Out with the old, in the the new
In every book there is a beginning and an ending.
The same with showing animals through 4-H at the Minnesota State Fair for Minneota veteran Gared Moorse and rookie Gus VanHecke.
Moorse, 19, a student at Lake Area Tech in Watertown, SD, capped his 14-year 4-H career at the state fair on Saturday by earning Reserve Champion Dutch for his rabbit in the morning and then placing an impressive ninth in Showmanship that afternoon.
Moorse has shown beef, dairy, dairy goat, market goat and now rabbit via 4-H at the state fair.
"I'm really proud of myself and for how I represented my family at the state," said Moorse. "This is the first year bringing a rabbit and I really had no clue what to expect. I set my goals high and I exceeded them."
Meanwhile, VanHecke, 14, an eighth-grader at Minneota, qualified his six-month-old pig named "Pigbob" after earning a blue ribbon in Market Barrow-Crossbred at the Lyon County Fair.
This was VanHecke's first time showing an animal at the state fair in St. Paul, although he had competed in a General Project last year at the State Fair with his woodworking project.
"I wasn't really nervous," said VanHecke, the son of Glen VanHecke and Katie VanHecke. "I had a good time. I'm looking forward to coming again next year."
VanHecke's pig that he raised himself on the farm just west of Minneota, earned a blue ribbon at the state fair on Friday morning.
VanHecke has been in 4-H for the past four years.
"The best thing about the state fair is hanging out with people," VanHecke noted. "But there are so many people that you can't walk around very fast."
VanHecke also assisted the Lyon County Dairy Herdsmanship team that earned an award at the state fair. Herdmanship's purpose is to encourage exhibitors in developing and maintaining clean and presentable stalling areas, as well as demonstrating good animal welfare.
Moorse bred, raised and cared for his four-month-old rabbit named "Nugget."
"My sister brought the rabbit to show in Watertown (SD) in June and the judge there said it was a cute little nugget," Moorse told. "So that's what we named her."
And, unbeknownst to that judge, he was also Nugget's judge at the state fair. Moorse's rabbit won her class at the state fair and advanced to the next round.
There she gained Reserve Champion Dutch, earning Moorse a plaque and purple rosette ribbon. He received a medal for showmanship.
"I was hoping to get past the first round and be into the final 30," Moorse said. "So I was extremely pleased with finishing ninth."
In his previous exhibitions at the state fair, Moorse garnered several ribbons and plaques. But it was two years ago when he exhibited beef and finished 10th out of 10 that he was most proud.
"I worked really hard that year and I was the most proud because I worked my hardest," he said. "It isn't always about winning."
Moorse will be back at the state fair next week to show his FFA market goat and also to watch his siblings and others compete.
As with anyone attending the state fair, Moorse and VanHecke were able to try a few of the many food items offered.
"I didn't try anything new," Moorse said. "I'm a corn dog guy."
And did showing a pig at the fair deter VanHecke from trying anything made out of pork?
"My favorite thing was bacon-wrapped pork belly," he said. "It was really, really good."
Minneota Area 4-H Minnesota State Fair Livestock Results:
Poultry: Jodi Buysse, Ella Moorse and Dylan Vlaminck, all Chickens - Egg Production - Brown Egg Layers, all three red ribbons; Brenden Kimpe, Turkey - Market Pen, Blue.
Beef: Mya Lozinski, All Other Breeds, Registered Senior Yearling, third in class, Showmanship Participant.
Dairy: Destin Fier, Registered Holstein - Senior Two-Year Old, Blue; Zack Fier, Registered Holstein - Three and Four Year Old Cow, Purple; Joe Verschelde, Registered Holstein Winter Yearling, Red.
Swine: Gus VanHecke, Crossbred Market Barrow, Blue.
Rabbit: Gared Moorse, Dutch Junior Doe, Purple, Reserve Champion Dutch, Ninth Place Advanced Showmanship; Hidie Moorse, Lilly Moorse and Morgan Moorse all Mini Lop Junior Bucks, all three Purple Ribbons; Isabelle Kimpe, Mini Lop Senior Buck, Blue and Tucker Thooft, Mini Rex Senior Buck, Purple.
Sheep: Rachel Vlaminck, Black Face Market Lamb, Blue, Showmanship Participant.
Dairy Herdsmanship: Lyon County Division I Champions.