Kids show calves at Field Days

BLUE-RIBBON WINNER ANDREW Lester, 16, smiles with his spring calf, Tilly. Lester is glad that the Conformation Classes are happening again after last year’s classes were canceled due to COVID-19. Independent photo/John Vaaler

Her best strength is how well she leads with me, because she pretty much just follows me around like a dog.
—Abigail Reen, talking about her calf Oakley

“I’m the only one in my class right now, but first place is always the goal,” said Mount Abraham Union High School student Abigail Reen, 17.

Reen, with her Ayrshire spring calf named Oakley, bagged an unchallenged Blue Ribbon at the 4-H Youth Dairy Show Conformation Classes at Addison County Fair and Field Days on the first day of the fair last week; Renee Baker was the judge.

Reen said that her calf’s greatest strength was her fluid style and obedience.

“Her best strength is how well she leads with me, because she pretty much just follows me around like a dog,” Reen said.

Before she went on to the Spring Calf Championship — for calves born between March 1-April 30 — Reen said she viewed the contest as a great opportunity for Oakley to get some show biz experience.

“This is her first show ever, so let’s see how it goes,” Reen said.

The winner of the Spring Calf Championship and the Munger Award was Sarah Hill, presenting her Holstein Spring Calf named Outstanding.

Outstanding’s greatest strengths, according to Hill, are her “wideness and rib openness.”

Hill went on to win the Fall Calf competition, too (for calves born between last September and November), winning the Steve Pope Award for Best Fall Calf of Show after presenting her cow Tuxedo.  Asked about how she feels about her double victory, Hill said she felt “excited.”

“Training them is kind of hard at some points,” Hill added.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was the Winter Calf competition, where 10-year-old Renee Plouffe won the Plouffe Award, which was named after Renee’s own great-grandmother. Cocoa was the name of the calf that Plouffe trained.

Plouffe said her biggest challenges when getting Cocoa into model shape were “trying to set her up and getting her to walk slow.”

MAUSD student Andrew Lester, 16, competed in the Spring Calf competition, where he and his cow Tilly earned a blue ribbon. Lester said he appreciated that the Conformation Classes have returned after a two-year absence due to Field Days being canceled last year over pandemic concerns.

“It’s great to get back to showing this year,” Lester said. “Everyone’s a bit more rusty, but it’s really fun to get back here.”

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