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It’s Show Time!


Bearcats Paige Autry and Kendall Savage win big at the California Mid-State Fair

Under harsh, artificial lights of the Mid-State Fair arena, the best of the best prepared to show their animals once again for the highly anticipated Final Drive at the California Mid-State Fair. Out of a total of 856 animals at the CMSF, only the top four get to compete for the titles of Supreme and Reserve Supreme Champion.

Bearcats senior Paige Autry and junior Kendall Savage waited nervously as the Final Drive began, their white uniforms neat and animals clean. Minutes passed as judges tallied. Finally, the names of the four champions of sheep were called, naming them both. Autry walked out with her lamb, her left hand firmly under its chin and right hand stroking its back as she lead it on in a circle, never breaking eye contact with the judge. She then braced her lamb squarely against her hip and set it up so that its legs were even and back straight.

Charles Seidensticker, the judge of market lambs and goats, he surveyed each of the champions with a meticulous eye. He then reached for the microphone, and a hush went over the speculating crowd of 300 people. “And your 2018 Reserve Supreme Champion goes to… Paige Autry!” said Seidensticker as he walked over to Autry’s lamb and shook her hand.

“I cannot express how excited I was to have been able to be in the ring with such amazing people and animals. This  will always be considered one of the most exciting days of my life,” Autry said.

This had been Autry’s third time winning the title of Reserve Supreme Champion Market Lamb, with her other wins at the 2018 California Mid-State Fair ranging from Champion Hampshire lamb, Reserve Champion Crossbred lamb to third overall in FFA Senior Showmanship.

“I started showing sheep when I was nine years old and ever since have always strived to be in the Final Drive. Showing has become one of the biggest parts of my life, and I can’t imagine a day where I can’t show anymore,” Autry said.

Autry stares intensely at the judge as she shows her Supreme Reserve Champion lamb Boogie.

Next on the agenda were the goats, Savage’s specialty. Similar to lambs, Savage and the three other champions walked out into ring, backs straight as they led on their goats with a halter. Savage, who has been in Chaparral 4-H for eight years, felt mixed emotions as she walked her goat in a wide circle before she set it up and braced it.

“I was nervous but excited at the same time because you never know what’s gonna happen,” Savage said.

Seidensticker took a bit longer as he studied each goat before he turned on the microphone and addressed the curious crowd and anxious showmen.

“This year turned out a bunch of excellent goats and these showmen aren’t making my job any easier with the way that they’re showing them…but your 2018 Supreme Champion Market Goat goes to this young lady right here.” Seidensticker patted Savage’s lamb, and she broke out into a huge smile as he shook her hand.

Savages smiles widely as she shakes the judges hand after winning Supreme Champion with her goat Dot.

“It takes a lot of effort to show goats. Essentially all animals exhibited in county fairs take a lot of hard work…it felt great knowing that all my hard work has paid off!”Savage said. This was Savage’s second year taking the title and along with it she also won Champion Advanced Market Showman and Reserve Champion for Round Robin.

Autry plans on continuing her showing career with Paso Robles FFA until she is 18 where she wants to become a large animal vet and continue working with animals. Savage also plans on continuing her 4-H career until she is 18. She plans on working at national shows and to continue raising livestock to help the younger kids in the industry.

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