Baran, Hilfilker Take 1st in Last Night of Fair Round Robins

Alex Baran,18, Brawley, shows her winning showmanship style at the 4-H Large Animal Round Robin Thursday night.
Alex Baran,18, Brawley, shows her winning showmanship style at the 4-H Large Animal Round Robin Thursday night.

IMPERIAL — 4-H and Grange Jr and Sr large animal Round Robin at the Mid-Winter Fair and Fiesta are the climax of an intense week of livestock showmanship. It is a night to showcase years of a culmination of experience and a time to see the up and coming threats. Those who make the holy grail of Round Robin have spent hours in the barns practicing showmanship on sheep, swine, goats, beef and dairy cattle, and horses. They have learned digestive systems, cuts of meat, milk production and gestation periods. They are the ones walking around the fair with three-inch thick binders filled with facts and figures. They know what square means for animal set up, and for the dairy cattle, they have learned to walk backwards and always show those udders off to their best advantage for the judges.

For Alex Baran, a Brawley Senior, she has competed in Round Robin for nine years, and for the last five years has placed second. “I’ve always been behind a Presley or an Abatti.” Baran said.

This year has been her year. She earlier won Cattle Call Queen in November, and then Thursday night she found herself being the last one standing as the announcer counted down the 16 contestants in Sr. 4-H and Grange Large Animal Round Robin.

“Finally!” Exclaimed the grateful senior. “It’s my last year, and I have worked so hard all these years. I really wanted to finally win.” Baran won 1st place showmanship with her horse and second place with her swine. Rules state if a competitor qualifies more than once for Round Robin, they must choose the first qualification; therefore Baran brought her horse to the competition.

Winning for the Jr. 4-H and Grange Large Animal was Seth Hilfilker a Verde 4-H member. The 8th grader from Holtville also wanted to leave the Junior division on a high note. The busy young man won on his steer, but he also had seven goats in the fair. His goats were busy, too, housed during the fair in Doc’s Barn, one of the doe’s gave birth to twin baby girls.

“I was on my way to the fair to take care of my animals after school when I heard she had gone into labor. I was there for the second birth,” Seth said. Next year, Seth will compete again with his goats, his steer, and he is adding horse to his repertoire.

Coming in second to Seth was fellow Verde club member, Sarah Grizzle. The Holtville 8th grader will move up to senior division also and one can see a four-year competition brewing between the two young achievers.

Second for Senior 4-H and Grange was Mikaela McFadden. She had competed the night before in FFA Large Animal and also had come in second. The El Centro junior can learn a lesson from Baran, it is possible to break the ‘red’ curse and perhaps her senior year will be her time. She is the one to watch for next year.

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