04/24/14 — Local youths showing off livestock today

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Local youths showing off livestock today

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on April 24, 2014 1:46 PM

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Caroline Grady, 9, right, grooms her heifer, Charlotte, Wednesday in preparation for the Wayne County Junior Livestock Show and Sale, which is set for today at the Wayne County Agricultural Fairgrounds. Also pictured, John Avery Sasser, 12, leaves the pen after checking on his heifer, Moxy.

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Logan Grace, 13, washes his goat, Chonga, in an area between two shelters at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fairgrounds Wednesday.

DUDLEY -- Moxy wasn't exactly cooperating during his practice runs -- and there wasn't a whole lot his 12-year-old handler could do about it.

"You can manhandle a goat, but you can't manhandle a cow," John Avery Sasser said.

But for the young man and his heifer, Wednesday's romp in the ring is not the main event.

Today is the big day.

Dozens of local livestock were weighed and washed at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fairgrounds on Wednesday as a crop of young men and women prepared for the 66th Wayne County Junior Livestock Show and Sale.

But like Moxy, some of the four-legged performers had their own agendas.

Destiny Mitchell's goat, Lollipop, was more interested in eating grass than getting clean.

And Logan Grace needed his sister Courtney's, help to get his goat bathed.

Chonga's long coat is, after all, what the young man hopes will catch the judge's eye.


The events unfolding today at the fairgrounds are about more than showmanship.

All of the 37 goats and some of the 15 cows will be sold for meat following the competition today.

"It teaches the kids about farming and raising livestock for meat," said Summer Young, a program assistant with the county's 4-H program.

And while some might think it would be difficult for a child to watch an animal they have bonded with be sold to the highest bidder, even Destiny, at 9 years old, has perspective -- after a few tears.

"I know I'll get a new one next year," she said.

The competition is broken up into showmanship and market classes.

In the showmanship class, the animals are walked around for the judges and placed to accentuate the different features the judges are looking for.

During the market class, the animals are judged from a meat standpoint.

The competition began at 9 a.m.

Caroline Grady hopes to have good luck in her first year as a heifer handler.

The 9-year-old has shown goats before, but adding a few hundred pounds to the equation makes a big difference.

Her favorite part is washing her heifer, Charlotte -- a task that can take up to an hour to do right.

Entrants are only allowed to begin showing bovine livestock at 9 years old, but Caroline has been watching her sister, Rebecca, 15, do it for years.

"I enjoy showing the steers because they are easier to train than the goats," Rebecca said.

This year, Rebecca's steer, Hank, is tipping the scales at 1,000 pounds -- the event's heaviest contender and a favorite, in his handler's eyes, to do well.

John Avery hopes Moxy has a good show, too.

And his father, Rudy, said, the life lessons learned during events like this are only part of the reward for his sons.

"We put back the money the boys win for college," Sasser said. "They have done pretty well."