At this year’s Young County Junior Livestock Show, there were some surprise winners, and some not so surprising. By Friday morning, the last of the preparations were made as months and years worth of cultivating and grooming animals came down to two days at the Young County Arena.
As the judges examined each specimen, holding the hard work and ambition of each young contestant in their experienced analyses, some kids placed, and others came away with valuable advice; learning tools for future competitions.
Fresh fur took away the grand champion title for the rabbit category in that of 13-year-old Amanda Richards of Graham 4-H, with her heavyweight in the meat pen division. Taking the grand reserve spot was Shelby Ming, 18, of Olney FFA.
Last year’s rabbit grand champion was Hannah Hilton, who this year won the coveted grand champion spot for her impressive Yorkshire pig. And running away with the grand reserve slot for the swine category was Dustin Dunsford, whose champion OPB pig made the decision a tough call.
Last year, a young Jonathan Rogers representing Orth 4-H won it all in the goat competition, but this year he had to settle for grand reserve as Matthew Clayton won the top honors in 2014.
As for the lambs, Hunter Riggins showed the best specimen different classes.
As the Graham Leader reported last year, “a Riggins has won the lamb competition at the Young County Junior Livestock Show for so long, they’re not even sure how many years in a row it’s been.”
Fittingly, Hunter’s sister Brooke took away the grand reserve champion status in the lamb competition.
As Saturday morning came around, it was time for the big livestock, and a cacophony of moos filled the Young County Arena during the exhibition of five heifers and 19 steers.
4-H members carefully eyed the judge as they walked their four-legged beasts, some of which were a bit unruly at times, around the pen in the hope of placing and making a sale.
The division was created for the show largely thanks to the increased number of 4-Hers willing to show heifers this year.
Graham FFA member Ashton Reese won grand champion with her simmental heifer, and Graham FFA member Julianne Hampton’s charloais breed heifer landed the reserve champion honor.
As for steers, a surprised Shanna Gleason, Lone Star 4-H member, was thrilled that her exotic class 7 steer made grand champion this year. She didn’t expect her steer to make grand champion, and plans to show it at the upcoming Fort Worth Stock Show. Lone Star 4-H member Kirkland Reed donned a big smile when his exotic class five steer was selected as reserve grand champion. Taking home first place for senior showmanship of all of the cattle was Olney FFA member Hannah Hilton, whose exotic steer won first place in class 3. Junior showmanship winner was Ashton Reese for her simmental heifer.