Local 4-H’ers anticipate busy days ahead as livestock contests loom | VailDaily.com

Local 4-H’ers anticipate busy days ahead as livestock contests loom

EAGLE — Twelve-year-old 4-H'er Anna Gill of Castle Peak has three long days ahead as she prepares her goats, turkeys and pigs for their respective shows at the Eagle County Fair.

And that belt buckle that's the size of her face reminds everyone that she means business.

The Eagle County Fair & Rodeo 4-H livestock shows are in full force Thursday and Friday at the Eagle County Fairgrounds. For kids enrolled in program, the contests are the test and the Junior Livestock Sale on Saturday is the reward as they complete months of work, raising animals that will go to market.

Anna won Grand Champion Swine honors in 2014, as that aforementioned belt buckle proclaims. This year she is back with a market pig and between her and her brother Jake, the Gills have 10 animals at the fair this week.

Things started out well for Anna on Wednesday when her bunnies were awarded Reserve Grand Champion honors. Anna is hoping that win bodes well for competition Thursday.

Soft spot for goats

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While Anna raises lots of animals, she admits to having a soft spot for goats.

"They are so friendly, you can walk then around on a leash like a dog," she said.

As any successful 4-H'er will say, there's no quick and easy way to success at the county fair. Rosette ribbons represent hours and hours spent working with animals so they are ready to show.

"Your animals can't be wild in the show ring or the judge will know you haven't been working with them," said Anna.

She expects her goats — Ralph and Clay — will show well this afternoon. Their competition is at 4 p.m. and it will mark the end of a long day that begins with the swine show at 9 a.m.

This little piggy goes to market

There's a reason why the term pig-headed was coined. Swine are notoriously difficult to show, but the pig that earned Anna her championship was an exception.

"The year I had my Grand Champion pig, he was the nicest pig I ever had. I could use him as a pillow, he was so gentle," Anna said.

After a long day of showing Thursday, the Gill kids will have a day off from the show ring when the beef and round robin events are contested. Spectators are welcome at the shows and at the Eagle River Center animal pens, where the kids are often hanging out and answering questions.

Saturday marks the culmination for the 4-H'ers — the Junior Livestock Show held at 1:30 on Saturday. A buyers barbecue lunch is planned prior to the event at noon. During the auction, the 4-H animals will be sold off and it's pay day for all the participants' hard work.

Anyone is welcome to participate in the auction. To learn more visit http://www.eaglecountyfairandrodeo.com.