“I really like animals,” she said while she groomed her calf, Dallas, which she named after the Dallas Cowboys football team.
Camila and hundreds of other youths involved in 4-H and FFA participated in animal showmanship Saturday.
Large animal competitions started Saturday at the California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta and continue today.
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This category includes swine, lambs, feeder calves and steers. Results are expected to be released by Wednesday, said Kelly Secord, livestock superintendent.
While Camila groomed Dallas with a vacuum cleaner and gave it sugary water, she said that Dallas is the first feeder calf she’s raised.
Camila, a member of the Magnolia 4-H Club for the past six years, previously had only raised lambs.
“I wanted to switch it up because I want a steer in the future,” she said. To have a steer requires experience, Camila said before leaving with Dallas for the Junior Showmanship contest.
By that time Camila had just won first place in novice feeder calves.
She also won a second place in the market showmanship earlier that day.
“I was nervous earlier,” Camila said. But she said felt “good” and “confident.”
Nearby, another 4-H competitor was taking a much-needed power nap.
“I was up by 5 a.m.,” said Holtville resident Ben Abatti III moments after waking up.
He, like all of these young competitors, were up early “to feed the animal (and) clean the pens,” Ben said.
This is Ben’s fifth year showing lambs at the fair and he has experience in raising all animals except feeder calves and horses, he said.
His experience seems to have paid off because for the last two years his animal has been supreme grand champion.
“I’m going to shoot for my third this year,” he said proudly.
Raising animals is great for making friends, learning management skills and making some money, Ben said.
An average lamb can be worth between $600 and $900, he said. “Steers can go for $10,000, but they are expensive to raise, too.”
But Ben said he doesn’t raise animals for money.
“I like the competition. I’m more of a competitive person,” he said.
Staff Writer Alejandro Davila can be reached at 760-337-3445 or firstname.lastname@example.org