Ramona 4-H’ers among winners at San Diego County Fair
As in past years, Ramona 4-H’ers have taken winners to the San Diego County Fair at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Katie and Carney Flinn garnered the top rabbit meat pen awards, Kaylin Van Tol walked away with her veal calf earning supreme reserve champion, and Christopher Wier won supreme reserve champion for market swine.
Flinn sisters sweep rabbit meat pen awards
By Joe Naiman
The Flinn sisters once again swept the top two rabbit meat pen awards at the San Diego County Fair.
This year, 13-year-old Katie Flinn won supreme grand champion with her pen and 15-year-old Carney Flinn was the supreme reserve champion. Last year, Carney was the supreme grand champion and Katie was the supreme reserve champion.
“We both shared the projects,” Katie said.
“They’re both our rabbits,” added Carney. “It’s a family rabbit project.”
Each pen had three rabbits. The litters were born April 17, which made them 69 days old on the judging day.
The rabbits must be no older than 69 days as of the judging date. Although they may be younger, older rabbits have more meat and weight.
Katie’s rabbits ranged from 4.72 to 4.82 pounds while Carney’s rabbits were 4.54, 4.55 and 4.56 pounds. The rabbits must weigh between 3 and 5 pounds, and similar size is one of the judging criteria.
The 4-H grand and reserve champions for each animal and the Future Farmers of America grand and reserve champions compete for supreme grand champion and supreme reserve champion. The Flinn sisters, who are members of Ramona Wranglers 4-H, also won the 4-H grand champion and reserve champion awards.
As was the case last year when Katie’s meat pen brought more than Carney’s at auction, this year’s supreme reserve champion rabbits sold for more than the supreme grand champions. The fair’s livestock office paid $950 for Katie’s rabbits and has plans to breed and show the animals. Mitchell Livestock paid $1,200 for Carney’s three 2013 rabbits.
This is the sisters’ fifth year in 4-H. They have had rabbits at the San Diego County Fair all five years. Carney had the reserve grand champion pen at the 2011 county fair.
Katie completed eighth grade at Olive Peirce Middle School and will be entering Ramona High School when school resumes. Carney completed her freshman year at Ramona High School last month.
Their father, Scott, was in the United States Navy before retiring with the rank of captain. The family moved from South Carolina to Ramona 12 years ago.
In addition to thanking their parents, Scott and Kim, the sisters expressed appreciation for Ramona Wranglers 4-H community leader Cindi Zeigler and to chapter rabbit group adviser Debbie Leroy.
Because the Flinn sisters were in different age classes, they each took first place in the showmanship category for rabbits.
Katie won the intermediate division and Carney had the best senior division score.
Katie placed second in the master showmanship for all small animals at the intermediate level while Carney placed third in small animal showmanship among senior entrants.
This year the Knowledge Bowl utilized a team format. Ramona Wranglers 4-H, which included the Flinn sisters, took second place for large animals and small animals.
Animals bred in San Diego County are eligible for Bred and Fed awards. Although there is no separate Bred and Fed recognition for rabbits, Katie placed fifth in Bred and Fed for sheep with a lamb she purchased from Zeigler Suffolks.
Van Tol wins reserve grand champion for market calf
By Joe Naiman
Kaylin Van Tol’s veal calf earned supreme reserve champion for market calves at the 2013 San Diego County Fair.
Last year Kaylin captured supreme reserve champion veal calf for her animal, finishing behind a calf her older sister RaeAnne raised.
The county fair combined veal calves with market calves this year, making competition stiffer.
Kaylin brought two calves to the fair: Pascal, who weighed 421 pounds, and Maximus, who weighed 423 pounds. They earned champion and reserve champion, respectively, in their Holstein weight class before winning breed honors and advancing to the 4-H grand champion round.
“Being in the grand champion round as a dairy species was a big accomplishment,” Van Tol said.
The 4-H grand and reserve champions for each breed and the Future Farmers of America grand and reserve champions then competed for supreme grand champion and supreme reserve champion. Pascal was the 4-H reserve grand champion.
