04/28/11 — Wayne County youth show off best at annual livestock show

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Wayne County youth show off best at annual livestock show

By Gary Popp
Published in News on April 28, 2011 1:46 PM

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Marisa Linton watches John Tart III as he judges the goats competing in the Senior Goat Show during the 63rd Annual Wayne County Junior Livestock Show at Wayne County Fairgrounds. Marisa's goat, Guillotine, took the grand champion meat goat title.

Keep eye contact with the judge. Stay relaxed. Know your animal.

These fundamentals were drilled into the young exhibitors who showed their goats and calves during the 63rd Wayne County Junior Livestock Show and Sale Wednesday evening.

Nearly 40 area youth participated in the first day of the two-day event that included showmanship and market competitions for meat goats and feeder calves and their junior handlers.

The bleachers of the small arena at the Wayne County Regional Fairgrounds were filled Wednesday evening with family and friends of the children, ages 5 to 18, who showed their animals.

Marisa Linton, 17, received first place showmanship in her age group and claimed the award of Grand Champion Meat Goat with her chocolate-colored goat, Guillotine.

Marisa said the name for her prize goat came to her as she was recently studying the French Revolution at her home school.

A show regular, Marisa has been showing animals for nine years and has even served as a judge in similar competitions.

Marisa said her award-winning performance was due to her "being dedicated and being passionate about what I do," she said. "If you don't have that drive or that want to do better, then you are not."

Marisa said when she started competing at age 8, she had nine goats. Now, she is in charge of 30.

"Normally I raise my own. I raise them for a whole year, so it is a long-term project," she said.

After receiving the blue ribbon for showmanship, Marisa said she was overcome with a feeling of relief.

"It's not my first time (winning showmanship), but it's not a regular thing either. It just depends on the judge. Some judges like certain things. It also depends on how your goat is doing and how you are doing that day. It is all a day-to-day thing," Marisa said.

A less experienced exhibitor, 6-year-old Skylar Craig also placed in showmanship in her age group.

In her show debut, Skylar thinks the judge liked her because she focused on the basics.

"My goat walked good, I smiled and I looked at him," she said.

Skylar said she had fun because she likes goats, and she had a chance to walk around with her goat that she calls Snickers.

Skylar took a no-nonsense approach when naming her goat.

"I just like to eat Snickers," she said.

Sister and brother, Mary Ida Dunn, 12, and David Dunn, 9, attend Grantham School and have a combined seven years of experience showing animals.

Both of the Dunns placed in the top three of the same age group in goat showmanship.

Mary Ida said she had prepared for the show by cutting the hair of her goat that she calls "Jumper," but said she was still a little nervous heading into the competition.

"I was scared because he usually beats me," Mary Ida said while nudging her little brother.

"I was scared, too." said David who showed his goat, Thunder. "I thought I was going to get last, but I was still going to be proud. I just care about having fun and not getting dragged."

Rebecca Grady, a student at Arendell Parrot Academy, won first place in Junior Calf Showmanship.

With a big smile, the 12-year-old confidently maneuvered her calf, who weighed more than 600 pounds, around the arena.

Rebecca's steer, Power Stroke, was also named Reserve Champion Feeder Calf.

"It feels really good," she said. "I think me showing since I was 9 years old helps me."

Knowing what to expect and staying positive are winning characteristics carried out by the more experienced exhibitors.

"I think I did good on setting up the feet when it started backing up. I didn't get frustrated," she said.

Rebecca said her preparation for the show included outwitting the animal. She said she would walk with the calf as it was pulled by a tractor. By going through this process, the animal was trained to think Rebecca was stronger than itself and that she was able to pull him by her own force.

On the day of show Rebecca concentrated on the steer's aesthetics by using a high-powered hair dryer and applying special gel.

"This morning I washed and blow dried it, and fixed it up to make it shine," Rebecca said.

Spring Creek High student Avery Faulkner repeated his 2010 showing by winning Grand Champion Feeder Calf with his nearly 700 pound steer. He also won the top place in showmanship of feeder calves in his age group.

With ten years experience, the high school senior knows well what it takes to prepare a steer for competition.

Avery explained that for an animal to win in the market category, proper feeding can be as important as genetics.

"You don't want to feed it too much, or feed it too little," Avery said.

He added that it is best to find the right balance to make sure the steer is getting the proper nutrition and amount of feed.

Avery said finding the right diet for a particular animal is no guessing game.

"It's kind of a science," he said. "My granddaddy helped me find the right formula."

The show and sale was to continue this morning at 9 a.m. with the market hog show.

Activities will pick up later in the evening with a costume contest at 5:30 p.m., a "city slicker" contest at 6, an awards presentation at 7 and the sale starting at 7:30.