What does it take to raise a grand champion? Recognizing good lineage, even when the animal is just days old, is part of the equation, says Sarah Hanks, 19, of Templeton, California. Her grand champion market lamb, Beavis, was a winner at the 2006 L.A. County Fair Jr. Livestock Auction because he has good structure, a lot of muscle, and good top shape (the length of his spine, where the loin is), Hanks explained. She is good at picking champions. This is the third blue ribbon in a row for the Modesto Junior College student, who has been raising livestock since she was 9.
Marcus Wood of Rowland Heights is just 9, but he won three blue ribbons this year, for poultry, rabbits, and his grand champion calf named Murphy. He has raised Murphy since he was 3 days old.
John the Steer won Maggie Boneso, 11, of Paso Robles, a grand champion blue ribbon. He, too, has excellent “conformation,” meaning that he is well-built, deep bodied, and has good bones and musculature. Boneso will use some of her winnings to invest in livestock to enter in next year’s competition. The rest is for college, she says.
The Jr. Livestock Auction is the culmination of a year-long endeavor that gives young people the opportunity to make a business investment in raising livestock and realizing the financial rewards of raising top-ranked animals.
The Fair runs through Oct. 1, closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Live thoroughbred horse racing runs through Monday, Sept. 25. For more information on the L.A. County Fair, call (909) 623-3111 or visit us at www.lacountyfair.com.