BY MICHELLE MILLER
Striped tents will soon be up at the Iroquois Farm Showgrounds as a local tradition continues.
The Farmers’ Museum 65th annual Junior Livestock Show will kick off Sunday. The threeday event will feature more than 250 youth exhibitors from a nine-county region showing more than 750 animals.
According to coordinator Meg Preston, the show has grown over the years as well move to a new location.
Stephen C. Clark Jr. established The Farmers’ Museum cup to give to 4-Hers showing at the Otsego County Fair in 1947, Preston said. The following year, she said, a show was held on the museum’s grounds where the carousal is now.
“I believe it was just a oneday show then,” she said. Preston, who grew up in Cooperstown, said she remembers going to watch the show across the road near the lake as a child. She said she was not sure when it was moved. “I believe it was in the early ’80s when it got moved to its current site (the Iroquois Farm on county Route 33 south of Cooperstown), “she added.
Since 1947, The Farmers’ Museum has collaborated with the Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program to produce the show, which is the second largest youth competition in New York state. The event tests the skills of youth handlers ages 8 to 18 who present animals (dairy cows, beef,swine, dairy goats and sheep) that they own, care for and have prepared for competition.
There are other shows that are smaller that a lot of the children participate in, according to Preston. However, she said none quite compare to the junior show because there is no fair atmosphere and it is all about the youth taking responsibility and preparing their animals for show.
“It is a great start for the summer and to prepare the youngsters for other shows,” Preston said. “A lot of families say it is their favorite showbecause their kids get to meet other kids from other counties. Many of these kids only get to see one another once a year atthis event.”
Sharla Woodrow of Milford had eight cows at the livestock show last year. She has been participating for five years and said there is tougher competition at the Cooperstown show thanat county fairs. She said she generally takes cows to the Delaware and Chenango county fairs.
“My mom and her sister showed all their life, so they got me into it when I was young,” Woodrow said. She said she likes showing because it allows her to spend time with her family and animals as well as meetother children with the same interests.
Megan Greene showed sheep for the second time during last year’s event.At the show, Greene said she tries to work with the sheep every day and teaches them to lead with a halter. She said she learns more each year to improve her showing skills.
Showing is fun because it provides a chance to meet new people, Greene said. She said it is also fun to “just hang out with the animals.” Greene said her mother spins sheep wool to make sweaters and hats.
The Junior Livestock Show is where the ideals of 4-H are put into practice, Vice President for Education Garet Livermore said.
“You can see the future of farming,” he said. “The show is a culmination of months and months of hard work by the youth exhibitors raising and caring for their animals. The feeling of camaraderie at the show is contagious.”
The show is free and open to the public. Festivities will kick off with a chicken barbecue at 5 p.m. Sunday. The cost is $8 per person. A free ice cream social will follow at 7:30 p.m.
On Monday, judging will begin at 9:30 a.m. for animals and showmanship classes, which test the handler’s ability to present his or her animal in the way that best shows off their conformation, according to a museum media release.
At 5 p.m., representatives from the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health will lead a discussion on safety. Prizes will be awarded at 6 p.m. for the best posters displayed in the visitor tent in the 23rd annual Farm Safety for Kidz Poster Contest.
On Tuesday, judging will begin at 9 a.m. At 2:30 p.m., the grand champions in the dairy, beef, dairy goat, sheep, and swine divisions will join thewinners of the F. Ambrose Clark Livestock Trophy, The Farmers’ Museum Cup, and The Farmers’ Museum Dairy Goat Cup in a Parade of Champions. Visit FarmersMuseum.org for more information.
BY MICHELLE MILLER
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