By Aeryelle Gleason
The Times 

Local Students Stand Out at Walla Walla County Fair


September 8, 2022

Aeryelle Gleason

WALLA WALLA-At the Walla Walla Fair and Frontier Days this past weekend, the region's students competed to show the four-legged friends they raised over the summer. In each livestock class (steer, sheep, goat, and swine), students from Waitsburg, Dayton, and Prescott had noteworthy achievements.

Starting with the steers, Elsie Mann of Waitsburg FFA won FFA Grand Champion Market Steer and Overall Reserve Champion Market Steer. Mann has been showing since she was nine and understands the importance of feed programming. Mann's time and attention on adjusting feed specifically for this steer has paid off.

Columbia County Corrals 4H Club member Judson Hall was awarded Grand Champion Junior Showman and 4H Reserve Champion Market Steer. Asked about something he has learned during this experience, he stated, "hard work." Since October, Hall has spent two hours each day training and working with his steer.

In the sheep barn, Jr. Magill of Dayton FFA earned FFA Reserve Champion Sheep. This year was Magill's first showing sheep, as he has only shown steers in years past. Magill said that even though sheep are easier, he enjoys working with the steers more. When asked what class he prefers, market or fitting and showing, he said, "I love showmanship because it shows off you and how much effort and work you have put into your animal."

Working with goats, three local students took home big ribbons. Harlee Coulston with Columbia County Corrals was awarded 4H Grand Champion Market Goat, Reserve Grand Champion Jr. Showman, and Overall Grand Champion Market Goat. With such success, one might be surprised to learn that this was Coulston's first year showing goats.

Megan Forney, of Waitsburg FFA, earned FFA Grand Champion Market Goat, FFA Grand Champion Goat Fitting and Showing, Overall Reserve Champion Market Goat, and Overall Reserve Champion Showman. Forney had insightful advice to share with any students interested in showing.

She said, "don't be afraid to ask questions. That's how I learned everything".

Bailey Standring, a fellow member of Waitsburg FFA, was awarded FFA Reserve Champion Goat. Standring explained that the most challenging aspect of showing goats is "training them; it takes a lot of time and dedication." Despite the challenges, Standring said he enjoys everything about showing goats, especially creating that bond from when they are babies.

Finishing with the swine, Makenna Barron, of Waitsburg FFA, was awarded FFA Grand Champion Market Hog and Overall Grand Champion Market Hog. Since starting in open class at four years old, Barron has gained valuable knowledge in showing pigs. She mentioned that she "loves showmanship and the competitiveness that comes along with it."

Forrest Bray of Grange earned Champion Hog. Sawyer Nichols, of Swine Swaggers 4H club, earned Reserve Champion Market Hog. During Nichols' three years showing pigs, he explained that the biggest lesson he has learned is patience, "it takes a lot of time to work with them."

After talking with these students, it was evident that they are passionate about their sport and aren't afraid of overcoming adversity. Raising and showing animals certainly provides unique opportunities for building one's character and learning valuable life lessons.

Many of the same 4H clubs, and both FFA chapters mentioned, will also be showing livestock this coming weekend at the Columbia County Fair. If you want to show support to our local students, you can watch them compete in the show ring or stop by their pen to see their animals and even learn a fact or two about them. If you are interested in donating support money, or purchasing an animal, the market sale will take place on Sunday the 11. It is the generous support from community members, local businesses and devoted parents that truly make these experiences what they are for our youth.


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