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Beyond the Barn: Records of Ribbons and Livestock Leaders

Written by: Lili Steel 

Starting back in October, the San Luis Obispo High School Farm became the home to  heifers and steers, then eventually lambs and swine livestock projects. The animals were being raised by FFA students to show at the California Mid State fair. The school farm and animals serve as an extension of our classroom to provide hands on learning opportunities for students enrolled in Agriculture classes. Over 70 SLOHS Tigers enrolled in Livestock Management 1-3 to exhibit animals as an SAE Project and as a way to be involved in our program. The students were responsible for the health, veterinary care, and development of their animals, as well as feeding them daily and working on their showmanship skills. In order to exhibit animals with our chapter students must also be involved on a leadership committee and do 10 hours of community service. Over the past week the hard work and efforts paid off at the Mid State Fair; enduring 100 degree weather in Paso and the thousands of people that entered the fair-grounds daily, SLO FFA students continued to impress in both showmanship and market classes. “Garth Brooks may have set records, but our students set records of ribbons and lessons in leadership.”


Industrial Arts, Dogs, Chickens & Dairy:

To kick-start the fair the Industrial Arts group, comprised of  Thomas Phelan and Wyatt Judge, under the guidance of “Teacher of the Year” Tim Fay , were named “Best In Show” for their aluminum boat. Sydney McGovern, Bella Marden, Daphne Hummel and John Martinek all represented Edna 4-H with different projects. Sydney placed first in novice and senior showmanship for dog obedience and was titled the ‘Best Showman’. Bella showed chickens and won the Reserve Champion Large Breed, had 4 division champions and won 4-H intermediate and senior showmanship. John, Daphne and Bella all showed dairy heifers: John won the Reserve Champion Jersey Heifer, Daphne won senior showmanship and Bella placed third in senior showmanship and had an honorable mention Jersey Heifer.


Sheep Group:

The SLO FFA lamb group had 12 lambs overall. In market everyone had great success and SLO FFA had three students in the FFA final drive. Ty Evans had Reserve Champion White Face Cross, Lili Steel had Reserve Champion Natural and Daphne Hummell had AOB Reserve Champion lambs. In showmanship all the hours of practice paid off; Lauren Erickson was the first place FFA novice showman and Lili Steel was the 2nd place novice showman. Sydney McGovern, Bella Marden, Elisa Garnsey, Lauren Erickson and Lili Steel all competed in the final drive for showmanship. The lamb group placed second overall for ‘pen of five’ and had a very successful fair.


Swine Group:

The 38 members of the SLO FFA swine group had an outstanding fair. Titles include FFA Champion and Reserve Champion Duroc, Reserve Champion Hampshire, Reserve Champion Yorkshire, Reserve Champion Light All other Breed (AOB), several class winners and 2nd place overall Pen of 5. In Novice swine showmanship Maya Ramos placed third, Joe Wilson placed fifth and Sydney Abney placed sixth; Sophie Dietrich, Eve Hedges, Ethan McKeague, Jacob Alonso and Hayden Shannon all advanced to the finals of advanced swine showmanship. A huge amount of gratitude is paid to the Silva family for their constant support and guidance to our SLO FFA swine projects.


Beef Group:

The SLO FFA beef group had an incredibly successful fair. The SLO FFA steer group placed first as a chapter group, Champion and Reserve Champion English Steer went to Jacob Grant and Reserve Champion went to Lacey Hass, Champion AOC Steer went to Thomas Phelan and Reserve Champion went to Wyatt Judge. In the heifer show Wyatt Judge won the FFA champion and the Supreme Grand Champion Heifer title, Lacey Hass was the FFA reserve Champion Heifer and ‘Best Red Heifer’ in show, Shelby Walker and Sydney McGovern were both class Champions and SLO FFA was the first place chapter team for pen of 3. Showmanship was equally successful with all but two of the exhibitors making the cut for Advanced Beef Showmanship, including Wyatt Judge winning first, Lacey Hass second and Sydney McGovern 4th overall.


Champions & Leaders Wear Purple to Express Gratitude

On the last Friday of fair SLO FFA started a new tradition, “Champions Wear Purple”. The day is used to thank all the amazing livestock office staff and crew. Whether it is helping with paperwork, handing out ribbons, holding gates, keeping kids safe, doing paperwork, fixing classes, handing out ear tags, or helping with situations, everyone is incredibly blessed to have people working hard to help make this a remarkable fair. On behalf of all the members of SLO FFA we send so much gratitude to everyone that has supported us for the fair, including buyer’s, breeders, parents, staff and our amazing advisors.

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