If there is anything I look forward to every summer, it would have to be fair. From livestock shows, to concerts and fair food, and carnival rides and games, the fair is the place to be.

The Canyon County Fair and Western Idaho Fair are the two fairs that Meridian FFA members can show at. However, this year both fairs were limited to animal shows only due to the concerns of COVID-19.

Amid the concerns of Covid-19, members were able to come together July 17-26 to show their animals at the Canyon County Fair (CCF). After months of work, these members were able to use their skills and knowledge acquired to compete against other FFA members across the valley. Members showed beef cattle, dairy cattle, sheep, swine, goats, and small animals.

Members showing beef cattle were Kyleigh Davis (market and breeding), Nani McKague (breeding), and Bailey Davies (breeding). Kyleigh Davis was Grand Champion FFA Showman and had the Grand Champion Market Steer.

Members showing dairy cattle were Bailey Davies, Emily Yancey, and Lauren Muniz, all showing breeding animals. Emily Yancey was Grand Champion FFA Dairy Showman and Lauren Muniz was 3rd overall FFA Dairy Showman. Emily’s advice to younger members is “Never give up, no matter what people tell you. When I first got my heifer, everyone told me she would never win, so I put in all my time and effort into training her and accomplished what I wanted! Also, do it for yourself; if you are doing it for anyone else, you won’t be as satisfied with your accomplishments.”

Members showing sheep were Isabelle Campbell (breeding), Kinzy Cochran (breeding), Emily Yancey (breeding), Saydee Henning (breeding), Henry Trujillo (market), Jon Muniz (market), Josie Gregg (market), Olivia Sells (market), and Shelby Johnson (market). Saydee Henning was Reserve Grand Champion FFA Sheep Showman.

After talking with Saydee about those who helped her get where she is, she stated “I’d like to thank my FFA Advisor, Mrs. Stokes, for giving me a place to keep my lambs, helping me become a better showman, and giving me advice through showmanship, round robin, and super round robin.”

Nani McKague was the only Meridian FFA Canyon County Fair goat showman and was the 3rd overall FFA Market Goat Showman. Shay Johnson was our only member showing swine and won Reserve Grand Champion Breeding Gilt.

Philip Broome was our only member showing rabbits and was Grand Champion FFA Rabbit Showman. Two of his rabbits were "Best in Show” and his other two received blue ribbons. Philip’s biggest piece of advice for any member who wants to compete and show is “to learn showmanship manners. There are many ways to win and getting a ribbon to show is nice, but saying thank you to your judges, cheering on other members, and even shaking the hand of your biggest competitor is a victory.”

Madigan Grigsby was our only member showing poultry and was Reserve Champion FFA Poultry Showman and her duck received Reserve Best of Division for Waterfowl. Madigan would like to thank Miss Russell and Miss Higer for getting her into FFA and helping her figure out what she is doing. She would also like to thank her parents for letting her have animals to show as well.

All individuals who were grand or reserve grand champion showmen for their species are eligible to compete in the FFA Large Animal Round Robin. These members included: Kyleigh Davis, Emily Yancey, Saydee Henning, and Shay Johnson.

During Round Robin, members are asked a series of questions about the different species to test their overall knowledge on livestock. Kyleigh Davis was awarded as the Grand Champion Large Animal FFA Round Robin Showman, and Saydee Henning was the Reserve Grand Champion FFA Large Animal Round Robin Showman.

Congratulations to all Canyon County showmen and huge congratulations to all our members who showed animals this year!

The Western Idaho Fair (WIF), basically the Ada County Fair, is the second fair our members can show at and this year it happened August 18-22. Normally the Western Idaho Fair includes the carnival, the livestock shows, and has vendors for food and other booths.

However, again due to COVID-19, this fair was also limited to the animal shows. Members showed beef cattle, dairy cattle, sheep, swine, meat goats, small animals, and horses. As a chapter we were able to still have our FFA concessions booth open for customers.

Since 1980, the Meridian FFA chapter has run a food booth at the Western Idaho Fair every year. The first one was located inside the livestock barn, the next one was created in the early 2000’s, and the current standing booth located outside the premium office across from the mule barn was built in 2015.

From snow cones and drinks, to muffins, nachos, and candy, the booth helps to raise money for the Meridian FFA chapter and serves as a way for members to get involved within the community. We are very grateful to the fair board for allowing us to have our booth open this year even with the concerns of Covid-19.

