4-H youth prep for show, auction

4-H youth prep for show, auctionBy KELLY COSNER, News Review Correspondent

While the Desert Empire Fair’s Junior Livestock Show and Auction is just around the corner, the young participants from 4-H have been hard at work for months leading up to the annual event.

Each October, in conjunction with the fair, a handful of youngsters take project animals they’ve been working with throughout the year to enter into four days of whirlwind events.

It starts with the arrival and careful offloading of each animal into a designated pen — and many competitors have multiple projects to settle in. Next is the formal presentation in the main show arena. Each day the kids meticulously groom and prep their animals to show the judges what they hope will be the best overall in their class.

The end of each show is followed by an awards ceremony where they are complimented on what aspects of their animal made it stand out above the rest. At the end of the three days is the big auction for all of the animals that were raised with the intent of sale.

But what happens long before this culminating event? Hours upon hours of hard work.

Most of the kids involved make a daily commute to care for their animals because their homes are not set up, or may not be zoned, for livestock.

They help feed and water animals and do research as to the best diet their specific animals need.

They adhere to a weigh-in chart to be sure that the animal is gaining weight at the correct rate and follow vaccine schedules to be sure their overall health is monitored.

“These kids have a co-op situation where the animals are tended to on a rotational basis so as to help each other out in animal care, working as a team to achieve the goals that they have set for their fair presentation,” said Candee Coffee, owner of C&C Training Stables.

Coffee boards many of the animals and works tirelessly to assist in their care.

“The kids have been walking and grooming their animals and doing showmanship clinics and practices on a regular basis. They even quiz each other on trivia about each of the various animals they are showing.”

The participating youth also travel on the weekends to shows in nearby cities, which give them opportunities to compare their animals to those of their competitors, learn new things and often make new friends.

The rabbit and cavy (guinea pig) kids have been attending shows throughout the year and recently hosted a rabbit and cavy showmanship clinic at Tractor Supply to help in their preparation for the upcoming fair.

This weekend, a group of kids will show their dogs at the Kern County Fair in Bakersfield.

The DEF Fall Equine Festival will be held Saturday, Oct. 12, starting at 8 a.m. at the fairgrounds.

This event is a benefit for the Ridgerunners 4-H, IWV Optomist Club and Desert Empire Fairgrounds.

Pictured: Tallulah Nutter takes a break with her show pig at last year’s DEF Junior Livestock Show and Auction. — Photo by Kelly Cosner

Story First Published: 2019-09-20