As the Sumner County Fair was drawing to a close in Caldwell last weekend, novice and veteran 4-H participants talked about preparing their livestock to show.
Lola Zeka, 8, of Wellington, was proud of the Grand Champion in showmanship prize she won with her goat, Lupe, (named from the movie “Ferdinand”) in the junior division.
“I was really excited,” Lola said, “cuz’ it was my first year.”
Lola received a lot of help and coaching from her 13-year-old sister Whitney Zeka. She advised Lola to learn control and not let the goat overpower her.
“I need to face the judge, smile, always have him in a rectangle with his head up,” Lola said, going over her sister’s advice.
Makenna Beesley, 18, of Perth, had been in 4-H since she was 6-years-old. She spoke a few minutes before entering the Round Robin contest where best in showmanship winners compete.
“It’s nice to have the top as my last year,” Beesley said.
Lucy Boyles, 15, who shows goats, said, “You wanna’ start from right away when they’re little and not afraid of you and teach them to walk so they don’t freak out around people.”
Sammie Strnad, 18, of Conway Springs, was in her last year of showing at the fair. She started by showing the bucket calf when she was 7.
“I won’t miss working with them every morning in the summer,” she said.
Over the years, Strnad learned what judges want in a calf, such as a good balance of fat and muscle and no sudden movements - “correct traits,” she said. “You gotta’ learn how much to feed it.”
Strnad, who is going to K-State to study business, said she will continue to go to the fair and that she will want her own kids to be in 4-H someday.
“It gives you a sense of responsibility,” she said. “You get to raise your own livestock. You get told how well you did. You take care of the responsibility you were given.”