SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois State Fairgrounds was full of action Friday as it hosted a number of livestock shows, including the 2009 Jr. Grand Champion Meat Goat Competition and the Jr. Champion Market Lamb Show.
An exhausted, yet happy showman left the ring as his Boer goat was chosen as the 2009 Illinois State Fair Grand Champion. Chris Curry, the 17-year-old son of Mike and Patty Curry of Dawson, walked away knowing his 76-pound goat will be sold in the Governor’s Sale of Champions on Tuesday evening. He plans to put the money he raises at the sale towards a new Chevy truck. Chris is an active 4H and FFA member. He attends Tri-City High School, where he also plays soccer and baseball. Curry has five siblings and says showing goats runs in the family. He looks forward to helping and watching his little brother, Zach, show in the future. After high school, Chris plans to join the Air Force.
Coming in second as the Reserve Grand Champion was Brady Fleming’s 88-pound Boer goat. Brady is the 14-year-old son of Chris and Linda Fleming of Roseville. He is an active, Happy Hustlers 4H member and will attend Monmouth-Roseville Jr. High this fall. He plays basketball, baseball and football and says he began showing at the age of four, so he has several years of experience under his belt.
“This is exciting, and it feels pretty good. I’ll be back next year,” Fleming commented.
Spectators also watched with baited breath as the judge looked over the champions in the 2009 Illinois State Fair Junior Champion Market Lamb show.
Sarah DeSchepper walked away with the purple ribbon as her Crossbred wether was named Grand Champion. She is the 16-year-old daughter of Rich and Beth DeSchepper of Altona.
A student at ROWVA High School, Sara serves as the FFA Vice President for her chapter as well as the Cloverleaf 4H President. She’s been showing since the age of seven, and has both a brother and sister following in her footsteps. She showed the Grand Champion wether in 2006 and the Grand Champion Land of Lincoln wether in 2007. Sarah plans to save a bit of her money from the Sale of Champions and use the rest to buy more lambs. As if showing a grand champion were not enough, Sarah’s Hampshire wether was named the Reserve Grand Champion overall and the Grand Champion Land of Lincoln market lamb.
“You always hope for one, but it’s a dream to have two winners!” exclaimed the beaming, yet shocked DeSchepper after the show. Her Hampshire wether was shown by her friend, Luke Stuaan of Bushnell.
Luck must have run from friend to friend as Luke’s Hampshire wether was chosen as the Reserve Grand Champion Land of Lincoln market lamb. He is the 18-year-old son of Kim and Dave Stuaan and will attend Spoon River College to become a collegiate livestock judge. He believes that this is a great experience for children of all ages, and he loves watching young people succeed in the show ring.