By Korinne Caniglia
Special to The Gazette
Amy King can name the parts of her 4-H pygmy goat without any trouble.
The 12-year-old also can cite the animal’s gestation period and list medications that stop its diseases.
King’s knowledge and skills in the show ring at the Medina County Fair recently earned her the 4-H Premier Exhibitor Award for pygmy goats. Amy, of Wadsworth Township, joined seven others honored for achieving the top combined scores for their livestock skillathons, project judgings and showmanship competitions.
The Junior Fair’s 4-H Premier Exhibitor Award’s other winners were: Justin Packard, beef; Anna Wolff, dairy; Cody Walther, dairy beef; Anna Steidl, dairy goat; Faith Stidham, poultry; Mary Oglesbee, rabbit; and Clayton Boyert, sheep and swine.
Ohio State University Extension coordinates the county’s 4-H youth development program for more than 1,300 youth. Club members gain life skills while exploring different topics, from livestock care to rockets to cake decorating, in hands-on activities and project work.
Extension 4-H Committee members, who help coordinate the junior fair’s shows and events, presented the new awards at the livestock sale. The winners received banners and priority in the sale order at the auction.
“We’re more about raising kids, than animals,” said Bill Harris, the county extension educator of 4-H youth development. “It’s about paying attention to the accomplishments of the exhibitor.
“The member has to be good at selecting the animal and raising it,” he said. “The award also allows the individual to study and work hard and have the opportunity to show a well-rounded project. It’s the best of the best.”
The 4-H members demonstrated excellence in three livestock areas, including skillathons, project judgings and showmanship classes. The skillathons provide hands-on activities that test a 4-H member’s knowledge. For instance, livestock owners might label the sections of a cow’s digestive system or figure the nutritional value of feed samples.
Cody Walther, 13, often quizzed himself to prepare for the skillathon. “I studied the parts of the steer, the types of beef and correct structure of the legs,” said Cody, who lives in Chatham Township.
The livestock judgings reward placement ribbons based on an animal’s muscle and bone structure, growth and weight.
“You have to provide the animal with the nutrients to grow well, clean the stall and provide fresh water. I like raising the animals and having them since a few days old,” said Cody, who belongs to the Achin’ Saddle Cinchers 4-H Club.
Showmanship classes determine how 4-H members handle their animals in the arena. The youth work to groom and display the animal’s best features. Some judges also will test an owner’s knowledge.
Amy likes knowing her hard work has paid off after sharing her knowledge with the showmanship judge. She cares for her three pygmy goats year-round, from recording feed purchases to trimming hooves.
“You have to study and know all your goat’s body parts and trim up your goat so it looks the best,” said Amy, who is a member of the Guilford Go-fers 4-H Club.
“I believe it gives you a sense of character, taking care of your animals,” she said. “It gives you responsibility, learning love and respect toward animals.”
Contact Korinne Caniglia at Ohio State University Extension, Medina County, at (330) 725-4911.