Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lake County Fair Time!

Well, it has happened again. Fair has gone and passed, another year down in what seems like a blink of an eye. North Lake FFA stayed busy over Labor Day weekend. Twenty-two FFA members took their Supervised Agricultural Experience project (SAE) down to Lakeview and participated in the Lake County Fair. Members of the FFA Sheep Club who competed were Adam Henkel, Rafael Valencia, Raven Waldron, Tylor Bryant, Keifer Watson and Kori Worthington. Beef Club: Sydnee Bias, Felicia Bias, Cheyanne Strong, Trent Emery, Conley Kittredge, and Brad Libolt. Swine Club: Amanda Dark, Lesley Dark, Josh Hand, Jessica Hand, Kody Worthington, Kourtney Worthington, Noelle Fine, Matt Henkel, and Destiny Laylon. We all woke up at the crack of dawn Thursday, September 2nd, to load our animals and head to Lakeview for weigh-ins. The members spent that afternoon getting their animals weighed-in, filling stalls with wood chips, and preparing for the competition. That night, the swine market class competed at 5:00 P.M. and beef market at 7:00 P.M. The members rushed around that evening getting their animals washed and fitted for the show.

Noelle Fine and Sydnee Bias dominate the highlight reel this year. Noelle’s swine earned the Reserve Grand Champion Market Swine, and helped Noelle win the Reserve Grand Champion Swine Showman. Noelle got the chance to compete in the Round Robin Showmanship contest which requires the two best showmen of each species to compete with each other showing all the species represented at fair. This year Noelle had to show her swine, as well as lamb, beef, goats, rabbits and poultry.

Showmanship is an event where students demonstrate how well their animal has been prepared and trained, as well as the students knowledge of the animal species such as breed characteristics, meat cuts, gestation period, feeding requirements and livestock terminology. It also takes into account the techniques used in the show ring to highlight the animals attributes and overall quality. Each species of livestock has a different process and technique that best demonstrates the muscling and finish of the animal. “Finish” is a livestock term used to describe the amount of fat on the animal. Each species of animal has a specific amount of finish necessary to ensure a quality carcass. Too much or too little finish will make an undesirable carcass. Over the course of the summer, students strive to come up with a specific feeding program that will produce the optimal quality carcass at the time the animal is to be sold at the market sale.

Sydnee Bias earned Grand Champion Market Steer, and also Reserve Champion Showmanship Steer in her class. Sydnee’s sister, Felicia, wasn’t too far behind her winning Champion Showmanship Steer in her class. Some other highlights during the weekend were Raven Waldron earning 3rd overall in Sheep Showmanship, Jessica Hand earning 3rd overall in Swine Showmanship, and Cheyanne Strong earning 3rd in Beef Showmanship. Raven Waldron also won Grand Champion in the Beginning Record Book Contest.

I remember the very first fair all of us went to in our 4-H years, and it seems just like yesterday. It’s amazing how fast time flies by. North Lake is very fortunate to have a plethora of good, devoted, 4-H leaders who care about kids. Students enter agriculture classes in high school excited about raising fair SAE projects and most know more about showing and fitting livestock than our advisor does (Mr. Waldron’s words, not mine). These 4-H leaders like Virginia Prosenick, Carrie Brown, Tami Dark, Roxanne Hand, Sue Warmington, Holly Vore, Hallie Nelson, and especially Lois Miles prepare the students well for their FFA years to come. The FFA doesn’t have to recruit students to participate at fair; we just have to keep them interested.

North Lake FFA would like to once again sincerely thank all those who volunteered and sponsored awards, bought animals and contributed to the North Lake Pool. FFA members understand and are aware that hay prices are down and input costs and inflation keep going up, so we really appreciate all those who sacrifice their time and resources to help make our chapter so successful. The North Lake Chapter is constantly grateful and overwhelmed by the generosity of the North Lake community and their enthusiasm and dedication to ensure that agriculture and the FFA continue to be an integral part of our students’ education.

Annual 4-H/FFA Buyer's Dinner

Every year, our FFA chapter joins with the 4-H groups in the area and holds a Buyer Appreciation Dinner for the community, to thank them for all the generous donations and support they give our members at the county fair. This year, the dinner was held at the Fort Rock Grange on August 20th. There buyers enjoyed a delicious meal, visited with FFA and 4-H members , entered a drawing for door prizes, and had the opportunity to view a slideshow showing pictures of our chapter's FFA activities.

FFA members Noelle Fine and Raven Waldron man the sign-in desk with 4-Her Kelli Brown.

Mr. Waldron grillin' up some grub!

Another big thank you to all our supporters and buyers. Without all of your generous support, our fair would not be possible.

Steer Weigh-Ins

Every year, ten to twenty FFA members participate in the Lake County fair. Some take a swine project, others lambs. And some, take a beef project. We tip our hats to all our fair participants, especially our beef showmen. They constantly take care of their fair animals, almost year-round even! This includes loading them up and taking them to weigh-ins. Our FFA members are also able to help the leaders and younger 4-H members with heir steers during weigh-ins too. It's a lot of work, but they'll be rewarded come fair time!