to start, their mother said people kindly shared tips and tricks — she was thankful because they were all knew to calf competitions.

“Everybody has been so willing to help people out here,” Marlana Droessler said, looking across the rows of stalls. “They had pointers and tips and helped show how things are done.

“Next year we can do the same, just as we did with the pigs.”

The brothers brushed their calves one more time and practiced putting on the halter before the competition. Kolton and Conner’s knowledge of calves, quality of calf and showmanship were about to be put to the test.

Kolton went first, he led his calf into the arena as the judge announced his and his opponents names. The judge shared his thoughts about his showing — he praised Kolton for his knowledge of his calf and having his calf set properly. Kolton received fourth place in his age group.

Next, Conner went in with his age group. The judge praised Conner for his knowledge as well and his showmanship. Conner’s face grew into a big smile when the judge announced him as first place in his age group.

The brothers said they plan on coming back for the bucket calf competition next year.