The 4-H Grand Drive returned to the Fairgrounds Coliseum Monday night. Dr. Clint Rusk formerly of Purdue and now the head of animal sciences at Oklahoma State University, spoke to the crowd before selecting the grand champion steer. Rusk was very impressed with the coliseum renovation and said the lighting and footing make it a very comfortable place to exhibit and judge livestock. The cattle judge, like many of the judges, said the Indiana livestock entries compare extremely well against other states.
“This is my first state fair to judge this year, but I’ve judged state fairs for a number of years,” he told HAT. “I thought the quality here was extremely good. The champion steer would stack up at any show that I’ve been to, state fair or national show. He would be very, very competitive. As you got into the show there were some extremely good calves that didn’t come out tonight, that stood 3rd or 4th in class, that were very, very nice steers, and that tells us that we had a high quality show. The reserve champion crossbred tonight didn’t make the top 5 but he was an extremely good steer. I just felt that there were 5 slightly better, and that tells us we had really good competition.”
Rusk’s selection of Grand Champion Steer was Cole Wilcox of Lawrence County, a sophomore at Bedford North Lawrence. He has made it to this level previously.
“I won it two years ago, my sister’s won it twice, my dad’s won it twice and my aunt’s won it twice.”
Grand Champion Heifer went to Becca Chamberlain of Randolph County, and Jaxon Parmley from Putnam County showed the 2014 Grand Champion gilt.
“Yeah it feels great! I’ve always wanted to do this. It’s been one of my lifetime goals to be here, to show and exhibit and be in the Grand Drive.”
Parmley said what set his gilt apart is that “she’s one of kind and unique for her breed, I think.”
He also shows dairy cows. The Grand Champion Lamb winner is Alex Raute of Hamilton County. She’s had success at the Indiana State Fair but this is her first grand champion and she got emotional as she credited her family’s support for getting her over the hump.
“They really help get you through the process of learning how to work the sheep, and they just support you along the way.”
Her immediate goal is to compete well at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville in November.
Grand Champion meat goat wether Monday night went to Elizabeth Michel of Wabash County. Grand Champion Barrow honors were awarded to Abby Taylor of Wells County and the Reserve went to Luke Wechter of Noble County.
Eryn Schinbeckler from Whitley County owns the Reserve Grand Champion market lamb. Reserve heifer goes to Aubrun Harvey of Henry County. The Reserve Grand Champion gilt was shown by Taylor Schuerman of Jackson County, and the Reserve Grand Champion steer was shown by Nathan Hayden from Jasper County.