CE-MR-4-Saratoga County#3A0by Richard Smith, Saratoga County Extension Agent
Summers bring out the best in farm youth. Many of them besides doing their normal chores around the farm spend time preparing their animals for exhibition at the county fair. The 172nd Saratoga County Fair just finished and the 4-H’ers of Saratoga County took home numerous ribbons and trophies. Perhaps the realization of the overall wonderful experiences have not settled within their youthful and energetic minds just yet but they will for sure become part of their fond memories in time.
Whether it was the youngest of the eligible showman entering the ring with modest self-confidence for the first time, they all experienced the thrill of arriving at a moment in time that they’ve worked and waited for a very long time. When those proud youngsters proceed into the ring with heads held high and smiles that are endless little do they know their moment of pride is mild compared to the warmth and love within each parent or relative on the outside looking and tensely observing from the rings’ edge. Some parents coach by trying to catch their youngster’s eye, giving nonverbal instructions, while others look on with a silent prayer that their youth hasn’t forgotten all they’ve practiced for days on end prior to show day.
Now every youngster doesn’t end up the top showman of the day but all end up far ahead of those youngsters who grow up never realizing the skill, talent, determination, and confidence of character that each and every 4-H’er gains once they enter that ring. In the future they will be the doers and the individuals who will tackle the challenges presented to them and know that they can lead.
Those triumphs of dogged determination within these 4-H’ers may not be apparent to them the day of the show, but the final appreciation of these accomplishments will be exhibited by these youngsters as they mature into upstanding and future leaders of the community.
Saratoga County has no shortage of young people jumping for the chance to participate in the showmanship classes at the fair. This year was a nominally in that we had only one 4-H’er finishing out their tenure in 4-H showing, however the younger groups were jammed packed and a real treat to watch. The judge toiled for a long time determining who processed the better skill of exhibiting their animal while having the presence of ease, smoothness, and show ring etiquette. Ultimately the master showmanship winner was Stephanie McBath and the reserve showmanship winner was Melanie Luke. This year’s showmanship classes were very impressive with small margins separating the line of 4-H’ers. Stephanie McBath showing a Holstein heifer won the coveted trophy given in memory of Woody Arnold, a lifelong breeder of quality Holsteins and an avid fair goer. Annually the Arnold family of Arnoldhaven Farm presents a True Type Model Holstein Cow to the winner of the showmanship class who has never won the award before. The intention of the award is to honor as many 4-H Holstein showmen as possible.
Rounding out the remainder of the Saratoga County 4-H Show saw Jonathon King win Grand Champion of All Breeds. John Luke with his Jersey cow earned Reserve Grand Champion of All Breeds. Jonathon King in addition to the Rosette awarded he also accepted the Grand Champion of All Breeds Trophy presented by William Peck, Welcome Stock Farm, in memory of Willard Peck an esteemed farmer and county legislator.
This year the Peck family of Clear Echo Farm presented a Best of Udder Trophy in memory of Mr. Larry Peck a national renowned dairymen and lifelong supporter of the Saratoga County 4-H Dairy Youth programs. The proud exhibitor of the best udder in the Saratoga County 4-H Show went to Jonathon King.
The Saratoga County Fair was an overall resounding success. They arrived all eager and glowing. The week went by all too quickly for the 4-Hers who braved the heat from the skies and the heat of competition. They went home with a true sense of accomplishment and pride.