While The Great Frederick Fair isn’t happening this year, the youth livestock show found a way to continue.
On Saturday, the week-long show kicked off with the rabbit and beef shows at the fairgrounds.
About 50 participants showed their cattle. As usual, the animals were divided by breed, age and sex, but many categories were missing entirely, or only had one entrant.
That’s because many people didn’t think the youth livestock show was actually going to happen this year because of the pandemic, so they sold their animals prematurely, said Chip Long, one of the beef superintendents.
The show usually happens during The Great Frederick Fair, and garners a much larger crowd. But this year, tickets and waiver forms were required for entry, and the group was much smaller. The events are not open to the public.
“We’re used to a lot of other things going on at the same time,” Long said.
It’s definitely been an odd year for livestock shows, as many have not been held since February because of the pandemic. Allie Farmer, 19, who won the supreme reserve heifer prize, said she is used to showing in upwards of 15 shows per year all over the country. But this was only her third show this year, and might be her last. She ages out of the youth livestock show this year.
She’s been showing for 10 years and was introduced by her father, who also showed cows when he was a kid. She was proud to do something unique; there were not many others participating from Gov. Thomas Johnson High School, where she attended, she said.
“I wish I started earlier than I did,” Farmer said.
Farmer is currently looking to pursue a career as a veterinary technician.
Other participants were having their first walk around the ring. Charlie Campbell, 9, was excited to show her Angus steer. Her sister Reese, 11, was showing for the third time.
Their mother Katie Campbell explained that it was something they did with their father and their grandparents, who were all involved in livestock shows growing up.
“I like working with my steer,” Charlie said. “And going to shows. They’re fun.”
Beef superintendent Dave Axline — a legacy member — took over the reins when his father, the previous superintendent, died. While this year’s been out of the ordinary, and putting it on was a challenge in and of itself, he was happy to see that the kids still got to show their animals.
One building down, the rabbit show took place. Many families brought multiple rabbits, sometimes different breeds, to be judged.
Audrey Poffenberger, 18, has been showing rabbits for three years. Unlike many other participants, she was not introduced by her family, but instead her freshman year agriculture teacher at Middletown High.
She brought five rabbits to be judged, all of which were of the champagne d’argent breed. For Poffenberger, being at the fair and interacting with other families is what keeps her coming back.
“[Today’s show] is very different from the past two years,” Poffenberger said. “I still wouldn’t trade it for the world.”