IMPERIAL – As the front lots of the Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta filled Saturday morning, the back lots leading to the livestock arenas and barns were packed. Parents, relatives, and friends engulfed the various arenas to see 4-H, Grange, and FFA youth show their last 60 days of hard work with their livestock animal of choice.
Brandi Whittle of Westmorland 4o-H grabbed the Junior Grand Champion winning blanket for her feeder calf. “It feels amazing to win, this is my first time,” an excited Brandi said moments after leaving the arena.
“Everyone said he was a good calf. I didn’t realize he was this amazing!” Brandi said of her calf, Bo.
Roxee Wellcome became the Reserve Grand Champion with her feeder calf, Inkheart. Inkheart received her name for the big white heart on the right side with just a dash of ink spilled, therefore, Inkheart.
Roxee belongs to the Calipatia 4-H and said, “It was an amazing day. He is such a love bug, his personality matches his heart.
Leanna Soloman, Calipatria 4-H leader said she was very proud of Roxee, “She worked very hard on her calf, their teamwork showed.”
Brad Thomason, winner for Senior Novice Showman in Feeder Calves was pleased with the results. “Clumsy did well. He didn’t tire and stayed on game.” Winning Senior Novice meant Brad had to turn around and join the Senior Showmanship class.
Joining Brad in the Senior Showmanship Class was 2nd place winner for Senior Novice, Sadie Jones of Calipatria 4-H. Sadie said, “I’ve had pigs and rabbits, but this is the first time in the feeder calf ring for me. ‘Pony Boy’ did well, though, I hope he does as well in Senior class.”
Kaitlyn Ashurst , McCabe4-H, won Grand Champion in Market for her swine, Sugar Bear. She is no novice to the swine arena having competed four times previously even though she is just a freshman in high school. Sunday evening Kaitlyn will compete in the championship drive against her FFA counterpart that will be determined after Sunday’s judging.
Winning the other blanket was Matthew Klicka, Brawley, who took Reserve Grand Champion with his crossbreed. The M & M 4-H winner left the arena early and had to be called back to be judged. After Kaitlyn Ashurst was chosen as Grand Champion, the other best in their swine breeds vied for reserve. Matthew had come in second to Kaitlyn in their crossbreed class, yet the judge brought Matthew back and chose his swine for Reserve Grand Champion.
Winning Senior Showmanship for Feeder Calves was 1st place Valerie Calderez and placing 2nd was Bryanne Sanchez, both of Southwest Valley 4-H. Both will advance to Senior 4-H Round Robin on Thursday.
The sheep judge kept the crowd on pins and needles after picking Cassidy Galindo of M&M 4-H as Senior Grand Champion as he took a second, third, and fourth look at the remaining lambs for Reserve Grand Champion. He explained what he liked and didn’t like of the remaining, walking back and forth, feeling their loins, checking their confirmation before picking Cassidy’s sister, Audrey’s lamb as Reserve.
The sisters are no strangers to the sheep arena, winning countless times at home and up and down the state as well as the State Fair in Sacramento.