It was a good day for Titusville area kids at the Crawford County Fair on Tuesday, as young local residents were able to walk home with several ribbons and titles across multiple contests.
In what could be considered the area’s specialty, the Townville Champs and Blooming Valley 4-H groups led the attack in the dairy competitions on Tuesday. There were three contestants across the two groups, with a fourth who took part in a steer competition on Monday. All of them managed to take home a ribbon of some kind by the end of the day.
In perhaps the biggest win of the day for the Titusville Area, Drake Hazlett managed to take home the a senior champion title with his milking shorthorn cow, which put him in the running for the supreme champion title.
“I was pretty proud of it,” Hazlett said. “There were multiple people who helped me fit her and get her ready for the show.”
While hailing from Saegertown, Hazlett has been a longtime member of the Townville Champs. In addition to his shorthorn, he also took home a ribbon with his jersey cow, coming in first in the 6 years old and over division.
At 19, this was the last year Hazlett could compete in the 4-H sections of the dairy contests. However, he said he’s looking forward to taking part in the open sections in coming years, especially now that he has his own herd of nine cows to pick from.
John Carey, a 13-year-old who hails from the Blooming Valley 4-H group, claimed a reserve senior champion title in the holstein competitions. Carey is a Titusville native whose family owns Plum-Line Holsteins, a farm located just outside of town.
“It feels good, because you know you have the animal to compete against other people,” Carey said of his high placement in the contest.
Carey brought his cow Heaven to the fair, who he has been raising for around five years. Taking home the ribbon, he said, was a sign that his hard work has paid off.
“She can be a bit stubborn at times,” Carey said of Heaven. “She’s a really nice cow, really calm.”
Townville Champs member Andrew Wheeling, another Titusville native who is 14, showed off two holsteins at the fair, named Reba and Addie. While Reba came in fifth place in a crowded division against eight other cows, Addie claimed a first place ribbon in her own division, which had seven cows total in the running.
“I feel good with Addie, for sure,” Wheeling said. “I could improve with Reba.”
Wheeling was inspired to start raising cows by his sister, Kiersten, who was unable to attend this year due to attending college.
“My sister saw her friends do it and then wanted to do it,” he said. “I just kind of followed in her footsteps.”
Reba was a newcomer for Wheeling, as this was her first year competing. Addie, however, was a veteran of many Crawford County Fairs and regularly claimed high marks.
“She’s usually pretty good,” Wheeling said. “The first year, she took third, and the past two years, she’s taken first and second.”
Wheeling hopes to return next year with the cows, though he said not before taking Reba on more walks and getting her more accustomed to being led at contests.
The Townville Champs were claiming ribbons even before the dairy cattle judging on Tuesday. Ean Tudor, a 16-year-old member from Titusville, brought in a master showman ribbon with his steer Dexter, as well as claiming second place on the light heavyweight division and a standard showman ribbon.
Tudor said he was unsurprised that he was the one to eventually win the master showman ribbon after his walk with Dexter around the arena.
“The judge told me I did such a great job and didn’t do anything wrong,” he said.
A beef steer, Dexter will be among the many animals sold at the livestock auction on Thursday at the fair. However, Tudor said he wants to come back with another steer next year, finding it an easy type of animal to raise again and again.
It wasn’t just cows that helped win the Titusville area win some awards. Hunter Reagle, 6, of Titusville, got a blue ribbon in the pee-wee 4-H swine showmanship and fitting competition with his hog, Fluff. Equipped with a cowboy hat, Reagle guided his pig around the arena, trying his best to keep the hog in line and looking as regal as possible.
The hat was a hand-me-down from Reagle’s father, Andrew Reagle, who also raised hogs when he was younger.
“(The hat) was mine, and I passed it down to him,” Andrew Reagle said.
The ribbon was an extra special occasion, as this was Hunter Reagle’s first year displaying. Accompanying the ribbon was a coupon for free ice cream, which Hunter Reagle said he would use to get some vanilla scoops in a cone.
Hunter Reagle said he hopes to compete every year until he’s 18 years old, and may bring Fluff’s companion, Marshmallow, next year.
Chickens may be the most well-known kind of barn animal, but it was a different kind of bird that got one Townville girl a ribbon at the fair Tuesday. Jessica Sherman, 11, earned the champion ribbon for her bantam duck. Bantam is a term that refers to especially small varieties of a bird.
Clarence Gray, 12, a member of the Country Kidz 4-H group that meets in the Titusville-Townville area, got second place for his lamb in the 4-H section and third. He was competing alongside his brother, Donald Clarence, 15, who got fourth place and fifth place in the 4-H and open sections of his own division, respectively.
The Clarence’s initially raised pigs, but switched to sheep. They did this because sheep are guided using head harnesses called leads, which makes them easier to control than pigs, which are moved using canes or crop whips.
“It was so much easier,” Donald Clarence said.
Both of their pigs area available for sale, and they’ll be showing them again on Thursday.
The Crawford County Fair continues today and runs until Saturday. Gates open at 8 a.m.
Ray can be reached, by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.