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Photo by Linda Williams Hunter Jay and his crossbred steer, Ricky, will be in competition at the Bedford Fair next July.

BEDFORD, Pa. — This was a great year for Bedford County livestock at the Pennsylvania Farm Show. Dairy cows, beef cows, sheep and goats took home top awards.

Among those winners was 16-year-old Hunter Jay, of Artemas, near the Bedford County line, who took reserve grand champion market steer honors. A sophomore at Everett High School and an FFA member at the Bedford Technical Center, Jay was excited over his first-time beef showing at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

“I’ve always shown hogs before,” he said. “This year, I wanted to do something different.”

He placed third with them in the crossbred show.

Hunter belongs to the Chapman’s Run 4-H Club, where he started at age 8. He became interested in showing animals early on and has been going to the Farm Show ever since.

The son of Ryan and Leslie Jay, Hunter began his journey to the reserve grand award back in May. Hunter and a friend, Marshal Tewell, took a drive to Ohio and decided on the steer, owned by Kerry Lawrence.

“I thought it looked like a decent animal,” Hunter said.

He took the advice of Morral Farm Supply, in Everett, regarding his steer’s feeding. The Jays also raise some of their own feed.

His dad said the award did not come without a lot of hard work.

“Hunter spends all of his spare time at the barn just working with his animals,” Ryan said.

Hunter, in return, gives credit to his dad for advice and help.

“Rusty,” the champ, weighed in at 1,375 pounds. The steer was named the middleweight division champ at the market steer show before being pronounced the reserve grand champion. Rusty also won the reserve champion crossbred honor.

The Jays live on a 100-acre beef farm not far from the Maryland border. Ryan said the farm was started by his grandfather in the early 1900s.

Hunter’s steer sold for $7,250. The money he earns from showing his animals goes back into a fund to purchase more the next year. Although Hunter does not have a clear vision yet for what he would like to do in his future career path, he definitely knows it will involve agriculture.

In addition to farm animals, Hunter enjoys playing baseball and said that activity is about all he has time for due to his FFA and farm schedule.

He hopes to find a good animal and return to the Farm Show in 2021. Hunter is appreciative for his dad and good friends who help to guide him and provided transportation to the Farm Show. A large trailer provided by a friend carried all the paraphernalia he needed for the show in Harrisburg, such as feed, a showbox, halters, and more.

His crossbred black steer, named Ricky, is already being groomed for competition at the local Bedford Fair where Hunter will also show his hogs.

In addition to Hunter, other Bedford area residents did well at the Farm Show this year.

The Guernsey grand champion and reserve grand champion exhibitors were Elon and Allie Snider and Blaire Gable of New Enterprise.

Premier Guernsey breeders were the McDonald/Walason family of Green Slopes Farm located in Imler.

Heidi Barkely of Manns Choice had the Supreme Champion Ram Wool Breed. Alyvia Lankey received the Grand Champion Percentage Doe award.

Lane and Trey Myers, of Bedford, were awarded first place in their age divisions for the Junior Stockman’s Contest for market goats.

In the beef divisions, Wyatt Wigfield of Schellsburg took home the reserve grand champion award in the purebred show.

Linda Williams is a freelance writer in southwestern Pennsylvania. She can be reached at loysburg40@yahoo.com.