Dairy heifer Grand Champion Daelynn Lee, 14, stands with her winning heifer Jackpot at Eastern New Mexico State Fair Wednesday night. (Amy Vogelsang Photo)
The recognizable smell of a dairy farm assailed the senses upon entering the competition arena at the Eastern New Mexico State Fair Wednesday night. With 14 finalists from seven different classes, it’s no wonder it smelled this way. The only thing missing was a banner asking, “Got Milk?”
But the smell didn’t seem to bother the kids competing, especially Daelynn Lee, 14, who walked away with a ribbon, trophy and belt buckle declaring her the dairy heifer Grand Champion.
Judged on their potential to produce milk, the heifers were placed in seven classes, class one being the youngest and classes six and seven being the older bred heifers preparing to calf. Lee’s prize heifer, Jackpot, was born June 11, 2012, making her part of class five and almost ready to start breeding.
Living with her parents Shane and Karla Lee in Dora, Lee has been an FFA member and showing animals for about five years. She won Grand Champion last year as well, so this was not new for her.
She said she likes the state fair because there is more competition. She also shows pigs, but she prefers the heifers.
“The hardest part is getting them calm (for showing),” she said.
Although Lee was no stranger to winning, Reserve Grand Champion Kheyenne Huysmans was thrilled to receive her first champion award. She was especially excited to beat out her older siblings.
Just recently turning 10, she had two older sisters and an older brother who also showed. They are all very competitive, according to mom Kim. But the youngest trumped this time.
“It’s not so much beating my sisters as it is just winning,” Huysmans said. “It’s nice to know my hard work actually paid off … It’s also nice to beat my siblings because they deserve it.” After bragging they would win, Huysmans had said, “Watch out.” She was right.
For her it’s challenging to clip the cows and give them the right amount of feed, but she still likes them better than the pigs she shows.
“They are sweet and big and a nice long project,” she said, explaining why she adores her heifer Snowflake, who is only a couple months old.
Her mom was also in FFA and 4H, so her kids’ involvement was just natural.
“It’s in your blood,” Kim said. “It’s all you know, and you learn so much about life (…) It sets you apart from other kids. And it’s just good, clean family fun: an upbeat atmosphere.”
Living in Clovis, they prefer this state fair instead of the one in Albuquerque, so they will continue coming back. Huysmans plans to add lamb showing to her list for next year.