Full Week of Fair Excitement
Without a doubt, the Fair is one of the biggest events of the year here in the Malad Valley, and this year’s production was as thrilling as ever! The week started strong with several animal categories (covered in last week’s paper), as well as the Motocross show. The week continued with the Showmanship and Quality events in Sheep, Swine, Beef and Poultry, culminating in Saturday’s amazing Market Sale, which saw Aubrey Schulz’s Grand Champion sheep sell for an astounding $15,500. Along the way, the Country Classic Rodeo, a Youth Talent show, Scales and Tales, a Bouncy House village, and countless vendors made for a rich and satisfying week with something for everyone.
The first large livestock show of the week began bright and early on Wednesday with Extension Educator Sawyer Fonnesbeck introducing judge Brittany Morgan to the competitors. Morgan explained that her judging philosophy favored strong presentation on the part of those showing their animals, with good control of the in-ring behavior and knowledge of the ring space a high priority. “I like to see drive,” she said. “I want to see you own the ring while you’re in here.”
This year’s sheep show involved a large number of classes, and the judging ran throughout the morning into the later afternoon. As the individual class winners were decided, Morgan repeatedly stressed the importance of taking the time to work with the animals at home. “I always like to see that the animals have had that extra time put into them. It’s usually obvious which ones have had those extra hours.” She also encouraged the younger members of the show to find an older student as a mentor. “Find someone you respect who can give you advice on what works and what doesn’t—that can go a long way.”
In the Showmanship event, Overall Grand Champion Aubrey Shulz and Overall Reserve Champion Alivia Waldron demonstrated a high level of all skills involved. In fact, they were also named the Quality event Grand and Reserve in the same order.
In the Star Class: FFA Class Champion (in place order)—Briley Nipko, Alivia Waldron; Senior Class Champion—Hadlee Summers, Austin Nalder; Intermediate Class Champion—Audrey Shulz, Samantha Schrenk; Junior Class Champion—Aleah Seamons, Mackoy Luke.
A number of participants brought out their pigs Thursday morning to compete in the Showmanship and Market Hog classes. Brittany Morgan judged the different classes. She again emphasized the importance of eye contact to always know where the judge is in the arena, as well as keeping the pig’s head up to better show its structure. Morgan took time to talk with each of the participants about their projects to see their knowledge of raising swine.
For the Market Hog class, Morgan went into detail to explain what she liked about each of the animals and complimented the kids on their ability to present their animals and showcase their best features. The pigs were a little impatient by the time the Market Hog Grand Drive came around, but the participants showed great strength as they tried to keep their pigs from digging around the fences or running around the arena.
The Overall Grand Champion in Showmanship and Quality was Maclyn Reeder, with the Reserve Champion in both categories going to Brooke Isaacson.
In the Star Class, the category winners were: FFA—Brooke Isaacson, Maclyn Reeder; Senior Class Champion—Hunter Wray, Kaylee Nalder; Intermediate Class—Rasp Carter, Jaezie Jensen; Junior Class—Riggin Reeder, Haynks Carter.
Many younger kids showed chickens of all breeds this year. They carried their poultry into the arena and held them on a table to present them to the judges. Only a few fussy chickens escaped from the kids’ grasp but were quickly collected by watching parents. The age groups for this event started with three- and four-year-old kids, then a six through eight-year-old section and an older group. The poultry show is a smaller event than the other animal shows but included the youngest showmen.
For Showmanship, they had members of the older groups return for the final round. The judge looked at how well they could hand the chickens and keep them calm and standing on the table. For quality the judge went through each chicken to look at individual characteristics. The youth held up the chickens’ wings and feet for the judge to examine.
Cassidy Schrenk won first in Poultry Showmanship, followed by Ira Carter and Pason Price. In Quality, Nicolas Waldron was named the Grand Champion, and Alex Conger was named the Reserve Champion.
Paisley Moyer won first in the Rabbit show.
The beef show featured a wide range of classes, with Seniors showing off their skill and training, and Intermediates and Juniors showing how far they’ve progressed in their abilities. Judging is based on the participants ability to manage the animals in the arena and show them off to the judge. As large animals can be unpredictable and difficult to handle, judge Morgan again stressed that “you really have to put in the work at home.” Through the FFA, Senior, Intermediate and Junior classes, Morgan noted that many of the steer were seemingly not in the mood to cooperate that morning, but praised their handlers for doing a great job of recovering and staying within the focus of the judge in a professional manner.