The merger of the veal calf and market calf classes this year placed Pascal in the same grand champion and supreme grand champion round with a calf raised by 56 Ranchers 4-H’er Scott Johnson, who won 4-H grand champion and supreme grand champion.
“That was one of the biggest obstacles I had to overcome this year,” Kaylin said. “Holsteins are a dairy species.”
The Van Tol family owns TD Dairy in Ramona. Kaylin obtained both her calves and the milk to feed them from the dairy. The youngest of the four Van Tol sisters, she has been in Ramona Paisanos 4-H for six years and made her county fair debut in 2011.
RaeAnne, who majors in animal science at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, won either supreme grand champion or supreme reserve champion for veal calves each year between 2009 and 2012. In 2011, she helped raise Kaylin’s calf.
“We always help each other out,” Kaylin said, adding, “It was a lot harder for me (this year) because my sister was gone. I had to do everything this time.”
Another obstacle for Van Tol, 16, is that she was a sophomore at Mountain Valley Academy during the school year, taking advanced placement courses and playing on Ramona High School’s varsity water polo and swim teams while raising her two calves, both born in early March.
“It definitely taught me a lot of time management,” she said.
Because both of Kaylin’s calves were in the same weight class, Ramona 4-H’er Megan Storton showed Maximus while she showed Pascal. Pascal finished second in showmanship to Johnson’s calf.
She also finished second to Johnson in the Bred and Fed competition for animals bred in San Diego County and nourished from feed stores or other sources within the county.
Tip Top Meats purchased Pascal for $7 per pound. That’s more than last year, when her calf Moofie sold for $4 per pound
Kaylin, who also raises pigs, focused on calves for the county fair.
“I was debating whether or not to do it,” she said of entering veal calves in the combined competition. “I just stuck with it. It turned out very well. Considering the circumstances, I am extremely proud of what I accomplished this year.”
Wier breeds, raises and shows county fair’s supreme reserve champion market swine
By Joe Naiman
For the second time in three years, Ramona’s Christopher Wier won supreme reserve champion for market swine at the San Diego County Fair.
Wier won his supreme reserve champion award with Angel, a hampshire cross who was born Christmas Day and tipped the fair scales at 284 pounds.
“It was really hard. Takes a lot of time,” Wier said.
This year the fair replaced breed divisions with weight classes. Angel first won the heavyweight swine class. There is a grand and reserve champion for each animal for 4-H and Grange members, while Future Farmers of America division champions compete for the FFA grand and reserve champions. The 4-H and FFA grand and reserve champions then compete for supreme grand champion and supreme reserve champion. Angel was also the 4-H reserve champion.
Angel was one of 13 piglets in the litter. Another member of that litter, Big O, weighed 261 pounds and won the middleweight class. Angel and Big O were the only swine Wier entered in the 2013 fair.
Wier has been in Ramona Paisanos 4-H for five years. This is his fourth year raising a pig and his fourth year with an entry at the county fair. In 2011 he won supreme reserve champion with 286-pound Sassy Gold. Wier purchased Sassy Gold from Awesome Genetics, and they won the 2011 Bred and Fed award for the best pig bred and fed in San Diego County.
Wier bred the litter that included Angel and Big O. In addition to winning this year’s Bred and Fed for swine, he had the highest Bred and Fed score for any species.
“It puts my name out there,” said Wier, who calls his breeding operation CW Livestock.
Wier started CW Livestock in 2012, and the Dec. 25 litter was his first. The gestation for a pig is three months, three weeks, and three days. The litter’s sow, Baby Face, and the dam, Power 2 Change, are hampshire crosses.
The hampshire Wier entered in the 2012 county fair won its class only. Wier also entered the market beef class for the first time in 2012, winning the non-black charolais division. His 2013 steer did not win its class.
Juicy’s River Cafe, which is in Needles, purchased Angel for $12 per pound and returned Angel to Wier as a gift to continue in his breeding program.
Wier, a lifelong Ramona resident and a 2013 Ramona High School graduate, will start his college studies at Modesto Community College. He plans to transfer to California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo for an agricultural business degree.
He will show Big O at the Ramona Junior Fair and Livestock Auction at the end of the month.
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