Livestock Projects Get Their Day in the Arena After All

Bringing dairy feeders in front of judge Toby Paulhamus (top, left) at the youth livestock show held at the Harford Fairgrounds on Friday are (from right) Morgan Tweed, Jeremiah Tweed and Jillian Gustin. Morgan’s steer, Mr. Bubbles, took first in the division as well as Grand Champion, while Jeremiah got Reserve Champion. Susquehanna County Dairy Princess Elizabeth Chidester (below, right) and dairy maid Emmory Coy were popular guests at the event, where they distributed cartons of chocolate milk.

Photos and story by Rick Hiduk

(Also published in the Susquehanna County Independent)

4-H youths in Susquehanna County went from sad to glad over the past few weeks. They were disappointed first by the announcement that the Harford Fair would not be held this year and then elated by the news that a new organization had been formed to provide at least some of the opportunities that they would have missed at the fair.

It was heartbreaking for the kids,” said Ashley DePue of Montrose. “The fair is their chance to show off all their hard work.”

I was upset. I have a lot of friends from other schools, and that’s the only time of the year that I get to see them,” Jillian Gustin of Auburn Township remarked. “And, of course, I love showing.”

When Susquehanna County 4-H and the Penn State Extension could not provide a showing opportunity for the youths due to COVID-19 crowd concerns, nor assist with the auction of the animals, individual 4-H leaders, parents and other members of the community stepped up to form the SusqCo Youth Agricultural Foundation. Using 4-H guidelines as a template, they coordinated a livestock show at the Harford Fairgrounds on Aug. 14 and worked with Lopatofsky Auction for a virtual online sale that culminated on Aug. 15.

Foundation secretary Cathy Bewley estimates that about a third of the youths who might have participated in the fair registered for Friday’s livestock showing. An equal number that were not showing had registered their animals for the virtual auction. Hogs dominated the competition, but cows, lambs and sheep were also paraded through the arena during the course of the warm summer day.

It’s great that they can do this for the kids,” Ashley said of the new organization’s efforts. “It’s a lot of hard work, and they deserve a lot of recognition.”

I was super excited that she would get a chance to show off,” Ashley’s daughter Madison Atherton-DePue said of her hog Cream, who took a second place in her lightweight division. “She did good. But I know she could have done better.” She also showed a slightly heavier hog name Cookie that took second place in his weight class.

Next to her in the ring was her best friend, Madyson Sebring, who bested Madison in the lightweight division and took the Champion Lightweight Market Hog award with Ely, whom she later sold online. Madison’s pigs were sold to a private dealer.

Madyson was excited to learn that there would be an event for showing the animals but lamented, “It’s not like it used to be. I liked showing my pigs without having to wear a mask in the ring.”

The girls got their piglets in February and have worked with them every day for eight months. They maintain diaries of their projects that include details like the cost of feed, which adds up quickly.

This is awesome that they do this. My county didn’t let us show,” said Toby Paulhamus of Jersey Shore, who served as the judge for the event. “Everybody just had to sell their animals privately to whomever they could.”

We have a very good livestock community,” said Jillian. “I knew that something would get formed.” She (below) showed a steer earlier in the morning for a friend and, in the afternoon, showed her own lambs, Danny and Delilah.

When asked just before the competition in which animal she had more confidence, Jillian replied, “I’d probably put my money on Delilah. She’s very stout.” Jillian was right. Delilah took a fourth in her weight class, and Danny scored fifth.

Payton Lord’s bore goat, Opie, was happy to make acquaintances with anyone who passed his pen. Goats are Payton’s favorite animals to raise because of their personalities. “They are great for families who want to play with their animals,” the Elk Mountain Community 4-H member offered. “He’s just like a dog.” Opie took second place in Class 3 of the Market Goats before heading off to the virtual auction.

First place winners in Friday’s competition by weight class were:

Market Lambs classes 1 through 3: Claire Getz, Brooke Arnold, and Andrew Kowalewski, respectively.

Market Steers classes 1 and 2: Madison Soden and Jordan Henning.

Dairy Beef: Morgan Tweed

Market Goats classes 1 through 3: Kayleen Conklin, Ryan Wright, and Ryan Wright, respectively.

Market Hogs classes 1 through 9: Emma Fearnley, Alexis Sebring, Marcus O’Dell, Katelyn Supancik, Madyson Sebring, Tyler Soden, Katelyn Supancik, Madison Soden, and Tyler Soden.

The auction was also a huge success, according to Cathy Bewley. “The prices were sky high, and we have the community to thank,” she stated. “Plus, with an online sale, we had buyers from outside of our general area including Maryland.”

Thomas & Lynn Bolles of Hallstead were the high volume buyers, purchasing 11 of the 72 animals up for bid.

High-selling Market Steer belonged to Jillian Gustin at $6,700, purchased by Thomas & Lynn Bolles.

Adriana Salansky’s Market Hog was a top-seller at $3,300, purchased by Wilder Diamon Blades of Clifford Township.

High-selling Market Lamb was raised by Andrew Kowalewski, purchased for $1,300 by Narrowsburg Feed & Grain, Narrowsburg, NY.

KayLeen Conklin garnered $875 for the top-selling Market Goat, sold to New Milford Hardware of New Milford.

Bewley was amazed by the overall success of the combined competition and online auction. “Our youth, their families and the community pulled together and pulled off the nearly impossible during a pandemic,” she remarked. “It was the best possible outcome for a youth show and sale.”

Read more about how it all happened here:

Additional photos by Rick Hiduk:

Jillian Gustin (above, left) of Auburn Township and Morgan Tweed of Hop Bottom prepare to take Market Steers into the ring.

Madyson Sebring (foreground above) steers her market hog, Cream, past the judge. Cream, who was later purchased by Cabot Oil & Gas via virtual auction, not only took first in her weight class but also Grand Champion Market Hog. Cabot was the key sponsor for the event.

Youth livestock show judge Toby Paulhamus (above, right) and SusqCo Youth Agricultural Foundation co-chair Rob Supancik.

Youths drive their hogs through the chutes to the livestock area last Friday at the Harford Fairgrounds.


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