Ask almost any girl showing at the Brown County Youth Fair, and she’ll likely admit that some day she’d like to be crowned Miss Brown County Fair Association.

Ask any Miss Brown County Fair Association contestant, and she’ll likely tell you she’s wanted the queen’s title since the first time she saw the contestants handing out the buckles or plaques at the youth fair.

But don’t ask the reigning Miss Brown County Fair Association — Katie Campbell — and expect a similar answer.

“I never really thought I’d be a contestant,” Campbell said. “My sister Courtney was a queen contestant, and I knew it was a lot of work and it would take a lot of time, and I just wasn’t sure I could manage it.

“But then I decided I would try out, and it was a lot of work, but it was worth it. I learned a lot and it really helped me.”

A 2007 graduate of Early High School, Campbell said she started showing animals and competing at the Youth Fair “as soon as I was old enough — I was 7, I think.”

And through the years, she’s shown steers, heifers, lambs, goats and pigs. She’s also competed in the home ec foods, crafts, canning and clothing categories.

“I got some of it from my mom and grandmother, and some of it is from my dad’s side, but I like it all,” Campbell said.

In 2006, Campbell showed the Grand Champion Steer at the Brown County Youth Fair, and the $6,100 premium she got for it is a Brown County Youth Fair record high.

That steer placed 10th at the Fort Worth Stock Show, she said, then this year she placed seventh at Fort Worth and fourth at Houston with her steers.

“I did pretty good. You get eight-something a pound, and steers weigh a lot. It’s good college money, at least that’s what this year’s money’s going for,” Campbell said. She’ll be starting college at Tarleton State University in Stephenville this fall.

“I used to spend the money to buy more animals, but since I can’t show any more …”

She misses it, already, she said. The lots at the ranch where she kept the animals are getting overgrown with weeds, and she said, she knows kids who will be showing are starting to buy their animals now.

“I liked working out there,” Campbell said. “It’s like having a whole bunch of pets. Steers I guess are my favorite. They’re stubborn animals, but they’re kind of like big dogs. You have to work with them a lot so they get used to you and you can lead them and show them.”

Katie said she really loved just about everything involved with showing animals.

“You get to know the kids in the ag programs here, because you’re going up against them year after year, and you compete, but you’re friends,” she said.

“Then when you go to the majors, you meet a whole bunch of people, but you have stuff in common with them, and they’re good to know.”

Campbell said showing animals is “a good experience. You learn a lot about a lot of things. It gives you a good work ethic, you gain a lot of skills.”

Katie is the daughter of George and Kim Campbell. Her parents, also Brown County products, were high school sweethearts, and Katie said, the ranch the family lives on has “been in our family for more than 100 years.”

Her grandparents are John Campbell of Brownwood and the late Virginia Petty Campbell and Jean Milam, also of Brownwood, and the late C.B. Milam.

“My mom and grandma and grandpa all rode in the Brown County Sheriff’s Posse, they were real active in that,” Katie said.

But for all the animals she’s shown, Katie said, she’s not really been a big horseback rider.

“I’m borrowing a horse for the rodeo parade, and the grand entry, and I’ll help bring the calves back at the rodeo,” she said. “But I’ve been having to practice. I’m kind of nervous, but I think it will be fun.”