4-H’ers take center stage

Published 5:40 pm Friday, June 10, 2022

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MURFREESBORO – The summer heat did not deter participants or their animals at this year’s 4-H Livestock Show and Sale, held here Wednesday, June 8.

The participants, ranging in age from 9 to 18 years old, competed in showmanship and market categories with animals they’ve raised over the past several months. In addition to the competitive categories, children aged 5 to 8 years old had the opportunity to participate in the noncompetitive “cloverbud” category to get a taste of what a livestock show is like.

Judge Ronald Hughes displays the top two awards handed out in the Market Class Goat division at Wednesday’s annual 4-H Livestock Show and Sale. Those honors were earned by Jase Pope (left), whose goat was judged as the Reserve Champion, and Jessa Pope (right), who showed the Grand Champion goat. Staff Photo by Holly Taylor

The annual 4-H event, which celebrated its 40th year this June, is a joint effort coordinated by the Cooperative Extension offices of Northampton, Hertford, and Bertie counties.

A variety of livestock are presented to a judge during the show, including lambs, swine, and goats. Ronald Hughes served as the judge for this year’s event, bringing many years of experience to share. He has judged livestock shows all over the East Coast – many of which have been in North Carolina – and is currently retired from NC Cooperative Extension but helps supervise some livestock shows at the State Fair.

In the showmanship category, participants are judged on how well they handle and know the animal they raised. As they lead their animal around the ring, the judge asks them questions to gauge their knowledge while also watching their interactions with the animal.

During the senior division of the goat showmanship show, for example, Hughes asked the two participants to temporarily switch so he could judge how well they were able to handle an unfamiliar animal.

In addition to the showmanship show, the livestock are also judged in the market class, which is divided into weight categories for each animal. For the market class, the winners are selected based on muscular development, finish, structure, size, and carcass qualities, or maternal development and breeding qualities.

A grand champion and reserve champion for each livestock category are named from the market class divisions.

The top winners in each market category were as follows:

Chloe Long – Market Swine Grand Champion

Colby Long – Market Swine Reserve Champion

Jessa Pope – Market Goat Grand Champion

Jase Pope – Market Goat Reserve Champion

Chloe Long’s (left) hog was judged as the Market Class Swine Grand Champion. She is shown with Ronald Hughes, who served as the judge at the annual 4-H Livestock Show and Sale.

Prior to selecting the grand and reserve champions, the 4-H’ers competing in the market class had their animals judged either in the lightweight class or heavyweight class. The top two winners in each market class division were as follows:

Swine Lightweight Class 1st Place: Colby Long

Swine Lightweight Class 2nd Place: Kiersten Flythe

Swine Heavyweight Class 1st Place: Chloe Long

Swine Heavyweight Class 2nd Place: Emalee Jones

Goat Lightweight Class 1st Place: Carter Lassiter

Goat Lightweight Class 2nd Place: Ty Usalis

Goat Heavyweight Class 1st Place: Jessa Pope

Goat Heavyweight Class 2nd Place: Jase Pope

Participants in the showmanship category were divided into junior, intermediate, and senior divisions, depending on their ages. The first and second place winners in each livestock showmanship category were as follows:

Swine (intermediate) – Chloe Long and Colby Long

Swine (senior) – Emalee Jones and Kiersten Flythe

Goat (junior) – Jase Pope and Aleigha Dalzell

Goat (intermediate) – Jessa Pope and Raelynn Thompson

Goat (senior) – Kadence Joyner and Hunter Martin

Other livestock show participants this year included Gray Lassiter, Jacob Simmons, Bryleigh Dixon, Laurali Lassiter, and Rylan Dixon.

Young “cloverbud” participants, showing goats, included River Joyner, Jacob Dalzell, Brooklynn Sawyer, Wallace Lassiter, Boone Usalis, Eleanor Lassiter, Presley Dean Ordnung, and Emma Usalis. Clara Hedgepeth was the lone cloverbud participant with a lamb this year.

The hog shown by Colby Long (left) earned the title of Market Class Swine Reserve Champion. Judge Ronald Hughes is also pictured. Staff Photo by Holly Taylor

Family and friends gathered in the livestock arena to cheer on the 4-H’ers during the event. Some animals were a bit stubborn, but the children all gave their best in front of Judge Hughes, who offered advice and encouragement for future shows.

Following the afternoon’s events, the day concluded with a dinner and then an auction of the grand and reserve champion animals. Parker Phillips returned once again to serve as the auctioneer, a role he’s held since the first Hertford-Northampton livestock show.

Jessa Pope’s grand champion goat was purchased by Producers Gin, while Jase Pope’s reserve champion goat was purchased by Shady Oak Farms.

Shady Oak Farms and Burgess Farms were the highest bidders for Colby Long’s reserve champion swine. Dyna-Gro Seed was the buyer for Chloe Long’s grand champion swine.

Brandon Pike, who serves as the Livestock Agent for Northampton County’s Cooperative Extension, said the annual show is a fun experience for the children to show their animals and also demonstrate to the community all the knowledge and skills they’ve learned along the way.

“The livestock show and sale is the highlight of my year as a 4-H agent,” added Sara Villwock from Northampton County’s Cooperative Extension.

Villwock said the participants learn not only how to take care of their animal and handle them in the show ring for the event, but also responsibility and the cost of the animals as they raise them. The program helps participants use their head, heart, hands, and health, which are what the “4-H’s” stand for.

“All of which are great life skills that 4-H teaches youth in our programs,” she concluded.