LIMA —The judging for this year’s Allen County Fair Livestock Contest was a bit different than in past years. The roles were somewhat reversed with 4-H members acting as judges.
“It’s their chance to judge the projects,” said Kelly Coble, 4-H educator.” They’re looking at different species and then they’re placing them on how they think if they were a judge.”
What is unusual about this is animals are picked at random to be in the event.
This is something new they’re trying this year “because it is a very social distancing friendly contest,” Coble said. “You don’t get to talk to your friends to compare notes. It’s really your opinion. We have a judge who is setting the classes up for us and then those kids come in and they look at four different animals in each, we have four different species with four different animals and then they are placing them 1-2-3-4.”
But it’s also a learning experience for the 4-H members.
“We also give them questions that they have to ask us. So we may ask them, which one has the heaviest muscle and things like that,” Coble said.
Aisleen Boday, 15, has been involved in 4-H for nearly nine years. She’s actually participated in a similar judging exercise prior to Saturday night’s livestock judging contest.
“It helps you better understand the meat quality of the animals and better understand what certain animals are used for,” Boday said.
Tyler Arheit was one of the 4-H’ers who judged the livestock.
He’s been involved in 4-H for eight years. Earlier, he showed his two golden retrievers.
He had some trepidation about how the livestock judging might go.
“This is the first time ever doing it. I’ve never shown big livestock. I’ve done goats and I’ve done rabbits and dogs. I haven’t done sheep or cows,” Arheit said. “They bring the cows, the sheep and the pigs in.”
It’s an exercise that is educational to Arheit.
“It teaches you how to judge animals to see what you’re looking for in an animal and it teaches you somewhat how to place it and how to be a judge,” Arheit said.
This year’s fair was a junior fair only, which was closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s different, but we can make the best we got with right now and the safest way we can,” Arheit said.
After the fair is over the projects will be butchered and will be judged again.
“Our carcass show is still on. It is closed to the public. So it still on for September 2 at Keystone Meats,” Coble said.
There are plans to record it and right now organizers are unsure if they will stream it live from the event or record it and replay it later.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.