Riggin Munns, who took first in the 4-H Junior class, was specifically singled out for his ability to recover from a particularly active steer.
In Showmanship, Alexis Shaw was named the Grand Champion, and Addie Shaw the Reserve Champion. The FFA Class was First Addie Waldron, Second Katie Allen; Senior Class Champion was Alexis Shaw; Intermediate Class was First Trevor Allen, Second Carter Smith; Junior Class was First Riggin Munns, Second Paige Eliason.
In Quality, Tayson Davis took the Grand Champion honors, and Justin Wittman the Reserve.
Pictures of the Showmanship winners will be featured in next week's paper.
The feature event at the end of the Fair is the Market Sale, which allows those who raise animals to have all the hard work of their season to be acknowledged and rewarded. The Quality competition decides the order of the sale, and the Grand Champion and Reserve animals from each category generally command the largest dollar figures and excitement, though the generosity of local businesses and family make the entire sale an energetic event.
Prior to the sale itself, the Fair board recognized two individuals for their support and contributions to the Fair over the years. Fair board Chairman Ken Moss, Jr. honored Dave Daniels for his years of service to the facilities of the fairgrounds, including fencing, the new announcer’s booth, the railing around the track and a number of other important improvements.
Bernice Weeks was also recognized for her service dating back to 1975. According to Lacey Clark, Weeks is “one of the strongest and most active leaders” in the history of the county. She has been responsible for educating countless kids over the years, many of whom have gone on to become adult leaders themselves. Weeks stated that teaching 4-H kids has brought her some of her greatest happiness. Her family was recently honored for being one of four families with a combined 100 years of active service with the Fair.
The Stock sale itself began with Maclyn Reeder’s Grand Champion swine being sold to Thomas Market for $5,500, followed by Brooke Isaacson’s Reserve Champion being sold to Lincoln Financial for $3,100.
Tayson Davis’ Grand Champion Steer sold to Thomas Market for $11,000, and Justin Wittman’s Reserve Champion sold for $6,500 to Potter Ranches.
The biggest single sale of the day was Aubrey Shulz’s Grand Champion Sheep, which brought it an astounding $15,500 from Northwest Mutual, and Alivia Waldron’s Reserve Champion earned $5,700 from Thomas Market.
Throughout the remainder of the morning and into the afternoon the animals sold at steady prices, with consistently strong bidding from businesses, family, and friends.
Tractors at the Fair
Kacey Keller of the Fairboard worked with Golden Spike Antique Machinery, as well as local contributors to bring in a number of antique tractors, trucks, and even a bulldozer. The machines served as a block to any errant traffic into the fairgrounds themselves, and provided ongoing entertainment to curious children and old tractor fans alike.
“It’s my first year coming up with ideas for the Fair,” Keller said, “so I wanted something interesting. My nephew at Golden Spike Antique Machinery suggested bringing up some of their machines.” Other local antique owners like Wacey Udy, Alan and Dave Nimer, and others soon joined in.
“My worst fear was an empty fairgrounds,” Keller said. “But I’ve been really happy with the turnout. I’ve enjoyed meeting a lot of new people through this experience, and next year I hope to get even more local participants.”
A full list of sponsors for the various Fair classes and categories will run in next week's edition, with the Add-On Sales.
One new event at the Fair this year was a Youth Talent Show, which took place in the sales arena on Wednesday evening. In its first year, the event featured four contestants with a wide variety of talents on display.
Asher Brower started things out with a stand-up comedy routine. Putting on the persona to accompany a large pillow stuffed under his shirt, Brower ran through a string of jokes with a confidence impressive for what can be a scary experience in front of a crowd.
Connor Worrell next performed on a full drumset, switching up the tempo throughout and even doing a few stick twirls. Despite the unusual environment of a livestock arena, Worrell kept the crowd entranced while executing a high level of skill.
McCall Clark next displayed a “contortionist” routine, which involved more flexibility than anyone in the crowd had a chance of matching. Folding herself up into impressive knots, Clark’s performance for one for the ages.
Kayleigh Worrell closed the event with a performance of Sara Bareilles’ “She Used to Be Mine,” a soulful song about introspection and reflection. With the poise and confidence that characterized her DYW performance, Worrell conveyed a powerful emotional coda to the night.
