Nathan Chapman had a lot of positive things to say about his first year as an exhibitor at the National Western Stock Show in Denver.
"I want to go back for sure," he said.
Nathan is one of 12 Moffat County 4-H and FFA members who exhibited or took part in other activities at the 2009 Stock Show.
The son of J.B. and Paula Chapman, Nathan is a seventh-year member of the Breeze Basin 4-H Club, but he showed his swine as an FFA member.
Nathan explained that the first step in getting to show his pigs was to put in an application. Of the more than 750 exhibitors who applied, 350 names were selected by a lottery-type drawing. Nathan's entries were a purebred Yorkshire pig and a crossbred pig, each put in a class by breed and weight.
Nathan's crossbred placed eighth, and his Yorkshire placed second, right behind the champion and reserve champion.
"It was really fun," Nathan said. "I raise pigs here at home so it was fun to compete with people on a national level. There wasn't a bad pig there."
It was Jerica DeLong's fourth year at the Stock Show and her fifth year in 4-H. She showed two crossbred market lambs. The heavyweight placed ninth, and the medium weight was 11th.
"I'm really proud of how my lambs placed since I raised them," Jerica said. "I had a really good time at Stock Show, and I can't wait to go next year."
Jerica is the daughter of Jerry and Phyllis DeLong.
Also showing market lambs was Darren McLaughlin, son of Willard and Kelly McLaughlin. Darren, who says he has grown up around livestock, is a member of the Double Trouble 4-H Club.
Darren showed crossbred, black-faced lambs and placed third in the regular weight class.
"I think it's one of the funnest experiences," Darren said about the Stock Show.
Asked to reflect on her time at the show, Alexi Goodnow said, "It's a good experience, and it's a family hobby for us to go to the show. I think it's good that we can compete at a national level."
"And," she added, "it's just fun."
Eleven-year-old Alexi is a member of the Hamilton Busy Beavers Club. Her goat, a Boer cross, was 10th in its market weight class during competition. Besides that, Alexi was Reserve Champion Junior Goat Showman.
Alexi's sister, Makayla, is 14 and in her ninth year of 4-H, and is a first-year FFA member. Makayla placed fifth in Intermediate Goat Showmanship, but that's not all. Her Boer cross goat was the Champion Medium Weight Goat and made the Stock Show Junior Livestock Sale.
Making the sale is an accomplishment because only six goats out of about 150 got to sell.
MJK Sales and Feed Inc., of Craig, bought Makayla's goat at the auction.
"It's great that the Craig community supports the youth so much," Makayla said.
"It's a really fun thing to go to because you make many new friends that share the same hobby as you," she added, of her Stock Show experience.
And as to having the Champion goat, Makayla said, "It's an honor to place in a national show like that, and hard work pays off."
Makayla and Alexi are the daughters of Wayne and Jackie Goodnow.
Karissa and Andrea Maneotis, daughters of Nick and Karen Maneotis, showed goats at the Stock Show, too. For Karissa, it was the eighth year at the show. She showed Boer crossbreds and placed seventh and eighth in the market classes. Karissa was also Reserve Champion Intermediate Goat showman. Karissa is a member of 4-H and FFA.
Karissa's sister, Andrea, was a second-year Stock show exhibitor. She received fourth and seventh places in market goat classes with her Boer crossbreds. Andrea was third overall in Junior Goat Showmanship. She is the member of Double Trouble 4-H Club.
"I want to go back to Stock Show again," Andrea said.
Mike and Danna Camblin's three children, all in 4-H, exhibited Maine-Anjou calves, which they raised, in prospect classes at Stock Show. The calves are 4-H projects that will be shown again at the county fair.
Fifteen-year-old Chelsee Camblin showed a prospect heifer, 14-year-old Call Camblin had both prospect heifer and steer, and Makenzie Camblin, 12, showed a prospect heifer that placed fifth in its class.
Prospect calves is also what Ashley Summers, daughter of Dave and Glenda Summers, showed during Stock Show. The two steers were Shorthorn crosses. Ashley is a nine-year member of the Elkhead Gang.
Ashley plans to go back to the show next year. "It was a good experience," she said.
For Ian Duzik, son of Tim Duzik and Linda Duzik, the Stock Show meant participating in the FFA Heifer Wrangle, sponsored by the National Western Volunteers.
Ian applied for the event about three months before the Stock Show. During the Wrangle, he caught a calf, which means that Ian can now go pick out his own heifer - any species from anywhere. He will receive a voucher amounting to a thousand dollars with which to purchase the heifer.
The heifer will be shown at the Colorado State Fair, county fair, and other shows. When she has her calf, about two years down the line, the program will be over, and Ian will own the heifer and calf.
"I think it's a great deal the FFA puts on," Ian said. "I hope they can keep it going. It will help my breeding program a lot."