SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. — McKenzie Myers ended her junior show career in a big way — with three grand champions at the Shippensburg Community Fair.
Myers, a Penn State senior, won a total of $11,500 for his top pork, goat and steer on July 30 at the fair’s junior livestock sale.
To make the occasion even more special, Myers’ winning goat was raised on the family’s 150-acre farm in Newville.
“It’s my life. I was basically raised in a barn, and I know everyone says that’s a bad thing, but it’s not a bad thing,” Myers said. teaches you a lot of responsibility and care about something. They depend on you on a daily basis. You can’t not go to the barn one day because you don’t want to. You have to go twice, maybe three or four times times a day.
Working with a steer, lambs, goats and pigs gave Myers plenty of variety in his youth cattle competitions. She appreciates each animal’s distinct personality, and over her career — which includes competing on Penn State’s cattle judging team — she’s learned to tell a large animal from an animal that’s just OK. .
“It’s kind of like when you go to the store and you see a pair of shoes that you really like,” Myers said. “It’s like that with goats. You just have to find one that is really, really pretty and pleasing to the eye.
Myers said it would be difficult to move on from her junior show career, but she wants to be a mentor and role model for younger exhibitors. Professionally, she works for a bovine embryologist and wants to see where that job takes her.
While Myers walked out with enough banners to be the envy of textile artist Christo, other youngsters were thrilled to bring home their first champion sons.
Aubrey Watkins showed off the grand champion rabbit meat pen with home-bred Californians.
Watkins, 13, chose Rabbits because it’s the category where he could start his show career the fastest. Watkins started showing at the age of 5, when a towering steer would have been a lot to handle.
“I didn’t have to wait to get into 4-H or anything like that. I might just show,” he said.
Watkins was happy to land a top spot this year because not all of Shippensburg’s rabbit meat pens participate in the cattle sale – only grand champions and reserve champions.
Alonna Haines, 16, was another rookie in the circle of champions.
Haines purchased her reserve grand champion market lamb in January from Ashley Club Lambs in Virginia. She’s spent the past two months taking her lamb to jackpot shows, which has helped the animal get used to being around unfamiliar lambs and a judge who would touch it.
“Getting them out in the ring is a big help getting them ready for the county fair,” she said.
Elyssa Gilbert, 17, won her first banner this year with the Grand Champion Dairy Feeder.
Gilbert also has experience showing goats, but she sees an advantage in showing the larger cattle.
“I get a bigger paycheck at the end that goes towards your future and your college and growing up, which happens really fast,” she said.
In high school, Gilbert is thinking of becoming a nutritionist. She admits that plan could change, but working with her star feeder has given her good experience in animal nutrition.
The grand champion boarded two farms – one bovine, one dairy – so Gilbert could see the differences in the rations. She recently adjusted the hay she was feeding because her pet was bloating.
Although Gilbert is more interested in spending time with her friends and animals at the fair than dominating the show ring, she can also derive satisfaction from her victory as she knows she is the fruit of her own efforts. .
“I can say that I worked hard and asked for help from the people I needed. I know I rightly deserved the banner I received,” she said.
Here are the results of the Shippensburg Community Fair Champions Sale.
Grand Champion Market Pork: McKenzie Myers; Josh, Abby and Braxton Stitt; $2,250
Grand Champion Rabbit Meat Pen: Aubrey Watkins; John’s Mobile Repair Service and HJ Towing; $1,000
Grand Champion Market Goat: McKenzie Myers; Wayne F. Craig & Sons; $2,000
Grand champion market lamb: Andi Swab; Wayne F. Craig & Sons; $1,800
Grand Market Champion: McKenzie Myers; Tyler custom cuts; $7,250
Grand Champion Dairy Nurse: Elyssa Gilbert; Strayer Cattle Co.; $4,250
Reserve Grand Champion Market Hogs: Brayden Myers; Greencastle Cattle Market; $1,200
Reserve Grand Champion Rabbit Meat Pen: Levi Wickard; Shetron Auction and Equipment; $1,100
Reserve Grand Champion Market Goat: Andi Swab, Shetron’s Auction & Equipment; $1,500
Reserve Grand Champion Market Lamb: Alonna Haines; Cumberland County Republican Committee; $1,650
Reserve Grand Champion Market Steer: Judd Clelan; Custom Welding from Clelan; $5,700
Reserve Grand Champion Dairy Feeder: Ryan Lehman; Greencastle Cattle Market; $2,300