Cook sisters claim four champions at Extravaganza

Managing Editor

HARRINGTON, Del. (Aug. 4, 2015) — From the hundreds of market animals junior exhibitors brought to this year’s Delaware State Fair, only a few could be named grand champion or reserve champion at the Livestock Extravaganza.
With the top two animals in each junior show market class back in the ring and their exhibitors vying for the top two places, the judges made a point to publicly commend the youth for their hard work in getting animals ready for show.
“I said it last year and I’ll say it again, It’s just been a true pleasure to work with these kids,” swine judge Adam Beck of Camby, Ind., said. He added the responsibility, work ethics and lessons in animal care the youth learn will help them in whichever career path they choose.
Beck chose the hogs shown by sisters Mindy and Madison Cook of Newark, Del., as his grand and reserve champion respectively. Mindy Cook also exhibited the grand champion market goat, judged by Annette Maze of Spicewood, Texas and Madison Cook exhibited the grand champion market lamb, judged by Steve Taylor of Timblin, Pa.
Calling the entire goat show at the fair “tremendous,” Maze also selected Collin Garey’s goat for her reserve champion and Taylor’s reserve champion selection was the lamb shown by Paige Wright of Milton, Del.
Making his selections, Taylor encouraged the youth in the ring and watching in the bleachers to continue showing and raising animals.
“Don’t stop with this livestock,” he said. “It’s a great industry.”
With six market steers in the ring, judge Brad Johnson of Morehead, Ky., selected the steer shown by Taylor Brittingham of Smyrna, Del., as his grand champion and Dylan Nickerson of Hartly had the reserve champion.
The final part of the extravaganza, selection of Overall Showman, brought Madison Cook as the swine showmanship winner along with Kelsey Johnson of Greenwood, Del., the sheep showmanship winner, beef showmanship winner, Taylor Ebert, of Camden, Del., and John Tyler Martin, the top goat showman, showing each of the four market species.
After watching the showmen in the ring and conferring with each other, the judges named Madison the Overall Showman, an honor her sister had held for the the last four years.
“My sister pushes me a lot,” Madison said between photos with family and her top animals, after the event. “I look up to her.”
Madison said her big night was the result of staying focused and working hard.
“This is always my first priority,” she said. “I want to do well for my family and keep working hard.”