The Hollister chapter of the National FFA Organization was well represented last week at the Monterey County Fair by 14 students who exhibited livestock animals in the market, breeding and showmanship classes. The Monterey County Fair, open to the general public Sept. 1-5, hosted its livestock show and related events Aug. 24-28. Through the livestock show, students had the opportunity to exhibit and compete with their livestock animals, an endeavor many Hollister FFA members excelled in.
Exhibitors compete in various classes depending on animal species, weight, and purpose, as well as showmanship classes divided by level of experience. Exhibitors in showmanship classes are judged on their ability to effectively and stylistically showcase the animal in a way that best displays the animal’s strengths as well as the student’s knowledge of the animal species as a whole.
“You learn more about animal science and the ins and outs of the animal,” said Hollister FFA member Isabella Sargenti. “It’s a great experience to get that knowledge on your hands and it’s something nobody can take away from you.”
Sargenti, now a senior, has been showing market hogs through 4H and FFA since 6th grade and speaks highly of the experiences she has had through the fair and through FFA.
“FFA is a great agriculture-based program and it offers a lot of support for young students,” said Sargenti, “You’re learning what it takes to raise that animal and just knowing that you did your best in the show ring. I think a lot of FFA members take pride in what we do and that’s really rewarding.”
In each division, Sargenti and her fellow Hollister FFA members found success in various ways.
Noteable among the goat exhibitors, Abby Bianchi won Reserve Champion Breeding Doe and was the Grand Champion FFA Senior Goat Showman. Sydney Andrade won Reserve FFA Champion Market Goat and Nikole Stephens was Grand Champion FFA Novice Goat Showman.
Andrade, a junior at Hollister High School, has been showing goats for 6 years but this is the first time she has shown at the Monterey County Fair.
“My experience at the 2022 Monterey Fair was extremely good,” said Andrade. “I had never been to this fair, but I tried something new this year and it showed that it didn’t matter who you were or where you were from. It mattered how you showed and what your animal looked like.”
Hollister found success in the sheep show as well when Abby Bianchi won Reserve Champion FFA Market Lamb and was the Reserve Champion FFA Senior Sheep Showman. Callie Marci and Madison Peterson both took second in their respective weight classes. Bianchi, Marci and Peterson all competed together and took first in Pen of Three, a class in which the three animals are judged as a group against other exhibitor entries, also grouped in threes.
Among the hog exhibitors, both Isabella Sargenti and Justin Pieracci placed first in their respective weight classes.
In the small animal division, rabbit exhibitor Cooper Dougherty placed third overall with his pen of three meat rabbits.
After all showmanship classes have taken place and the winners are selected in the novice and senior divisions, showmanship winners receive the chance to compete in Master Showmanship, otherwise known as Round Robin, which requires students to prove they are capable of showing not just one animal species, but all of the large species exhibited at the fair. This year’s Round Robin contestants were required to show sheep, hogs, goats and beef cattle. Students are judged on their showmanship of each species and the scores are tallied to award the title of Master Showman.
Hollister FFAs Abby Bianchi took home the title of FFA Grand Champion Master Showman and Callie Marci followed as the Reserve Grand Champion Master Showman.
The livestock show drew to a close with the Junior Livestock Auction on Aug. 27, which allowed students to market their livestock projects to prospective buyers in an auction format.
Abby Bianchi: Reserve Champion Breeding Doe, Grand Champion FFA Senior Goat Showman
Sydney Andrade: Reserve FFA Champion Market Goat, 4th in Advanced Showmanship
Nikole Stephens: 2nd in market class, Grand Champion FFA Novice Goat Showman
Brooke Gomes: 6th in market class
Carson Robinson: 4th in market class
Chloe Gunnels: 6th in market class, competed in the final round of advanced showmanship
Hailee Hernandez: 5th in market class
Isabella Sargenti: 1st in market class (class champion), competed in the final round of advanced showmanship
Justin Pieracci: 1st in market class (class champion)
Kohen Nelson: 10th in market class
Yareli Garcia: 8th in market class
Abby Bianchi: Reserve FFA Champion Market Lamb, Reserve Champion FFA Senior Sheep Showman
Callie Marci: 2nd place in market class, 3rd place in FFA Senior Sheep Showmanship
Madison Petersen: 2nd place in market class, 4th place in FFA Senior Showmanship
Abby, Callie and Madison competed together in Pen of Three and took 1st place
Cooper Dougherty: 3rd overall for his pen of 3 meat rabbits
Abby Bianchi: FFA Grand Champion Master Showman (1st place)
Callie Marci: FFA Reserve Grand Champion Master Showman (2nd place)
We need your help. Support local, nonprofit news! BenitoLink is a nonprofit news website that reports on San Benito County. Our team is committed to this community and providing essential, accurate information to our fellow residents. It is expensive to produce local news and community support is what keeps the news flowing. Please consider supporting BenitoLink, San Benito County’s public service, nonprofit news.