Steers and Oxen have long been used in the world as a means of transportation as well as for work in the fields such as pulling a plow and in the woods to haul logs. The steers are male bulls that are neutered at an early age. Up to the age of 4 they are classified as steers. Once they are 4 years or older they are classified as oxen. A fully grown ox can weigh as much as 3,000 pounds resulting in a team weighing over 6,000 pounds. At Fryeburg Fair 2017 the heaviest pair of show oxen was 5,076 pounds and the largest single ox was 2,548.
The tradition of steer and oxen coming to Fryeburg Fair came about as teamsters joined together in the late summer and fall to present their cattle in competitions and garner bragging rights for the best pair, best matched, best working and best pulling. These events can be seen on Monday at Fryeburg Fair with a yoking demonstration of all the breeds. On Wednesday we have a photo shoot of the world’s largest assembly of yoked cattle. On Wednesday and Thursday we have competitions for Best Pair and Best Matched. And finally on Sunday a Scooting contest to demonstrate how well they maneuver an obstacle course.
Teamsters can be of any age or gender with some starting as young as 7 years old and then well into their 90’s. You will also see multiple generations of teamsters where grandparents, their children and grandchildren from the same families are participating.
Come and see over 100 pairs of steers and oxen demonstrating, working or pulling. We have had up to 75 teamsters bringing 117 teams. They come from all of New England, Pennsylvania and New York with over 13 breeds represented: Holstein, Devon, Shorthorn, Swiss, Randall, Hereford, Linebacker, Jersey, Normandy, Chianina, Dutch Belt, Dexter, Ayrshire and many other crossbreeds.