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Livestock event proves the show must go on

Lawrence County Livestock Show organizer Carrie Cheek sanitizes the gate during the competitions on Tuesday. (The Ironton Tribune | Austin Johnson)

Independent competitions spanned three days at fairgrounds

By Austin Johnson and Taylor Burnette

ROME TOWNSHIP — The Lawrence County Livestock Show wrapped up on Thursday, after three days of animal competition at the Lawrence County Fairgrounds.

The event, organized by fair parents Carrie Cheek and Rob Calaway, was an independent event, put together after the Lawrence County Fair was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fair board had considered hosting a junior fair with 4-H events, but ultimately voted against it, as there were no grandstand events to make it financially feasible.

Gracie Daniels was the grand champion in the breeding goat competition at the Lawrence County livestock show at the Lawrence County Fairgrounds in Rome Township on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of Kayla Niece)

This week’s event was not a part of Lawrence County 4-H or the fair board’s events, but featured many families who are regulars at the fair.

Participation was smaller than the fair, as many families had sold their animals after the announcement of the fair’s cancellation.

This week’s show had enough participants to feature competitions in the cattle, rabbit, goat, lamb, chicken and hog categories.

On Tuesday, the youth came together to show lambs and goats in the main barn at the fairgrounds.

“I love showing,” Lily Schneider, grand champion in breeding lambs, said. “I was really disappointed there wasn’t going to be a fair, but when they said there was gonna be a show, I got excited.”

Schneider says to get her animals prepared for the livestock show. She has to feed and water them every day and has to work them every day.”

“COVID-19 has made it a lot easier actually, without having school and sports,” she said. “I’ve had more time to spend with my animals.”

Jason Lewis was a three-time winner, taking grand and reserve champion, as well as showman in the Lawrence County Livestock Show that took place on Tuesday at the Lawrence County Fairgrounds in Rome Township. (Photo courtesy of Kayla Niece)

Eli Wileman, a first-time participant, landed himself in second place in that event, following Schneider.

Eli says he was there to “show lambs and just have fun.” He loves animals and feels great about coming in second, he said.

Colt Pancake, finishing in third, said “We practice a lot, use a lot of time out of our day, and help with each other’s animals.”

He said “things like this, make (him) excited.”

This competition was judged by Zach Bartensalger. He said he looks for animals that are “going to look like they can go back into production.”

Bartensalgar said for females, specifically, he looks for “maternal type traits,” such as body flesh and structural integrity.

He also stated that this is a teachable moment as well, saying the kids learn what hard work and responsibility really is.

“There’s a lot of us here that this was going to be our last 4-H year,” Maddy Calaway, who was set to show cattle on Thursday and went on to win in two categories, said. “So we came and brought our animals, anyway, because this is our last go-around. This is our last time that we get to walk in that ring and show off our animal to that judge.”

Everyone really wants to bring home that purple banner, she said.

Elizabeth Ferguson was showman in the rabbit competition in the Lawrence County Livestock Show took place on Tuesday at the Lawrence County Fairgrounds in Rome Township. (Photo courtesy of Kayla Niece)

The event was staffed by volunteers, comprised mostly of families who regularly participate in the fair and 4-H programs.

Around 100 people gathered on Wednesday to view the showing of this year’s hogs.

Nearly 30 hogs were shown, with many participants showing multiple animals to the judge.

Despite the 90-degree heat of the day, participant Jaxon Gates said he felt very good after showing his hog, Bullet. He really enjoyed the event, Gates said.
Many spectators ate ice cream and sipped lemonade, enjoying the atmosphere of such a large event.

The crowds gathered on both sets of bleachers, very few were wearing masks or seating by social distancing, to watch the showings. Handwashing stations were set up and volunteers sanitized the facilities.

Aside from the show barn and parking area outside, the rest of the Lawrence County Fairgrounds were deserted, amidst the cancellation of the Lawrence County Fair due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

County fairs were canceled throughout the Tri-State region or postponed until late summer. Lawrence County’s fair typically takes place the week after Independence Day.

The fair board has said it hopes senior and junior fair events will be able to return for summer 2021.

— For more photos from the show, see the Focus pages in the July 18 weekend edition and the Wednesday, July 22 Tribune, or go to our Facebook page


Lawrence County Livestock show winners

The Lawrence County Livestock Show took place Tuesday through Thursday at the Lawrence County Fairgrounds.

Held in place of the canceled Lawrence County Fair, the independent event allowed young famers to show their animals to judges in multiple categories.

Organizer Carrie Cheek said donations collected from sponsors made it possible for them to give the youth exhibitors $13,800 total in premiums.

Market Hog Show

Grand champion – Jason Lewis

Reserve Champion – Jason Lewis

Showmanship – Jason Lewis

Market Chicken Show

Grand champion – Eilee Freeman

Reserve Champion – Victor Day

Overall Showman – Eilee Freeman

Market Lamb Show

Grand champion – Lily Schneider

Reserve champion – Isabella Kerns

Market Steer Show

Beef Breeding – Junior Heifer Calf

Grand Champion – Maddy Calaway

Reserve Champion – Kynslie Moore

Feeder Calf

Grand champion – Karsyn Ball

Reserve Champion – Maddy Calaway

Market Steer

Grand champion – Karsyn Ball

Reserve Champion – Morgan Kaiber

Showmanship – Karsyn Ball

Lamb/Goat Show

Breeding Lambs

Grand champion – Lily Schneider

Reserve Champion – Eil Wileman

Showmanship – Garrett Daniels

Goats

Grand Champion – Gracie Daniels

Reserve Champion – Gunner Daniels

Showmanship – Garrett Daniels

Market Goat

Grand champion – Hunter Kerns

Reserve champion – Hunter Kerns

Rabbit Show

Market Rabbits

Grand champion – Leah Gorby

Reserve Champion – Kayla Pruitt

Breeding Rabbits

Grand champion – Leah Gorby

Reserve Champion – Elizabeth Ferguson

Overall showman – Elizabeth Ferguson