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Students pick the perfect name for their Manatee County Fair animals

Whether it's for laughs, a reference to a favorite food or a tradition, students put thought into picking an animal's name.

Isabelle Monroe, a senior at Lakewood Ranch High School, loves showing cows at the Manatee County Fair. She names each of her cows after a car part of maker.
Isabelle Monroe, a senior at Lakewood Ranch High School, loves showing cows at the Manatee County Fair. She names each of her cows after a car part of maker.
Photo by Liz Ramos
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Isabelle Monroe, a senior at Lakewood Ranch High School, grabbed a leash and put it on her steer, Nitro. 

She had a little trouble getting Nitro to walk at first, but once he felt the cold air on her coat Dec. 15, he was walking with a pep in her step. Monroe said steers love the cold. 

Braden River High School's Jacob Zinkhan always names his animals after a type of cheese. His pig is Parmesan.
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Monroe has been working with Nitro since April to get him ready to show at the Manatee County Fair, which runs Jan. 11-21.

She has been showing animals in the Manatee County Fair since she was in sixth grade at Carlos E. Haile Middle School and showed a chicken. 

But Monroe wanted to challenge herself, so she decided to start showing cows the following year and fell in love with it. 

Monroe always has named her cows after car parts or car makers. Her first cow as a seventh grader was named Bentley. Hemi and Mercedes followed. 

She said this year was the most difficult to find the right name. She’s already used what she considered “all the good ones,” but then she thought of Nitro, which Dodge used for a compact SUV from 2007-2012. 

“He’s a little guy, but he can run fast,” Monroe said of her steer. 

Having a unique name also is a way Monroe hopes she can get the attention of judges at the fair and potential buyers at the fair's auction. 

Each of the students and FFA advisors name the animals they show at the Manatee County Fair, but all of them have their own approaches. 

Myakka City Elementary School's Ryker Anderson names his pig Chomper because Chomper always is chewing on people's shoes.
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Some students like to name their animals after they learn more about their animal’s personality or its looks while others name them after their favorite foods. 

Ryker Anderson, a student at Myakka City Elementary School, named his pig Chomper because he found Chomper always chewing on someone’s shoes. 

At Braden River High School, Jacob Zinkhan named his pig Parmesan and his heifer Brie to go along with the cheese names he’s been giving his animals. 

Zinkhan said he chose cheese names because it’s one of his favorite foods, and he found the names funny. He said although the names were chosen mainly for humor, each animal grew into the name he gave them.

“The best part is that every morning when I call out my animals’ names, it makes me smile,” he said. “The main reason I named my heifer Brie was because it was the only cheese name that sounded somewhat feminine, and the tartness of brie cheese fits my heifer’s sassy personality.”



Liz Ramos

Liz Ramos covers education and community for East County. Before moving to Florida, Liz was an education reporter for the Lynchburg News & Advance in Virginia for two years after graduating from the Missouri School of Journalism.

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