Dairy feeder, steer show a competitive affair


The 2018 Fayette County Junior Fair Dairy Feeder and Steer Show was held on Wednesday morning with several exhibitors taking top honors.

The show began promptly at 11 a.m. on Wednesday morning with judge Jeff Fisher from Jackson presiding over the show. In the dairy feeder portion, Taylor Sisson’s animal was named the grand champion dairy feeder. This was a unique year for Sisson as she has never been at the very top of the show, and additionally had made a promise with her dad that if she was able to obtain reserve champion or better, then she gets to keep her dairy feeder.

“This is probably my ninth year in 4-H and my eighth in cattle,” Sisson said following the show. “It feels amazing to be at the top. I am excited. Ecstatic. Any word that can explain my excitement goes into this category right now.”

Taking reserve grand champion was Alexia Cusic, who is no stranger to success around the Fayette County Fair. According to Cusic she has been in the top five each year she has shown. She talked a little about how she cares for her animal, and how it felt to be named second overall during Wednesday’s competition.

“I feed him a lot, I make sure they are always clean so they don’t stain and we just work a lot,” Cusic said. “I would like to thank Garman Feed. He made a program for my cows and it really helps a lot. It is really exciting to be in the top two today.”

Immediately following the announcement, the exhibitors prepared themselves for showmanship. The competition was tough, but Victoria Schappacher was named the overall dairy feeder showman. With a large smile on her face she accepted her award.

“This is my last year in 4-H,” Schappacher said. “It is an incredible opportunity. I thank God I had this opportunity. I had some really tough competition. Today coming into this, I didn’t think I would get anything. My cows were a little on the uneasy side. Today was all about teamwork, you don’t know teamwork until your partner is a 1,500 pound steer and he is a free spirit.”

Next up was the dairy steer portion of the show. Though with fewer classes, the competition was just as fierce as judge Fisher had a tough time narrowing the field until he announced the 2018 Fayette County Fair Dairy Princess Anita Pursell as the grand champion. Pursell was pleased with the results and spoke after the show about her project.

“We worked a lot, I would walk him three times a month until it got to May, and then I tried to walk him every day,” Pursell said. “For the market I pretty much fed him as much as he would eat and hoped for the best. I would especially like to thank my dad because he helps me a lot with my feed rations and stuff like that. I am looking forward to the dairy day on Friday. It is like a dairy promotion day, and it is the first time we are doing it so we are really excited about it.”

In the reserve grand champion dairy steer position on Wednesday was Abigail Riley. Riley is in her ninth year of 4-H.

“I definitely want to thank the judge and my parents for helping me and continuing to support me throughout all of my 4-H journeys,” Riley said. “(To the younger exhibitors) just keep trying and don’t give up.”

To end the show, Riley claimed the overall beef steer showman victory over Pursell in another close class. The final competition was to determine the overall dairy showman with a class between Riley and Schappacher.

The exhibitors were asked questions, were tested in handling and even were required to swap animals during the final class. Finally, with a handshake between them, Schappacher was named the 2018 Overall Dairy Showman and will represent their animal at Saturday’s showman of showmen competition.

“I have been at the competition for the past couple of years,” Schappacher said on Wednesday afternoon. “Honestly the turkey and hog are the two I am worried about the most. I don’t like these turkeys, they like to peck me. Those pigs, I have a hard time keeping their head up, but we will work it off this week and hopefully I can represent the dairy industry well on Saturday.”

By Martin Graham

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See photos from the Dairy Show

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Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy

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