Youth fair a popular affair in Berkeley County

August 04, 2013|By RICHARD F. BELISLE |
  • Cody Childs Jr. of Martinsburg rests on his hog in the swine barn on Sunday at the Berkeley Co Youth Fair.
By Ric Dugan / Staff Photographer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Kaylee Thompson thinks her hard work in recent months getting Zoey, her 4-month-old Holstein “dairy calf,” ready for the Berkeley County Youth Fair’s show ring will pay off with a winner’s ribbon.

“I think Zoey has a good chance because I’ve been working a lot with her and she’s doing well,” Kaylee said.

The calf was born in April on her grandfather Bruce Linton’s Linton Brothers farm.

“I got her out of the hutch and started training her to get her used to the halter so she would be ready for the fair,” she said.

The 10-year-old, a fifth-grader at Eagle School Intermediate, said she goes to the farm every morning and evening to feed and give water to Zoey.

“In the evening, we practice walking around with the halter. We’ve been working a lot and she’s doing well,” Kaylee said.

This is the first year Kaylee will enter the show ring.

“I was supposed to show last year, but a cow stepped on my foot,” she said.

Kaylee is a member of the New Seekers 4-H Club.

Some 60 youth exhibitors brought animals to the ring for the fair’s sheep show Sunday afternoon, said show Chairman Lance Shreck. He said 43 will be in the market lamb category.

Judge Michael Kibley was kept busy throughout the afternoon judging more than 25 major and subclasses in the competition.

He was judging lambs on their body and muscle structure, and overall condition.

When judging market lambs, he said he likes them to weigh 120 pounds and more. Like many of the children he was judging Sunday, he grew up showing livestock on his family’s farm. Now he and his wife and three children own a flock of about 130 mature breeding ewes on their Alpha Omega Farm in Mount Jackson, Va.

A graduate with a degree in agricultural economics from Virginia Tech, Kibley spends most summer weekends on the judging circuit in surrounding states. Next weekend, he will judge animals at the Fulton County (Pa.) Fair.

He said when he looks out into a show ring and sees the hard work and effort of the young exhibitors, “I see our future.”

Emily Potts, 20, of Hedgesville, W.Va., was about to lead Rosie, her 6-month-old Hampshire/Suffolk cross lamb, into the ring for the previous winners sheep showman class, the first class of Sunday’s competition.

Potts said she’s been showing lambs for eight years, all from her Uncle Dick Burkhart’s farm in Shanghai, W.Va. She raises the lambs at home.

“We don’t own a farm,” she said.

Reece McDonald, 11, is growing up on his family’s Glencoe Farm in the Inwood, W.Va., area. He was waiting to bring his lamb into the ring.

“We also raise hogs, chickens, we have a llama and a horse, too,” he said.


Berkeley Youth Fair schedule

8 a.m. — Swine judging
1 p.m. — Rabbit judging
4 p.m. — Beef barbecue
5 p.m. — Commercial exhibits open
5:30 p.m. — Doughnut-eating contest
6 p.m. — Carnival opens
7 p.m. — Truck and tractor pull

8 a.m. — Goat judging
8 a.m. — Horse showmanship
5:30 p.m. — Ice cream-eating contest
6 p.m. — Carnival opens
7 p.m. — Truck and tractor pull
7 p.m. — Livestock jeopardy
8 p.m. — Cow chip bingo

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