Judge calls Extravaganza ‘second to none’

Managing Editor

HARRINGTON, Del. — Winning streaks continued and family support was celebrated at last week’s Delaware Livestock Extravaganza, one of the top agricultural events of the Delaware State Fair.
“This is absolutely the best that it gets anywhere,” said goat judge Bob Hare of Winchester, Ohio, before making his selection for the top two market goats.
Hare said he’s judged in more than half the states in the country and Delaware is second to none.
“The quality has gotten better from year to year to year,” he said.
Whittled down from more than 400 hogs, 380 sheep, 700 goats and 108 steers, the extravaganza brings the top two animals in each junior show market class back into the ring for selection of the grand and reserve champions.
As each judge spoke to the youth and the crowd, he praised the hard work of the youth they had worked with during the shows and the parents and family who support the exhibitors.
“It takes a lot of work to get to this point and it’s great to see the support you all give them,” swine judge Adam Beck of Camby, Ind., told the crowd packed into the bleachers in the fair’s Kent Building. “You guys are definitely doing something right here in Delaware.”
Both Dylan and Lauren Nickerson continued their dominance in exhibiting market steers, with Dylan’s steer chosen by judge John Hausner of Dover, Pa., as the grand champion and Lauren’s steer as the reserve champion.
The brother-and-sister team from Hartly, Del., has combined to take home the grand champion banner for each of the previous six years and it’s the fourth consecutive year they have taken both the grand and reserve champions.
After the event, Dylan said they didn’t change a thing in their routine of getting their animals ready in the months leading up to the fair.
“Same old thing,” he said. “Just working with the steers everyday. You can’t give up.”
In the final market lamb class, judge Jim Brandt of Anna, Ohio, selected Tyler Majchrzak’s lamb as grand champion and the lamb shown by Ridge Betts was the reserve champion.
In the final market goat class, Hare chose the animals shown by sisters Mindy and Madison Cook as his grand and reserve champion, respectively, which was a repeat win for Mindy.
In the final market swine class, judge Adam Beck of Camby, Ind., chose Chris Scott’s hog as the grand champion and Brayden Hearn’s hog as the reserve champion.
The final part of the extravaganza, selection of Overall Showman, brought Mindy Cook and Lauren Nickerson back into the ring.
Cook, who had won the award the last three years was the showmanship winner for market goats and swine and joined Kelsey Johnson, the sheep showmanship winner and Lauren, the beef showmanship winner, in showing each of the four market species.
“If you’re exhibiting livestock, I hope you’re paying attention,” Michael Scuse, extravaganza master of ceremonies said. “These three ladies are fantastic.”
After conferring with one another, the judges handed Mindy her fourth consecutive Overall Showman award.
The award was one of five goals Mindy said she set for herself at the fair and attributed her success to hard work, “being in the barn from 6 a.m. until 10 at night once I got out to school.”
At 17, Mindy has more years of junior show competition left and said her early goal for next year’s fair was to keep her titles.