Area youngsters displayed their mastery of showing animals as they competed against peers from the Western United States on the final day of the Merced County Spring Fair.
The upper echelon of 4-H and FFA students who have mastered the art of showing animals led cattle, swine and sheep into the arenas on the last day of the fair’s five-day run.
About 40 children competed in Championship Master Showmanship.
Participants traipsed from arena to arena answering questions related to the animals’ breeds. Each child showed all of the breeds, and a winner was chosen in each category.
An overall winner was decided at the end of the day based on knowledge of the animals. Top prize was $500 and a belt buckle.
“Basically, it is open to kids all over, not just the state,” said Lennie Alberti, a fair staff member and event coordinator.
Children came from Arizona to Washington. Alberti said the event, which is in its third year, boosts attendance and allows children to compete with animals that are not their own.
Fair staff provides the animals for the competition, which can be difficult because by Sunday most of the animals at the fair have been auctioned off.
Although the contest included children from outside the state, local competitors and those in relatively local proximity to the region won.
Sheldon Silva of Los Banos took the top prize, Lauren Ivy of Salinas was second and Katie Migliazzo from Buhach Colony High in Atwater was third.
Albert said organizers plan for Championship Master Showmanship to be a permanent part of the Merced County Spring Fair.