Eastern Sierra Future Farmers of America and 4-H Club student agriculturists are once again showing their hand-raised livestock and showmanship skills at the 2013 Junior Livestock Show through Saturday, July 13 at the Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fairgrounds in Bishop.
The show features 179 Inyo, Mono, Douglas and Alpine county student exhibitors, ages 5-19, and plenty of market class livestock – 81 hogs, 16 beef, 65 lambs, 86 turkeys and six rabbits – as well as a goat and chicken stock, said Fair Secretary Rebecca Bragdon. See page 3 for a complete schedule of events.
On Friday, after three days of competition, the Selection of Champion beef, sheep and swine and exhibitor Master Showmanship will be held. Showmanship is judged under pressure with animal grooming, presentation and control skills under close scrutiny.
In Saturday’s line-up, exhibitors display livestock judging skills in the Cattlemen’s Judging Contest; handlers and animals don creative Beauty Contest costumes; and Little Britches Showmanship youngsters, who are ineligible to exhibit, show someone else’s animal. The buyer’s tri-tip-and-pork-loin dinner will be served free to registered buyers and $7 per person to the public. Folks can make add-on donations to support specific competitors without buying an animal. At the day’s grand finalé auction, the public can bid on natural, local livestock. Veteran auctioneer Richard Reel will call the auction again this year and Maria Kemp and Lianne Talbot will take over from Carl Lind as proxy bidders and resale and multiple-party purchase managers. “Carl did an amazing service for those kids for 41 years; I was one of them. We appreciate everything Carl did for the community and the show,” said Kemp.
One other change this year, is in the goat population. Lone Pine High School FFA student Jessie Mobley explained, “The 4-H kids have put in a lot of work with goats at the farm. We’ve tripled our number of goats.”
From start to finish, Junior Livestock Show participation is a learning experience for exhibitors. They learn about livestock selection, be it a 500-pound steer or a few ounces of wobbly poultry. Youngsters acquire life skills – time and financial management, total animal care, problem solving, competition and marketing – and strengthen their hard work, dedication, responsibility, accountability and sportsmanship ethics – all while handling academic, family and social obligations and attending agricultural/showmanship workshops.
According to Bragdon, the Jr. Livestock Show is “the culmination of months of hard work, a chance to reward these kids for the responsibility they’ve taken to care for something” and for learning how to deal with their grief in “the circle of life. The ultimate goal is not to have a pet but to raise a product that is desirable to consumers. For my own kids (who compete), it is rewarding” when someone compliments them on the quality and tastiness of the meat they enjoyed from livestock her kids raised.