WELLINGTON, Ohio - Veterinarian William Fox makes sure the Lorain County Fair is fair.
Fox takes hair and urine samples from grand prize-winning steers, hogs and other livestock at the fair. In the livestock competition, there's a lot at stake.
While many best- in-show competitions feature youth, adults can show their livestock and win prizes in the open competition. Prize money at the county fair reaches $10,000 and there was recently a $70,000-winner at the Ohio State Fair.
Like million-dollar athletes recently in the news for taking performance-enhancing drugs to be bigger, faster and stronger, the state wants local veterinarians to make sure no cheaters try to cash in at the fair.
Not only is prize money going up, but a winning steer can be sold for thousands of more dollars than steers that don't win.
Fox tests livestock for PEDs, anti-inflammatories and tranquilizers. Not only would using those drugs be cheating, it's unhealthy because a lot of the livestock at the county fair goes to market for human consumption.
Cheating is rare. There hasn't been a positive test for PEDs in livestock at the Lorain County Fair in more than five years.
Statewide, there have been only a couple of reports of positive tests. But as prize money increase, Fox said so could the risk of someone trying to take a shortcut to winning.
The Lorain County Fair is being held at the fairgrounds in Wellington this week and runs through Sunday.