Kearns and Sons RS Aesthetics

Corvallis FFA sponsors livestock jackpot

Cash Trexler of Corvallis brings his steer in front of the judge during the market steer contest at the Corvallis FFA Livestock Jackpot. Jean Schurman photo.

Cash Trexler of Corvallis brings his steer in front of the judge during the market steer contest at the Corvallis FFA Livestock Jackpot. Jean Schurman photo.

By Jean Schurman

The weather looked like the end of August on Sunday, and so did the Ravalli County Fairgrounds. Hogs, goats, sheep and beef cattle were in the barns and in the Robert Hornung arena on Sunday. With young exhibitors grooming and spiffing up their animals, you would have thought it was the Ravalli County Fair.
The Corvallis FFA chapter put on a ‘jackpot’ on Sunday with participants from as far away as Kalispell bringing their animals down to show and have fun. Abbie Dunn of the Corvallis chapter was the event organizer. She said she has been competing in these jackpots since she was a little girl with sheep in 4H.
“We were looking for unique fundraising ideas that other chapters weren’t doing. I knew that no other chapters were putting on a jackpot so I mentioned it and nobody else knew what it was. I took the lead and here we are,” said the soon to be senior.
The event featured classes similar to what will be held at the Ravalli County Fair for 4H and FFA members. There were market classes and showmanship classes. These project animals are selected with an end goal in mind; to be at their peak weight and condition by the fair. The Ravalli County Fair is the first weekend in September but the Northwest Fair and Rodeo in Kalispell is two weeks earlier and the Lake County Fair is the first weekend in August.
Animals that will be shown in these fairs are heavier and closer to ‘finishing’ than the ones that will be at the Ravalli County Fair. A finished animal is judged on muscle, body capacity and structural correctness, way of moving, and balance of muscle to fat. This holds true for all of the market species that were at the jackpot.
The judge was Garrett Knebel from Bozeman. Knebel, originally from Indiana, was on a national champion judging team at Oklahoma State University. He said he was very impressed with the quality of the animals at the show and with the fairgrounds too. “The rain is great although I’m sure the exhibitors aren’t happy to walk through the rain.”
Knebel judged not only all of the market classes but also the showmanship classes as well. Prior to the classes, he told the exhibitors he would be judging the showmanship throughout all of their classes, not just in the showmanship classes. One class had about 15 steers in it so there were a lot of exhibitors to keep track of. But the top of the class in showmanship was usually the top in the market classes as well. They had to make sure their animal was clean and properly fitted, and that their own appearance was neat and tidy as well.
For many exhibitors, this was the second show in as many days. On Saturday, there was a jackpot at Lolo Peak Arena up Highway 200. Dunn said the Corvallis chapter deliberately chose their date so they could dovetail off Lolo and get more contestants.
The entire day was a prelude to the fair with all of the exhibitors learning something about showing and about their animals. For those who were new to a project, it was a great way to see what needs to be done before the fair. Dunn said she expects the Corvallis chapter will continue this event.
Even though Corvallis is just in their first year in FFA, they are already the third largest chapter in the state. There are about 35 active members but all of the students who take classes from Brandon Braaten, the ag-ed teacher are listed as FFA members too.

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