For Orange Blossom 4-H members, summer time is fair time! Several members in the club participated in the California State Fair as well as the Stanislaus County Fair. Projects ranged from livestock raised throughout the spring and summer to still exhibits where members showcased their talents.
The junior livestock show at the California State Fair started the second week of July in Sacramento. Orange Blossom members exhibited cattle and rabbits. Chloe Fernandes exhibited Hereford beef cattle. In the Fur and Feathers competition, which consists of poultry and rabbits, Kyle Moore, Braden Moore, and Breanna Morgan showed rabbits who won Best of Breed with a Mini Rex, Opposite Breed Lion Head, and Dwarf Hotot. Braden Moore’s Mini Rex was chosen as Reserve in Show.
Stanislaus Fair kicked off the following week. In the poultry show, Pete Tienken exhibited a dozen eggs, which were awarded Best in Show. Jack Tienken exhibited a French Copper Maran Hen, which was chosen as the Champion Continental Breed. The brothers also took first place in the chicken costume contest for the fourth year in a row. They dressed up as Elvis and his entourage in Hawaiian shorts and gold glasses!
The Orange Blossom 4-H Rabbit Project had a big presence at the Stanislaus Fair, exhibiting a large number of rabbits compared to most clubs in the area, and garnered a great deal of awards and recognition. Nicole Batezell was first in Intermediate Showmanship, Jesse Ruddy won Best of Breed for her Rhinelander Rabbit and Best of Opposite for Polish Rabbits, and Jaylynn Casey won Best of breed with her Dwarf Hotot. Christina Cooper was the Outstanding Rabbit Exhibitor, winning three Best of Breeds, two Best of Shows, 10 first place awards, and numerous other top five rankings. Braden Moore won Best in Show with his Broken Mini Rex. Most impressive was the club winning first overall as a club.
In still exhibits, Jesse Ruddy won first place and Jamie Ruddy won an Honorable Mention in beginning cake decorating. Christina Cooper, Jesse Ruddy and Kellen Franco won several first place awards for their photography, with Cooper earning a Best in Show. Cooper also won Best in Show for her decorated cupcakes.
In the large livestock competition, Molly Terpstra was the Novice Sheep Showmanship Winner and Christina Cooper was the winner of True Novice Sheep Showmanship. Mickala Jones was second in a tough breeding sheep showmanship contest in the intermediate category. Jones showed two ewe lambs, a ram lamb and his dam in her first connective three year futurity project, and is well on her way to growing her flock. Orange Blossom 4-H swine and market goats did well, placing in the top five of their classes.
The county fair also provides opportunity for members to educate the public. This year, many members helped with the Farmyard Experience. There, members were assigned to different animal stations where they could showcase different animals and livestock and answer questions that fair goers may have about them. Animals in the exhibit included goats, poultry, bunnies, baby piglets and Guinea pigs. This wasn’t an ordinary petting zoo. It was a chance for members to give back to the community and say thank you for all of its support while making a difference in animal and agriculture literacy.
These are but a few highlights of the fair season for Orange Blossom 4-H. The hard work of all of its members was rewarded handsomely across the board. Members would like to thank all of the leaders for their dedication to the club’s young people, devoting endless hours of education and practice … a lot of practice. Without 4-H volunteers and their expertise, none of this would be possible