Thank you to all members who worked in the booth or helped with setup and takedown of the booth this year. Fair booth chairman Amy Heikkila and co-chairman Philip Broome spent many hours organizing this activity and Jonny Zanders worked 50 hours in the booth over four days!

Members showing beef cattle at WIF were: Bailey Davies (breeding), Nani McKague (breeding), Devin Caywood (market), Audrey Ziegenfuss (market), Haden Allred (market), Emily Yancey (market), Miles Peters (market) and Zach Gould (market). Zach Gould was the Reserve Grand Champion FFA Beef Showman. “Getting Reserve Champion Showman means a lot to me. This was the best award I have gotten over my eight years of showing and it shows that all the work I have put in has paid off, even when I don’t feel like it has,” Zach explained.

Members showing dairy cattle were: Emily Yancey, Lauren Muniz, Rose Frazee, Bailey Davies, and Courtney Marshall. Emily Yancey was the Reserve Grand Champion FFA Dairy Showman. Lauren Muniz had the Reserve Grand Champion Holstein Heifer.

Members showing sheep were: Shelby Johnson (breeding), Hailey Bishop (breeding), Tomie Moody-St. Clair (market), Kyleigh Brooks (market), Luci Johnson (market), Emily Meredith (market), Mia Rogers (market), Saydee Henning (breeding and market), Kinzy Cochran (breeding and market), Morgan Gehring (breeding and market), Kalyssa Safley (breeding and market), Amy Heikkila (breeding and market), Isabelle Campbell (breeding and market), Kata Ruff (breeding and market), and Emerson Billings (breeding and market). Shelby Johnson was the Grand Champion FFA Sheep Showman.

Some advice Shelby would give to younger members is “If you really want to succeed in showmanship and win, trust me when I say it is a team effort, not just individual. So ask for help even if you have the stupidest questions! And be realistic about your chances as that will help motivate you to work harder more times than not.”

Members showing meat goats were: Sam Jones (market), Madison Neustaedter (market), Hope Neustaedter (market), Sara Erickson (breeding), Devin Caywood (breeding) and Nani McKague (breeding). Nani McKague was the Reserve Grand Champion Market Goat Showman.

Members showing swine included: Shay Johnson (breeding), Claire Shelton (market), Gavin Sternes (breeding), Molly Burril (market), Hailey Bishop (market), Emma Smilie (market), Tristan Smilie (market), Jake Zimmerman (market), and Jack Zimmerman (market). Gavin Sternes was the Grand Champion FFA Swine Showman. Gavin would like to thank all the FFA advisors and fair supervisors for making this year’s fair possible.

Members showing horses were Ainsley Treesh (Grand Champion FFA Horse Showman), and Audrey Ziegenfuss (Reserve Grand Champion FFA Horse Showman).

After speaking with Audrey, she stated that she wanted to say thank you to all of those who strived to keep the WIF alive this year. “I am forever grateful that the WIF was still available to the youth to show their animals. Thank you for the hard work you do and care you put into this year’s fair.” Audrey has been showing at the Western Idaho Fair since she was eight years old and believes that the fair is a great learning experience for all and is crucial to teach the future generation and public about agriculture.

Members showing rabbits were: Kyleigh Brooks, Lily Nicholes, Natalie Vennell, Philip Broome, Lucas Rosenbaum, Isabella Costa, Jenna Turner and Madison Neustaedter.

Members showing poultry were Madigan Grigsby and Amber Blake.

Meridian FFA members participating in the FFA Large Animal Round Robin included: Zach Gould, Gavin Sternes, Amy Heikkila, Shelby Johnson, Emily Yancey, Ainsley Treesh, Audrey Ziegenfuss and Nani McKague. Shelby Johnson placed 3rd, Gavin Sternes placed 4th and Nani McKague placed 5th.

Western Idaho Fair also offers a Super Round Robin, where large and small animal round robin winners from nearby county fairs can compete against each other. Saydee Henning competed in the FFA Super Large Animal Round Robin and won Grand Champion!

Congratulations to all the FFA members who showed animals at the fairs this year, and we thank the Western Idaho and Canyon County Fair Boards, Advisory Councils, and Directors, the Ada and Canyon County Extension Offices and Staff, as well as both Premium Offices and Staff, fair superintendents and species supervisors, Ada and Canyon County Commissioners and Officials, fair/show volunteers, and show judges for making these fairs happen this year! Your support is greatly appreciated. We also appreciate all 4-H leaders and FFA advisors across the valley for their time spent working with members and helping all of us make the most of the year, given the circumstances.

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