A handful of community “celebrities” tried their best to guide a variety of farm animals around the ring at the Gordon County Livestock Pavilion on Friday night after a quick lesson from members of the Gordon County Young Farmers.
According to Taylor Sills, one of the two college-aged judges, the participants did a great job, considering their inexperience with the cows, goats, lambs and pigs.
The competition was mostly for bragging rights and a custom wooden plaque for the winners, but Annemarie Carr, advisor for the young farmers group, said the event also gives a lot of people who usually aren’t involved a chance to see what the young showman do when they compete in actual events.
“It was a really great turnout and a lot of fun. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, and maybe it helped them understand what the students out here do,” Carr said.
The event also included a fundraiser for the group and served as a warmup for an actual competition between students that followed on Saturday.
Taylor, one of the judges, lauded the participants but was also quick to credit the students who not only helped the celebrities but also put in the work with the animals beforehand.
“They did a really good job for their first time. They didn’t seem nervous and they were able to keep in the animals in control,” Taylor said.
Taylor also noted that the animals responded well in the ring, which speaks to the effort of the young farmers who have been training them.
“To get the animals to where they were at takes a lot of work,” she said. “Because the kids put in a lot of work, a lot of hours to get them where they are.”
In the end, though, a winner had to be picked, and Taylor said it was a close decision in each of the groupings. Eventually, she and Gracie Sexton declared the following order of finishers in each animal category.
5th place — Tim Street
4th place — Sen. Chuck Hufstetler, R-Rome
3rd place — Lacy Powell, FFA advisor for Calhoun City Schools
2nd place — Kim Fraker, Gordon County Schools superintendent
1st place — Peter Coombe, Calhoun High School principal
5th place — Vickie Owens, wife of Gordon County Commissioner Bud Owens
4th place — Eddie Hall, Gordon County Schools Board of Education member
3rd place — Casey Parker, Calhoun Middle School principal
2nd place — Bobby Hall, Gordon County Schools Board of Education member
1st place — Dixie Wyatt, FFA advisor at Ashworth Middle School
5th place — Andy Baxter, Calhoun City Schools Board of Education member
4th place — Rep. Matt Barton, R-Calhoun
3rd place — Calhoun Fire Chief Doug Ralston
2nd place — Rebecca Macedo, FFA advisor at Red Bud Middle School
1st place — Dana Stewart, Gordon County Schools Board of Education member
5th place — Joshua Boydstone, FFA advisor at Sonoraville High School
4th place — Alice Mashburn, director of Human Resources for Gordon County Schools
3rd place — Michele Taylor, Calhoun City Schools superintendent
2nd place — Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper
1st place — Bud Owens, Gordon County Board of Commissioners member
In addition to the individual winners, a “best team” prize was bestowed on the Gordon County Schools team.
Fraker, the county superintendent who place second in the cow competition, said she and her teammates had a wonderful time during the show and learned a lot from the students.
Bobby Hall, the county BOE member who place second in the goat event, said he had a bit of an advantage because he used to compete in such shows back when he was a student.
After the event, Commissioner Owens announced to those in attendance that planning work for a new livestock pavilion would get underway in earnest soon. He said that commissioners had already been working with architects and they were reviewing two potential sites for the project but that input from the people who will use the pavilion most often is needed.
The new pavilion will be funded by the Special Purpose, Local Option Sales Tax.