In the final judging, the judge’s placement was: Connor Worrell, McCall Clark, Kayleigh Worrell, and Asher Brower. Congratulations to these brave souls, and thanks for sharing your talents!
The Round Robin event is a chance for the champions from each of the livestock show categories to show off their general showmanship skills with each of the animals. In the past, the format has involved each competitor showing a different animal during the same round. This year, the format was switched up to have each one show the same animal one at a time, starting with horses. For this year’s competition, Alexis Shaw did not compete, as she won the event last year. Maclyn Reeder had another obligation with the rodeo. Kristal Ford opted not to compete this year.
The participants were Abbie Cox (goat), Brooke Isaacson (swine), Samantha Schrenk (horse), Aubrey Shulz (sheep), and Addie Waldron (cattle). Judge Steve Harrison explained that he would be judging each participant against each other on the individual animals, as well as their overall consistency with the class as a whole. “I have an ideal in mind for each species, and I judge each person against that. Each person here won their own animal, but in a few cases it was close.”
Addie Waldron was awarded first place; with Aubrey Shulz taking second, Samantha Schrenk taking third, Brooke Isaacson taking fourth, and Abbie Cox named fifth. The competition is a great showcase for the skills that 4-H participant learn over the course of their time in the organization about a range of animals, as well as the fundamentals of showmanship.
Addie Waldron was presented with a pair of professional clippers, donated by Rocky Mountain Power.
The Livestock Judging competition gave youth the chance to try their hand at evaluating the value of different livestock. Participants were separated into three age groups. They then took turns rotating around to see the beef, sheep, and swine. They ranked each animal from best to worst quality. Those with questions could ask Sam Daniels and the FFA Teacher? But for the most part kids were on their own with judging the animals.
After rotating through the different livestock areas, Sawyer Fonnesbeck went through each livestock group to explain how he had ranked the animals and why. He pointed out different structure elements that are desirable in different livestock. This competition introduces youth to the job of livestock judging. At the end of the event, Fonnebeck explained that they could turn this skill into a future career like the livestock judges they had seen throughout the week. Later in the day at the 4-H Awards, the winners of this event were announced. Those who placed the most animals correctly won the different prizes.
The finish was as follows: Senior—Addie Waldron, Makayla Marshell, Brian Waldron; Intermediate—Abbie Cox, Katie Carter, Samantha Schrenk; Junior—Ira Carter, Kacee Young, Cassidy Shrenk.
The Extension Office gave out a number of awards to 4-H participants in a variety of categories for their work over the last year.
Halters were given out to the mini-horse club by Emily Rossow and Carrie Christiansen to the members.
Ron Panting gave out several awards to the “Lambchops” sheep club. Jace Blaisdell was named the “Tough Guy” for his ability to handle a sometimes difficult sheep. Claire Von Waggoner won the award for “Most Unique” sheep, with what she informed the crowd was a Dorset. Paisley Moyer won the award for “Best Feeder” for the participant whose animal had gained the most weight.
Maudee Leavitt was recognized for the “Biggest Steer” at the Fair, for her steer that was ultimately weighed in at 1605 pounds, and sold to Bywater Heating for $4,000.
Rawzen Munns was given a special “Superior Beef” award by the Idaho Cattle Association in recognition for his hours contributed to animal care, development, and overall sportsmanship.
Riggin Munns was recognized as the “Toughest at Beef Show” for his in-ring skills.
Kristal Ford was the only 4-H member to produce a demonstration (“Equine Digestive System”), which automatically qualifies her for the State Fair in the category.
Heidi Kirkbride was recognized as the Grand Champion in the Mustang category, and McKenzie Hardy was recognized as the Reserve Champion. They also qualified for the State Fair in their event.
Kristal Ford was recognized as the Grand Champion in Senior Showmanship in Horse, and Sam Tripp as the Reserve.
Sage Blaisdell, who experienced the heartache of having a horse die during the course of the season, was given the “Hard Luck Rider” award.
Scales and Tails
Scales and Tails, an always popular feature of the Fair, returned for another exhibition of reptiles, including a corn snake, blue tongued skink, Ball python, African tortoise, monitor lizard, dwarf kamen, and several others. As children flocked to the fence to “pet” the various animals, many adults leaned back in their seats to increase the distance between them as much as possible. Ultimately, a quartet of brave adults made their way into the show arena to help handle a 14 foot Burmese python.