MOUNT VERNON — Five exhibitors stood in the ring with their grand champion heifers beside them, waiting calmly and quietly as the judge circled, carefully examining the cows from head to hoof. After minutes of near silence in contest tent, guest judge Adam McMahan sauntered over to Peaches, a soft orange Maintainer, and gave her a theatrical pat on the back.
His owner, 9-year-old Kellen Algire, could hardly hide his glee. His cow was now the supreme grand champion heifer of the open beef show. He’d believed in her from the beginning.
“I felt like I was gonna win,” he said afterward.
Algire is a member of the Country Critters 4-H club and a student at Fredericktown elementary. Over the past three years, he has shown sheep, hogs and steers at the Knox County Fair. He and his sister, Kennedy, have traveled across the country to show sheep, competing at shows in Denver and Louisville.
“I’m pretty proud,” said his father, Tom Algire. “They’re both in the barn all the time.”
One of the other finalists for supreme grand champion was an Angus heifer shown by Sam Kreuger. Kreuger is also 9 and a member of the Cream of the Crop 4-H club. As the only entry in the Angus class, Kreuger won grand champion of the breed with his cow, Lucky. While he’s been known to feed Lucky four leaf clovers, skill alone won him a blue ribbon in showmanship earlier in the competition.
Kreuger will go on to show Lucky, another cow and a sheep at the Hartford Independent Fair next month. The soft-spoken animal lover admitted to the News that he prefers cows to people, because “they don’t say things.”
The grand champion Simmental was shown by another Cream of the Crop 4-H member, 12-year-old Kyle Gilbert. Gilbert also won a blue ribbon in showmanship