A 4-Hers journey to the fair is finally realized

Posted: Sunday, August 24, 2008

Editor's note: This is the last in a series on a 4-h member trip to the Ninilchik fair.

Submitted Photo
Submitted Photo
4-H member Courtney Stroh is shown in this undated photo with her grand champion ribbons for writing.


That is about all I can say.

My journey to the fair ended with success, although along the way, I encountered some learning experiences and surprises. From riding to the fair with smelly birds, to barn duty, and the auction, it was an incredible adventure.

When we arrived at the Ninilchick fair grounds the vet checked the animals for diseases. I felt nervous that my chickens would not pass inspection and I wouldn't be able to sell them. But fortunately, my birds were cleared.

Next was weigh in. First were my showmanship chickens, Jasmine and Buddy. They weighed in at 1.2 lbs, and 2.2 lbs. After that, I weighed in my meat chickens. They weighed 7, 8, 9 and 10 pounds. Finally, the turkeys: Lu-Lu weighed only 8 pounds and Brian 11 pounds I caged everyone, and gave them food and water.

I thought Thursday would be a quiet day. Wrong! We arrived at 1 p.m. and the next hours were a rush, entering my other exhibits; a painting, a journal about my series of articles and my project record book. I also had to interview with the judges.

After the interviews, I rushed back to the trailer and dressed in my showmanship attire. I was nervous about showmanship because I had never done it, and it seemed to be difficult. Being the last to show, I waited with my bird, hoping it would not fly away.

Finally, my turn came. I showed Jasmine and when they announced awards, I was shocked to hear that I was Grand Champion.

I woke up Friday morning early and fed my animals and ate breakfast. At 8 a.m. conformation judging occurred. I hoped for a good prize, because prizes determined the auction order.

Conformation took a long time, and I had to leave for barn duty before my birds were evaluated. Later, I walked to the 4-H office to check on my other entries. To my surprise I found that I had been awarded two divisional grand champion ribbons and my record book had won overall grand champion and was placed in the lighted showcase!

The rest of the day went by in a rush. I found out that being a 4-Her at the fair is no vacation.

Saturday. Auction Day! Again I woke up early. I waited nervously for the auction. During conformation, my meat chickens received red ribbons rather than blue, meaning they were later in the auction line.

When the auctioneer called my name, I walked in the auction ring holding my chicken and smiling at the crowd. I couldn't understand the bidding, but they stopped at $350 sold to Country Foods! After the bidding, there were add on's -- where businesses could add on to the original price. That evening, I found out that my total income was $685.

This summer I stayed busy learning, having fun, and facing challenges, setbacks and successes. All of these experiences added up to an awesome journey to the fair.

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