Goats have their day at Jefferson County Fair

Katelyn Jones crowned queen of annual fair

August 22, 2011|By RICHARD F. BELISLE |
  • Jefferson County Fair Queen Katelyn Jones hands a blue ribbon to Austin Cogle, owner of "Tank," a purebred Angus steer.
By Richard F. Belisle, Staff Writer

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — One little goat goes to market. One little goat goes home.

That's the difference between market and meat goats at the Jefferson County Fair, which is under way this week at 2007 Old Leetown Pike.

Market goats, to be judged Tuesday at 1 p.m., will stay at the fair until Saturday when they will be sold at the livestock auction that starts at noon. Goats, sheep, cattle and hogs, all raised by 4-H club and FFA members, will cross the auction block.

Meat goats will return home with their owners after they're judged this morning at 9. Back home they are normally used for breeding, said John Boyle, 61, of Shepherdstown, W.Va., a fair volunteer and breeder and exhibitor of pigmy and Boer goats.

Fair President Robert Gruber said Monday that the fair's board of directors approved changing the 36-year-old tradition of Friday night livestock auctions to Saturday because of school conflicts like football and soccer games.

The livestock auction nets the youngsters between $115,000 and $120,000 every year, Gruber said.

FFA and 4-H members between the ages of 9 and 21 compete in livestock judging events. Many bring more than one animal.

On Sunday night, 33 contestants competed for the Miss Jefferson County Fair title. On Monday afternoon, Katelyn Jones, 16, of Charles Town, an incoming junior at Washington High School, wore the queen's crown as she handed ribbons to 4-H and FFA winners in the cattle judging event.

"I'll be here all day today and tomorrow, too, handing out ribbons," she said. Katelyn will reign over other events as the week progresses. During the year, she will represent the county at events and parades.

Jones succeeds Kendall Vesper, the 2010 fair queen.

Katelyn's mother, Judy Jones, described the scene Sunday night as she watched as the queen competition progressed.

"You just sit there in anticipation. They break it down to 15 girls and she's still in it," she said. "Then they get down to the last five and you say, 'Oh my gosh.' It's your daughter. It's so emotional."

One of Katelyn's blue ribbons Monday went to Austin Cogle, 15, of Kearneysville, W.Va., owner of "Tank," his 1,213-pound purebred Angus steer.

"I was hoping for a blue ribbon, but I was still surprised. There was a lot of stiff competition," he said. Austin, who has been bringing animals to the fair for six years, said he hopes Tank will bring $2 a pound at Saturday's auction.

"Daisy," Mikey Benner's 7-month-old sleek Angus-cross heifer, took the grand champion ribbon in her class Monday. Benner, 15, of Kearneysville, W.Va., belongs to the Shenandoah Shamrocks 4-H Club.

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