The Iowa State Fair Board on Friday upheld its earlier decision to disqualify the 2002 4-H grand champion market steer, reversing a decision by an administrative law judge.
Fair Board President C.W. Thomas said the board reviewed the evidence and concluded that Pickles, the steer shown at the fair by Jenna Sievers, of New Liberty, was not the same calf registered in December 2001.
The board relied on noseprint evidence and rate-of-gain claims, Thomas said.
"There were different red flags along the way that were still not answered by the Sievers," Thomas said. "The rate of gain on the steer did not look right at all."
Thomas said several board members are experienced cattle producers and could not believe Sievers' claim that the calf gained an average of 9 pounds a day over a 30-day period.
He said the mismatched nose prints also convinced the board to reverse the Nov. 26 decision of Judge John Priester, who concluded the champion steer was the same animal Sievers had registered months earlier.
Sievers, who was 16 when she showed Pickles, is the daughter of state Sen. Bryan Sievers and Lisa Sievers, publisher of the Muscatine Journal.
"Obviously we're very disappointed in their action today and it certainly is very frustrating that they continue to crush the spirits of a 17-year-old girl," Bryan Sievers said.
He criticized the board for ignoring Priester's ruling.
"I just think that the board obviously is partial and biased in this particular issue and they showed that today," he said.
Sievers said the family plans to appeal the board's ruling. They have 30 days to file.
Pickles sold for $16,000 but the money remains in escrow until the identity issue is resolved. The steer's carcass remains in a freezer at Iowa State University.