‘Cow Whisperer’ and His 1,400-Pound Steer Capture Awards — and Hearts — at State Fair
Farm| | By Jason Owen
A 1,400-pound steer and its owner were the talk of the Iowa State Fair, but it wasn’t simply because of the size of the steer. It was the 11-year-old “cow whisperer” in his wheelchair leading the giant animal. As an infant, Alec Gotto suffered a neurological disorder that has left him paralyzed. Gotto uses a motorized wheelchair to get around. Due to his condition, conventional wisdom might suggest leading around 1,000-pound cattle would be impossible. But Gotto isn’t allowing his disability to stop him from doing what he loves.
“The kid is stubborn,” said Carrie Gotto, his mother. “If he wants to do something, he’ll do it.” When Alec wanted to lead J.D. (short for John Deere), their massive 1,400-pound steer, through the livestock pavilion at the Iowa State Fair, his parents were understandably concerned. A steer that size could easily get spooked and take off, potentially hurting young Alec, but it seems the young man has a special talent with the animals. “Whenever [my husband] Chad and I try and take one of [the steers] and lead it, they’ll be bucky, but when Alec gets right up next to it, it’s as calm as can be,” Carrie Gotto said. His parents have called Alec the “cow whisperer” due to his natural talents. Those talents were on full display during the Governor’s Charity Steer Show, when Alec led J.D. into the pavilion to a rousing standing ovation that reportedly gave at least one attendee “goosebumps.” Alec and J.D. didn’t end up bringing home the top prize, but they were awarded the People’s Choice Award. Watch the incredible moment below, and SHARE this story if you believe anything is possible if you have the will to do it.
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