For Georgia 4-H and FFA members who’ve grown up showing livestock, winning a grand championship with their animal at the Georgia Junior National Livestock Show is like winning an Olympic medal for a team sport. It takes months to train the animals to calmly walk around the ring, then stand still in the best pose to showcase their muscles and bone structure to win the judge’s favor.
When the species competitions at the annual show ended Feb. 23, the following exhibitors went home as grand champions: Commercial Dairy Heifer – Morgan Patterson of Jasper County; Breeding Doe – Kylie Whitworth of Madison County; Market Barrow – Cason Gentry of Houston County; Beef Heifer – Taylor Barber of Decatur County; Market Steer – Bailey Rayfield of Union County; Market Gilt – Chanleigh Underwood of Jeff Davis County; and Breeding Ewe - Caroline Grace Burke of Screven County.
This is the eighth consecutive year GFB has awarded the cash prizes presented to the grand champions.
“My children showed livestock, so I’ve seen firsthand the positives kids can gain from being responsible for an animal. The months these 4-H and FFA members put into preparing their animals to show taught them to have a good work ethic and how to overcome challenges,” GFB President Gerald Long said. “It’s a privilege for Georgia Farm Bureau to sponsor these awards and support all of the shows at the Georgia Junior National Livestock Show as an investment in the future of Georgia agriculture.”
On March 29 GFB hosted an Evening of Champions for the students, their families and 4-H agents or FFA advisors. GFB President Gerald Long, Georgia 4-H State Leader Arch Smith, and Georgia Ag Education Program Manager Billy Hughes gave congratulatory speeches.
Long presented each champion with their prize check, champion belt buckle and a commemorative photo board.
Prizes were awarded to the champions in the following amounts: Patterson $1,500; Whitworth $1,000; Gentry $1,500; Barber $2,500; Rayfield $5,000; Underwood $1,500; and Burke $1,000. Tanner Norton of Grady County received $2,500 for winning the Grand Champion Market Doe Award at the 2018 State 4-H & FFA Market Goat Show and the Grand Champion Market Lamb Award at the 2018 State 4-H & FFA Market Lamb Show last October. Ben Williams of Gordon County received $1,500 for winning the Grand Champion Market Wether Award at the 2018 State 4-H & FFA Market Goat Show last October.