It’s a summer tradition: teenage members of Davis High School’s Future Farmers of America raise market animals (starting in the spring), and then show them at the Yolo County Fair.
Lauren Sutkus, about to start her senior year at DHS, has spent many, many hours raising a lamb she calls Pepsi since May. “I’ve been feeding her twice a day, and practicing to show her in the ring at the fair.” The daily practice involves hand-walking the lamb, and running the lamb around to build up muscle. The judges at the show will feel the lamb to get a sense of how well it has developed.
The long effort paid off. “I showed her on the first day of the fair — Wednesday,” Sutkus said. “And in market class, we got fourth place. And in showmanship, seventh out of 17. I’m very happy. It took a lot of work and effort.”
Speaking on Friday, Sutkus — a second-year student in FFA — said that she wasn’t entirely sure how she’d handle the auction on Saturday afternoon, when the animals are sold. “I think it’s going to be hard. This is my first animal. It’s going to be hard, but at the same time it is very rewarding.”
“And the fair has been a really great time. I have had a wonderful time competing,” Sutkus said. “Davis High FFA has been doing well. It has been wonderful for our family and friends.”
Amelia Crary graduated from DHS in June and will be starting college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in a few weeks. Crary has been a member of DHS FFA for three years. She raised a goat last year, and this year she raised another goat that she calls Lancelot. Crary and her goat scored seventh place in showmanship, and finished first in the goat race.
“The race is like dog-agility — but with goats,” Crary said. “You make them go through obstacles, and you have to train them. Goats can naturally be stubborn. He did really well, ran it in 43 seconds.” Crary added that her animal is “three-quarters Boer goat (a South African breed) and one-quarter Nubian.”
“Goats are the last at the Saturday afternoon auction,” Crary added, “My goat is the heaviest for the FFA market, so if they go in order (smallest to largest), I might be the last person auctioning. It could be a little nerve-wracking because you can’t be sure if the buyers are coming and how much they are going to bid.”
Crary has been working with her goat since May 5. “I do the morning feeding, I was the barn every day at 8 a.m. — including weekends.”
“It’s been so much fun being at the fair,” Crary added. “I watched all the (animal) shows with the other FFA kids, and I had a lot of fun at the goat races.”
Ellie Michael, FFA teacher and advisor at Davis High, said “our students are doing really well, I’m proud of how well they’ve taken care of their animals, as well as the animal pens and the display area. This has been a very successful fair for Davis youth, they’ve done a fine job representing Davis High.”