Road to the county fair: Road ends at conclusion of Weld fair
The road to the Weld County Fair with the Halleys, Lauridsons, Cookseys and LeBlancs started in May.
The four families, which represent students across the age spectrum of 4H competitors, had already begun to prepare their animals for the Weld County Fair, but as the summer progressed, the time and dedication necessary for the students to succeed at the fair increased.
The Fence Post documented their progress in a series of stories leading up to the, which concluded Monday.
Jordan Halley, 9, and her brother Cole, 11, worked with sheep and goats. It was Jordan’s first time showing, and Cole’s first time showing goats.
Sydnee, 8, and Macey Lauridson, 13, prepared for Sydnee’s first time showing. The sisters worked with sheep and pigs.
Molly Cooksey, 18, prepared her cattle for the second-to-last Weld County Fair she’ll participate in.
Cody LeBlanc, 18, was waiting for his rabbits to give birth the first time we met in May. He said this will be his last year showing at the fair, but he hopes he will be a judge there in the next few years.
The past months of preparation got the six kids ready to show this past week. Everyone but LeBlanc sold at least one animal at market Monday, but his focus was showmanship. He took home three best of breed awards with his rabbits.
LeBlanc said his next showmanship step with be at the American Rabbit Breeders National Convention in October.
“I’m excited to keep working with rabbits outside of 4-H and continuing to be involved with rabbits in another way,” he said.
The other five kids will be back next year, with Cooksey entering her final year to show.
She sold one steer Monday, Trump, who was a bit stubborn earlier in the year. Trump didn’t always want to go where Cooksey led him. However, in the time between May and the beef show Friday, Cooksey said he eventually got easier to work with.
But her top-of-class finish with Trump wasn’t the highlight for Cooksey.
She received this year’s Mitchell Bowman Memorial Beef Award. Peers nominate the recipient based on sportsmanship and character. Cooksey found out she was nominated Friday, but found out she was the winner at the fair’s award ceremony Sunday.
“That’s a really big honor,” Cooksey said. “I almost cried when I won. It means more than any other award.”
Cooksey also received a scholarship and $2,000 to purchase a heifer for next year’s fair.
For the two fair freshmen, the first year didn’t end too shabby. Jordan took a first-place win in her class with her goat and got a reserve grand champion for her ram at the fair.
Even Monday, when most of the 4-Hers were ready to pack-up and head home, Jordan wanted to start the time over again. Part of that is because of someone she met at the fair dance. But then again, the fair also is a time when friendships can begin.
Even though she loved this year’s fair, Jordan is unsure what next year will bring.
“I’m scared because I don’t know if I’ll do as good,” she said.
That apprehension is something her brother, unfortunately, has seen come to fruition. Cole did well his first year, too, but didn’t do as well this year. He still had a ram to sell at market, but he knows he still has work to do.
“Next year I’m going to work harder on showmanship, and setting front legs better,” Cole said.
Perfecting showmanship is important, and with Colorado State Fair coming at the end of the month, the kids who will also attend have a chance to improve and work with their animals a bit more.
Sydnee and Macey will show their lambs at state, but they sold their pigs Monday. Sydnee got $2,100 for Nacho, and she already knows what she wants to do with the earnings. She wants to buy a rabbit — something she’ll have to convince her mom is a good investment. But most of the earning will go into a college fund.
The college fund is where Macey said she’ll put her earnings, after selling her pig for $1,900.
“It’s a good start,” she said. “I’ve been saving up to go to college all these years.”
Macey plans on going to Colorado State University or Texas A&M to become a veterinarian.
Sydnee said she was pretty happy to earn about $200 more than her big sister in her first year showing, and happy with her third-place placement. Macey said she was proud of her sister’s results at the fair.
“I’m really happy for her,” Macey said. “She works hard and she earned it.” ❖
Samantha Fox is a reporter and designer for The Fence Post. “Road to the county fair” was a column that followed six Weld County 4-H participants as they prepared and competed at the 2016 Weld County Fair. Reach Samantha at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with her at @FoxonaFarm on Twitter.
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