Matthew Webb and Anita Pursell took the Grand Champion honors Wednesday during the 2019 Fayette County Junior Fair Dairy Show for their respective animals.
The first event of the dairy show was the 2019 Junior Fair Dairy Feeder Show. During the show nine classes were held and by the end, Webb — in his eighth year showing and member of the 4-H Fun Bunch club — was named the Grand Champion Dairy Feeder.
“This was a hard year because I had one calf, but he died so I was really sad about it,” Webb said. “So I told this guy here that we need to do it for him…and he did. I hope the younger exhibitors trying for Grand Champion makes it up here. I can always help them out and if they have questions or anything just ask any of us.”
Following Webb was another veteran in the show, Bayley Thompson — who is in her ninth year showing and a member of the Perry Peppy Farmers. She won the Reserve Champion Dairy Feeder prize.
“It feels great,” Thompson said. “I want to thank Josh and Brandon Cash for helping me with all of this. Younger exhibitors need to keep working for it and you will get it.”
Rounding out the dairy feeder show was the showmanship portion of the competition. After four close classes, Anita Pursell was named the Overall Dairy Feeder Showman.
Next up was the 2019 Junior Fair Market Dairy Beef Steer Show. With only three classes the judge got through the show quickly and named Pursell the Grand Champion Market Dairy Beef Steer. Pursell was very excited to receive another top prize during the show.
“I would like to thank my family for really helping me out,” Pursell said. “It takes a lot of help to break these and feed them throughout the summer, because they eat a lot of feed. This guy is 1,630 pounds so it takes a lot of work. I have about a year left but I would say to the younger kids to just not be scared. A lot of kids will be scared of these big animals and if you want to show, go for it because you won’t regret it.”
The crowd had just enough time to quiet down before Michael Schappacher was announced as the winner of the Reserve Champion Market Dairy Beef Steer, and another round of applause and cheering could be heard.
“This is my fifth year,” Schappacher said. “I have never placed this well with a steer before, but I have with a few of my feeders. (For newer exhibitors), just practice with and feed them a lot because that has really been what they have been picky about. Remember to keep your head up.”
To finish out the day of dairy competition, Pursell was once again in the winner circle as the Overall Dairy Steer Showman. Due to rules for the Showman of Showmen contest, only one dairy project may be represented at the competition. Since Pursell won both she can take either.
“It feels good (to be the best dairy showman at the fair),” Pursell said. “There is a lot of competition between some of the girls here and this year winning, it feels great. It takes a lot of time work and patience, especially working with big animals like that, it takes a lot of patience. I started showing him last year and now we have been working together for about a year and a half.”
Stay with the Record-Herald for more coverage of the 140th Fayette County Fair all this week July 15-20.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.