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Manteca, Ripon FFA does well at SJ Fair
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South County 4-H members from Manteca and Tracy are holding their white breasted turkeys during judging in the ring. Katrina Bruder, of Jefferson 4-H, left, won first place in the competition and Maria Herrera, right, came in second. Bruder said she hopes to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and major in Food Service. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Future Farmers and 4-H members from Manteca and Ripon were obviously sleep deprived as they cared for their animals – from sheep to steers, swine and turkeys – at the San Joaquin County Fair Thursday morning. 

Three Ripon FFA members came into the fairgrounds as early as last Friday to set up their goats in the pens for a long week of preparation and judging.  Kayla Keating and Jorden Hall brought their steers weighing well over 900 pounds each.  Cassidy Hall brought her 96-pound goat.  Jorden won first place in a goat dress-up competition Wednesday night.

Jenna O’Brien was rushing around the barns getting her animals and fowl ready for showing from goats, to a turkey and swine judging with her dad Chuck standing by to help if needed.   O’Brien is a Ripon 4-H member who lives on French Camp Road and is home schooled – hoping to join the fire service after Fire Science classes at Modesto Junior College following her graduation.

Goats are nothing new to Jenna whose parents raise the milk producers on their small two acre farm.  Along with five milkers, she helps milk 15 goats twice a day – milk that she bottle feeds to the offspring.  She said each adult goat produces about 1 ½ gallons a day.

Her Yorkshire swine named “June Carter” weighed in at 252 pounds and took third place in its showing.  She named her prize pig in last year’s judging, “Johnny Cash.”  Jenna’s turkey called “Edward” took first place and brought her a silver belt buckle.

“On Saturday we are selling our pigs at auction, the turkeys and the goats are coming back home,” she said. 

Sierra High FFA members Blake Settlemoir, Katherine Godwin and Tyler Gulbronson shared a pen with their lambs in the mixed breed showmanship competition.  Gulbronson has joined the U.S. Air Force after his recent graduation and is awaiting placement.

Ripon FFA member Steven DeFreitas, 16, took best of show with his Chester White pig named “Fat Amy.”  He said he named her after the movie “Pitch Perfect.”  It was Steven’s second year in competition in the AOB, all other breeds.  He added that potential buyers will be in the auction ring Saturday at 9 a.m.

DeFreitas said he got involved in the Swine Project by telling a friend of his interest and hoping he could fill a vacancy that might come up in the program.  “I’m glad he told me about the opportunity.  It has been the greatest experience ever,” he said.

With more than 22 swine in competition from the Ripon High Clayton School Farm from 4-H and FFA, Ricardo Martin took novice honors with his pig he named “Bazooka” weighing in at 267 pounds.  “I just wanted to try something new and get some experience,” Martin said of his first year in competition.