HAMILTON, Mont. -

Local livestock exhibits always bring large crowds to the Ravalli County Fair.

Some of the most popular animals to see are the 4-H steers. The 1,000-plus pound animals are the end result of months of hard work for youngsters.

They're prepared for showmanship, judging and, at the end of the fair, for sale.

NBC Montana met young Tanner Pendergast washing his fat steer, Rowley. Rowley was getting squeaky clean.

"He's probably one of the nicest steers I've had," said Tanner. "He weighs 1,395 pounds."

Sam Kearney and his folks were getting Sam's steer Brutus ready.

It's a family affair. Sam's dad, Rich, said Brutus was a twin, and a bottle-fed calf.

"His mother wouldn't take him," said Rich. "So we bought him with the thought of making him into a market steer."

Now, after months of special feed, and a lot of TLC, Brutus is a steer with an appropriate name.

Fifteen-year-old Richard Hardy has been working with his steer for months. The Black Angus is a gentle giant, and a buddy.

"Getting close with your steer," said Richard, "is kind of like you and your dog, being close with your dog."

No doubt it will be tough for many kids when they sell their animals.

Raising steers takes a lot of money and time. When the buyers come for the 4-H sale on Saturday, 4-Hers are hoping their steers bring anywhere from $2 to $3 a pound.

Larry Trexler offered pointers to his grandson Cole. Cole was busy brushing his animal to make him look his best.

The Trexlers think they have a good steer. But young Cole said, "It depends on the judges."

"They like to see a lot of muscle in them," said Cole's grandfather, Larry. "And some length and width on top."

The Trexler family has been showing cattle at the Ravalli County Fair for 55 years. So they know cattle. It's not their first rodeo.

On Wednesday morning, dozens of steers, led by their owners to water and last minute baths, were looking top-notch for the big show.