By Maureen Robertson
While 2012 Summer Olympics fans stay tuned to the international competition, excitement is building closer to home, as the Livestock Olympics get under way in Ramona.
The theme of the 41st Annual Ramona Junior Fair coincides with the London contests, but that’s where the similarity ends. Instead of swimmers, runners and gymnasts competing for medals across the Atlantic, 4-H, FFA and Grange participants from throughout San Diego County are in Ramona in hopes of their animals garnering blue or red ribbons—guaranteeing them entry into the auction arena on Saturday, Aug. 4—and perhaps a grand championship or reserve grand championship.
The junior fair started July 28 with the dog show and rabbit/cavy show. The annual horse show was Sunday. Livestock move-in and weigh-in was Tuesday, with sheep, goat, poultry, swine, veal, beef, and dairy cattle shows and showmanships scheduled Wednesday through Friday. The highlight of the week, the livestock auction, will start at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Large and small animal round robins will be Sunday, with move-out and take-down slated for Monday morning.
All the activity will be at the Ramona Junior Fairgrounds at 431 Aqua Lane. An xception is the Buyers’ Dinner, which will be in Ramona Community Center, 434 Aqua Lane, from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday.
Admission to the fair is free.
Ramona Pasainos 4-H’er Megan Storton, 17, captures the spirit of the 2012 Livestock Olympics in her drawing on the cover of this year’s junior fair Premium Book, which covers all aspects of the fair. The Ramona High senior’s artwork shows the five interlocking rings that are a symbol of the Olympic Games. She included the variety of animals in the junior fair as well as the winners’ pedestal.
Each year the Ramona Junior Fair Board holds a Premium Book Cover Contest and invites youngsters participating in the 4-H program to enter. Storton was the winner this year and the other entries are displayed near the junior fair office for the public to view.
A total of 262 exhibitors have brought approximately 300 animals to the fair. Participants are from Ramona, Poway, Mission Trails, Santa Ysabel, Julian, Fallbrook, Pauma Valley, and Valley Center. Ramona and Poway high school FFA teachers and their students are participating, said Robby Storton, Ramona Junior Fair Board president, adding that Mary Martineau, the fair’s administrator, is a teacher in Poway.
Visitors to the junior fairgrounds will find a larger concrete pad in front of the Home Economics Building, one of the improvements on the grounds. Storton noted that the Home Economics Building with its large meeting room is available for public use.
Serving with Storton and Martineau on the junior fair board are Andy Robinson, vice president; Amanda Garner, secretary; Cheryl Brean, treasurer; Curtis Martineau, livestock superintendent; Gretchen Donais, steering committee; and members Carol Canfield, Gretchen Donais, Jon Donais and Crissy Tobiason. Megan Storton represents 4-H on the board, and Gwen Alexander represents FFA.
Junior fair superintendents are: Justin Aspin, bovine; Judy Loux, swine; RuthAnn Keller, sheep; Chad Lambirth, goat; Dora Friedli, poultry; Rick and Debbie Leroy, rabbit; DeeDee Wier, cavy; Brittney Savage, horse; Marian Head, dog; and Melissa Brean, home economics.