Cowabunga! Biggest steer title challenged

Kellie Balaam and Cally DupeCountryman
Big steer Norm and his owner Rob Atkins.
Camera IconBig steer Norm and his owner Rob Atkins. Credit: Cally Dupe

In a case of one-upmanship that could only originate in the wild west, a cattle farmer is challenging the title of “WA’s biggest steer” from media-superstar Knickers.

Wagin Woolorama president Howie Ward believes Norman is the heaviest in WA, taking on the whopping 1.94m tall, 1400kg Knickers who set social media alight in 2018.

The heavyweight newcomer tips the scales at well over 1400kg — but his exact weight hasn’t been revealed yet as part of a fundraising scheme.

“Norman is not as tall but we are claiming he’s the biggest steer in the State,” Mr Ward said.

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“It is not about competing with Knickers, but we would love to put them together one day.”

Big steer Norm with his owner Rob Atkins.
Camera IconBig steer Norm with his owner Rob Atkins. Credit: Cally Dupe

Norman and his owner Rob Atkins will be at this year’s Wagin Woolorama on March 6 and 7, and will help raise funds for breast cancer victims with a “guess the weight” game.

Mr Atkins bought Norman in 2015 from Hearts Dairy in Mt Barker, raising him from a calf with the help of his daughter-in-law.

He normally keeps dairy cows for a year but after his daughter-in-law lost her pet dog, he decided to keep Norman at her seven-acre property in Cuballing.

“He’s been fed well... he has definitely had more dinners than dinner times,” Mr Atkins said.

“A friend... said he might not be as tall as Knickers, but he thinks Norman is definitely heavier.”

The heavyweight steer has a new protege to keep him company, after finding a best friend in a heifer on Mr Atkins’ Dumbleyung farm.

The pair’s friendship and Norman’s enormous size resembles the situation of Brunswick steer Knickers, who attracted global attention when he appeared in an ABC story online.

Knickers is owned by Myalup farmer Geoff Pearson, who helped to raise thousands of dollars for the Blue Tree Project at the Brunswick Show last year.

Handling Norman is a challenging task, but Mr Atkins said he was a happy traveller.

Big steer Norm.
Camera IconBig steer Norm. Credit: Cally Dupe

“I just have to be careful unloading him from trucks, because if he broke his leg it would be all finished,” he said.

“Once you put him in the truck, there is not much room for anyone else.”

Mr Atkins admits Norman would be “worth a couple of bucks”, but says he is “not allowed to sell him”.

“He will have a long and happy life with me,” he said.

Norman will be part of a “guess the weight” of the steer competition at the Wagin Woolorama, with proceeds going towards a breast cancer fundraiser.

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