MOUNT VERNON — Two hours after the show began, Luke Freeman left the show ring with the Grand Champion Dairy Market Feeder. Freeman, a member of Redbrush 4-H Club, emerged the victor over 95 other exhibitors in the Tuesday competition.
“I got lucky today,” he said.
Reserve champion honors went to Amanda Burke of Mount Vernon, who came out of what judge Aaron Gray called the deepest class.
Of Freeman’s 561-pound calf, Gray said it is square, has good structure and is straight down the back.
Gray said there are a lot of similarities between the two calves, including good width, they are not pinched at the shoulder, and they do not carry a lot of extra skin. He spent some time deliberating before making up his mind, several times walking over to each competitor, who happened to be showing next to one another.
When asked what he was thinking each time the judge walked in their direction, Freeman said, “I can’t believe it, actually. I thought she was going to get it.”
“I was just waiting,” said Burke. “I knew he was going to pick me for something.
“I was hoping I’d win grand or reserve,” she said. “I guess I did.”
A six-year exhibitor of dairy market feeders, Freeman’s biggest challenge this year was the calf’s health.
“It got sick on me,” he explained, “but we got the vet out early enough and got the problem taken care of.”
Burke, who has shown dairy market feeders for five years, said her challenge was that her calf almost went overweight. It weighed in at 584 pounds.
Freeman’s advice to other exhibitors is to “stick with it.”
“Anyone can win,” he said.
In the bred, born and raised competition, Ashley Burke took home first-place honors. Of the top 10, three were “home grown.” That, said Gray, was good to see.
The showmanship competition was held prior to the Dairy Market Feeder Show.
A complete list of Junior Fair winners will appear in the results tab in the Aug. 5 edition of the News.