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Everyone is a winner!

MURFREESBORO – The biggest question surrounding the annual 4-H Livestock Show and Sale here Wednesday was who grew the most over the recent months – the animals being shown or the youngsters putting those four-legged creatures through their paces?

Either choice would be a correct answer.

In front of an appreciative crowd, comprised mostly of proud parents and grandparents, 4-H’ers (ages 5-18) from Hertford, Northampton and Bertie counties saw their months of hard work reach a pinnacle as they took part in this 28th annual event held at the 4-H Livestock Arena in Murfreesboro.

Under the keen eye of judge Ron Hughes, a retired Livestock Agent in Johnston County, the local youngsters spent the better part of three-plus hours in an effort to capture an award. Whether or not that ribbon was blue, red or yellow or the championship plate gold or silver, the key element here was watching a group of children mature into young ladies and gentlemen.

Their efforts began when there was still frost on the ground, grooming, nurturing and feeding their animals while working with them to learn handling skills. All that paid off on Wednesday afternoon.

Each 4-H’er competed in three areas – showmanship, market class and keeping a record book. In showmanship, the judge scored the participants (divided into age groups) on how well they exhibited their animals. In the market class, the animals were judged on muscular development, finish, structure and size. Meanwhile, each 4-H’er charted the animal’s progress by keeping a record book.

Other than the Junior Achiever division (ages 5-8), what these youngsters were seeking is what can best be described as the “Holy Grail” of a livestock show – that of having your animal judged as the Grand Champion or Reserve Champion. Those winners were as follows:

Steer

Grand Champion – Thomas Chamblee (Hertford)

Heifer

Grand Champion – Thomas Chamblee (Hertford)

Hog

Grand Champion – Gregory Harris (Northampton)

Reserve Champion – Justin Jones (Northampton)

Goat

Grand Champion – Bailey Vann (Northampton)

Reserve Champion- Dana Vann (Northampton)

Lamb

Grand Champion – Elizabeth Vann (Northampton)

Reserve Champion – Gabrielle Harris (Northampton)

There were other winners as well.

In the Market Class competition for hogs, Chamblee showed the Lightweight winner with Jasmine Harris (Northampton) taking second; middleweight winner was shown by Gregory Harris (Northampton) while Chandler Howell (Northampton) placed second; and the heavyweight title went to Gregory Harris with Jones capturing second.

Junior Showmanship (ages 9-13) winners for hogs were Bethany Martin (1st place) and Ryan Daughtry (2nd place), both of Northampton. Chamblee, Jennifer Sykes and Kelly Sykes, both of Northampton, finished 1-2-3 in the Senior Showmanship (ages 14-18) for hogs.

Jake Bryant and Matt Ellison, both of Northampton, respectively finished first and second in the Lightweight division of the Goat Market class. Bailey and Dana Vann swept the top two spots when showing their Heavyweight goats.

In Junior Showmanship for goats, the top four ribbons went, in order, to Bailey Vann, Brittany Vandiford (Northampton), Thomas Ellison (Northampton) and Ayden Larabee (Hertford).

The top five ribbons for Senior Showmanship for goats were, in order, Dana Vann, Bridgette Vandiford, Bryant, Hannah Roye and Matt Ellison, all of Northampton.

Lamb Market Class winners were: Lightweight division – Elizabeth Vann (Northampton; 1st place) and Gabrielle Harris (2nd place); and Heavyweight division – Bridgette Vandiford (1st place) and John Thomas Taylor (Hertford; 2nd place).

Six ribbons were handed out for Junior Showmanship for lambs. They were earned, in order, by Brittany Vandiford, Larabee, Gabrielle Harris, Elizabeth Vann, Brooke Vann (Northampton) and Taylor.

In Senior Showmanship for goats, Bridgette Vandiford and Lindsay Bryant (Northampton) respectively earned the blue and red ribbons.

As is tradition since his death, the organizers of the event announce the winners of the annual Bill Bridgers Memorial Scholarship, named in honor of the legendary Conway man who was so instrumental for years in this 4-H show. This year’s winners were Jasmine Harris, Kelly Sykes and Jennifer Sykes. Marion Bridgers, his widow, presented the scholarships.