The Big E is a major sleight of hand in organizing. During the week, each set of animals are led in, judged, and then moved out so the next set can move in.
In the sheep department over 800 meat sheep were judged from Friday to Tuesday, according to Nancy Miniter who mans the sheep desk. After much pondering and discussion by the judges, the winner of Supreme Champion Ram was Evan Syme of South Windsor, CT, with a Polled Dorset lamb out of the champions of every breed that had won over the last few days. After the meat sheep breeds and their owners moved out, the wool sheep moved in.
“This is the third time I’ve judged the show. It has increased in quality each time,” said sheep judge Dan Spilde of Stoughton, WI who travels coast to coast judging sheep. On the board of Directors of the American Cheviot Sheep Society, he shows purebred Dorsets, Southdowns, Cheviots, Tunis and Hampshires. “This is one of the more competitive shows in the country,” he said
The other two judges were Matthew Pinckney of Maryland and Steve Majchrzak. Many sheep competitors show at the Big E on their way to the North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) in Louisville, KY in November.
What are they looking for? “Structural correctness, good breed characteristics; how much muscle and frame size they have is a big part of it. All considered breeds are bred more for their carcass value than fleece quality,” said Spilde.
The Supreme Ewe was a Cheviot yearling ewe owned by Katherine Duykendall of Richland Center, WI.
Outside the Mallory building people lined up to see this year’s butter sculpture made out of 600 pounds of butter, made from 12,600 pounds of milk. The whimsical sculpture is so realistic, “It looks like her head hurts,” one child said while viewing the girl made of butter getting ready to stand on her head while a boy hangs from his hands from a tree made solely of butter, kept refrigerated behind tall windows of thick Plexiglass. Another child made of butter sits on a fence drinking what appears to be a plastic bottle of you-guessed-it, milk.
The butter sculptors must have become very cold and left in a hurry after finishing, because they left their tools and a roll of paper towels behind inside the exhibit. The butter was donated by Agri-Mark and Cabot and sponsored by the Massachusetts Dairy Board.
The sculpture is a teaching tool, promoting dairy products with prominent easy-to-read placards beside it explaining that being delicious, butter contains many fat soluble vitamins, and is rich in saturated fats. To produce it, Massachusetts farming families manage over 100,000 acres of land for agriculture, recreation and conservation, generating 43.9 million in sales.
Dairy breed representatives took home many ribbons. In the Brown Swiss division, sponsored by the New England Brown Swiss Association, Kelly III, William, and Nathan Goldenberg of Winchester, NH scored Senior Champion with their six-year-old Rocky Hollow Maiden Fern. Under their Signature Swiss prefix, Laurie Cuevas and Bruce Jenks of Hadley’s Prelude Lilly Sierra Misty, best known as Misty, earned Reserve Senior Champion.
Sponsored by Billings Farm & Museum, the Grand Champion in the Jersey breed, was Tierney Farm Malone, NY with Tierney Tequila Londa, while Reserve Grand Champion was Billings Farm Woodstock, VT with Billings Indiana Raquel-ET.
Twelve-year-old Denia Young of Fort Ann, NY placed 4th, competing against other Ayrshires for the first time at the Big E, with her fall yearling Ayrshire heifer, not in milk, Ethier-Acres Burdette Princess, last year’s Jr. Champion at Vermont State Fair. “She had a lot of fun and learned a lot,” said her mother Jenny Young. Which is what it’s all about, for fair attendees and competitors alike.