Ramona Junior Fair offers competition but also lots of fun agricultural activities

Ramona Junior Fair offers competition but also lots of fun agricultural activities

Kids showing off their animals will be a featured part of the 2022 Ramona Junior Fair. But agricultural, industrial education and recreational activities will also be included in the event from Saturday, July 23 to Monday, Aug. first.

The animal shows, with small animals such as dogs, poultry and rabbits, and bigger animals such as horses, sheep, goats and swine, will showcase the hard work of 4-H, FFA and Grange members, said Junior Fair Administrator Mary Martineau.

Grange and 4-H members ages 6 to 8 years old are in a primaries category and can only show small animals, Martineau said. Older participants ages 9 to 18 and some 19-year-olds can show the larger animals.

However, participants who plan to auction their animals at the end of the fair can only show three market animals, while the number of breeding animals they can enter in the shows is unlimited, she said. In the market shows, the animals are preeminent on their weight. First place winners in the market animal shows return to compete for a Grand Champion or Reserve Champion title in a Grand Champion Drive contest at 7 pm Thursday, July 28.

Showmanship events will judge the exhibitors on their presentation of the animals and their own basic knowledge about the breeds and their care, Martineau said. Showmanship winners advance to a Master Showmanship contest, one held for large animals at 9 am and a separate one for small animals at noon on Friday, July 29.

“We’re live streaming all of our shows this year, so if people can’t make it to attend a show they can watch from afar,” said Martineau, noting that a link will be available on the RamonaJuniorFair.com website. “We purchased some new camera equipment this year to hopefully make it even better than last year. We’re excited to use it and see how it goes.”

Money raised at the livestock auctions typically is spent towards raising animals for next year’s fair or to help finance college educations.

Last year’s auction, the 50th anniversary for the Ramona Junior Fair livestock auction, raised $250,570 for the young exhibitors, and resales and auction add-ons boosted the total to $285,000.

The auction also had a record-breaker. Karlie Dougherty, a four-year member of the Ramona FFA, who got $35 per pound for her pig, Beth Dutton, named after one of the stars of the TV show “Yellowstone.” Auctioneer Matt Gorham announced that the bid was a record for the Junior Fair auction. The previous record-holding bid was $30.

Three Ramona Junior Fair scholarships winners — Amanda Tinkess of Ramona and Rapue of Julian, each receiving $1,000 scholarships, and Robert Wilson of Ramona who is receiving a $500 scholarship — will be proud at the fairgrounds at 12:30 pm Saturday, July 30 before scholarship the animal auction.

Aside from the shows, FFA, 4-H and Grange members can show off their talents and handicrafts in a Home Economics division. Displays of culinary arts, photography, sewing, ceramics, floral designs and paintings will be set up in a home economics building on the fairgrounds.

Connor Nelson, a Ramona Stars 4H and Ramona FFA student, at the 2021 Ramona Junior Fair holding the wild honey he raised at his Ramona property.

(Michael Baldauf)

A new Industrial Arts division is available this year for participants who want to display their welding or woodworking projects, Martineau said.

“Industrial arts have become more popular in the Career Technical Education classes at the high school level, so we decided to make it its own category this year to open it up to a lot of those students,” she said. “A lot of 4-H clubs have started doing that — having a woodworking group or a metal works group.”

Projects supposed as champions in the Home Economics and the Industrial Arts divisions can participate in the auction that starts at 1 pm Saturday, July 30.

“It is preeminent to auction animals but we’re throwing in Home Economics and Industrial Arts to help those individuals sell some of their projects as well,” Martineau said. “If they don’t qualify for the auction, they can leave a card out so if someone is interested in purchasing from an exhibitor they can leave their name and phone number. The exhibitors can put a price on their exhibit so we can help sell it.”

Ramona Junior Fair Scholarship recipient Rachel Rapue is shown with her lamb, Butter, and their third-place market ribbon.

Ramona Junior Fair Scholarship recipient Rachel Rapue is shown with her lamb, Butter, who won a third-place market ribbon at the San Diego County Fair.

(Karlee Klem)

A Ramona Junior Fair Steering Committee, with members ages 5-18, will be organizing activities and contests for those showing animals at the fair or exhibiting in Home Economics and Industrial Arts.

Morgan Nelson, 17, helps plan the activities as the 4-H representative on the committee. Other planners include the committee’s FFA representative, Jasper Dilts, and adviser Michael Audibert.

This year’s activities will include a frozen T-shirt contest, in which T-shirts are frozen and competitors have to get them out of the ice and put onto one of their team members. Another contest for showers and exhibitors is or bucking, in which competitors unload or off a truck and move it across a line, then put the or back on the truck as they are timed.

Parents and children can join in for Parent and Pee Wee Showmanship, Nelson said. Parents show pigs, cattle, sheep and goats, and children under age 9 shows pigs, sheep and goats. The parents and children are placed as they would be in a youth showmanship class, and prizes are passed out to the first and second place winners.

Nelson said she likes to see participation from different age groups.

Ramona Junior Fair Steering Committee 4-H representative Morgan Nelson will be showing her steer Waylon at this year's fair.

Ramona Junior Fair Steering Committee 4-H representative Morgan Nelson will be showing her steer Waylon at this year’s fair.

(Courtesy Stacey Nelson)

The 30 or so committee members help make sure the fairgrounds are kept clean, and they act as runners at the auction. As people bid on the animals and purchase them, the committee members run the paperwork to them and back to the office, Nelson said.

“I personally like teaching the younger kids as they get ready for the fair and I show them how to set up at the fair,” said Nelson, who has shown animals in the Ramona Stars 4-H for a dozen years and in the Ramona FFA for four years. “I like watching how excited they get when they get to show.”

The week of shows, exhibits and activities culminates with an Awards and Closing Ceremony at 9 am Sunday, July 31. All the participants who won a contest throughout the week will receive their awards during the ceremony. Martineau said trophies had been given out in the past but now the fair organizers are awarding practical prizes that the participants can use, such as leashes and embroidered dog bowls for the dog show competitors.

“The awards can be belt buckles to our champions, and there are sweatshirts, garment bags, embroidered cups and picture frames,” Martineau said. “It’s fun to try to pick things we can give them each year and to come up with new things to offer.”

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