10/5/2013 7:00 AM
By Jessica Rose Spangler Reporter
EPHRATA, Pa. — Whether it was their first year or last, 4-H and FFA members gave the 2013 Ephrata Fair a thumbs-up after the annual livestock sale, which grossed $44,085 on 77 lots.
“It was great,” 15-year-old Brittany Keener, of Ephrata, said post sale. “I was surprised at how well I did.”
Brittany, a sophomore at Ephrata High School, showed two Southdown wethers at this year’s fair. Never having been in 4-H or FFA before, she thinks her first year went wonderfully.
“I liked it a lot and I had more fun than I thought,” Brittany said.
As a freshman, Brittany enrolled in an animal science class taught by Cloister FFA adviser Sarah Quigg. During that class, she discovered a new passion — lambs.
To properly illustrate the lambing process, Quigg brought in a pregnant ewe, and the students got a first-hand look at bringing lambs into the world and all of the care they need. Brittany was hooked.
But not coming from a farm background and living in a residential neighborhood, she never thought she’d be able to have sheep of her own. Realizing her passion, Brittany’s parents, Brent and Bonita Kenner, surprised her with two sheep for her 15th birthday.
The sheep are housed near their home, on the property of a neighbor. Over the past year, Brittany has become a Cloister FFA member and learned quickly about all the chores and time commitments required of raising animals.
She said she plans to save the $600 she earned from the sale of her lambs and use it to purchase more lambs for next year’s fair.
While Brittany was all smiles at the end of evening, she wasn’t alone.
Sisters Hannah and Sierra Zimmerman were busy showing off their pearly whites to attract buyers for their combined 12 animals — lambs, hogs, goats and dairy beef.
The daughters if Sarah and Jay Zimmerman of Clay, Hannah, 10, and Sierra, 12, are responsible for a lot of the daily chores to care for their animals.
“My sister and I delivered all the sows’ babies this year,” Hannah said, adding that pigs are her favorite of all the animals they show.
“We have a little bit of everything on the farm — lambs, goats, pigs and a few dairy beef,” Sierra said. “No chickens, but we have horses too. We get up at 5:30 before school to do all the feeding and make the bus by 7:40. Then when we get home, we have to feed again.”
The Zimmermans exhibit livestock at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, the Lancaster County Round-Up, Denver Fair and New Holland Fair, in addition to Ephrata.
Sierra showed the grand champion market goat, which was purchased by Aevidum Financial Services for $575. She also owned the reserve grand champion market swine that sold for $700 to Snavely’s Mill.
Jaralyn Zimmerman, 18, of Stevens, ended her final year as a 4-H’er by owning the grand champion dairy beef, which sold for $1,700 to Hess Mills. She plans to use the income from the sale of her steer, Duke, to help pay the feed bills she racked up raising him and the other animals she and her sister, Jade, keep at their grandma’s farm.
Other champions included Jade Zimmerman’s — a different Jade, not Jaralyn’s sister — reserve grand champion market goat, which sold for $435 to Brown’s Auto Parts. Jade also owned the grand champion market lamb, which went to Fulton Bank for $450.
Her sister, Jayme Zimmerman, owned the reserve grand champion market lamb, which sold to Cloister Restaurant for $375.
Hannah Gockley’s reserve grand champion dairy beef went to Ephrata National Bank for $1,600.
The brother-sister duo of Jenna and John Leturgey owned the winning meat rabbit pens. Jenna’s grand champion went for $260 to Long’s Solar Systems. John’s reserve grand champion was sold for $200 to Sensenig’s Feed Mill.
In his final year as a youth showman, Matt Mitchell owned the grand champion market swine. It sold for $550 to Blue Lake Builders.
Besides livestock, youth could also exhibit dairy cattle at the Ephrata Fair. This year’s supreme champion was Reich-Dale Hurley Silence, a 4-year-old Jersey owned by Jared Wetzel, 17, of Manheim.
Because of missing so much school for other dairy shows this fall, Wetzel opted to go to class on show day, allowing his younger sister, Jenna, 10, to lead Silence around the ring.
The dairy entries were not for sale; exhibitors took them home after the fair.
Before Thursday night’s sale got under way, Baron “Boots” Hetherington, special agricultural adviser to Gov. Tom Cobett, was on hand to present an Outstanding Fair Ambassador award to Eleanor Hartranft.
Hartranft has been involved in the fair since she was 14. Having grown up on a fruit farm, she has been in charge of the apple display and has spent 60 years as a fair volunteer, 33 years on the fair board, and 25 years as the domestic exhibits chairwoman.
She’s still the vegetable chairwoman this year, Hetherington said in his presentation.
“I’ve really enjoyed doing it all these years,” Hartranft said. “I’m going to miss it a lot, but it’s time to retire.”
State Rep. Gordon Denlinger presented a check to Ephrata Fair President Galen Kulp for $18,445 to symbolize the money the board received from the state for the 2012 fair.
With a funding increase this year, Hetherington said he believes the state will award Ephrata around $25,000 to help pay the bills for the 2013 fair.