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Local girl drawn to fair by animal competitions


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For J.C Wagner the fair is something she looks forward to, not so much for the carnival rides and food booths, but for its agriculture component.

The daughter of an Alfalfa farmer just outside of Roswell, Wagner, 13, each year actively participates in the fair, from taking part in the animal competitions and being a part of such agricultural organizations as 4H and Future Farmers of America.

Wagner said that this year she has three market lamb and a market hogs to exhibit. The competition is her favorite part of the show.

“The competition is really tough at the fair. You have to go up against people from all over eastern New Mexico and hope that your animal is better than theirs, but at the same time be gracious in defeat and honest in winning,” Wagner said.

She added that a great deal of work goes into preparing her animals for the fair. She said that she has to make sure her animals are fed, have water and are properly groomed. She also must walk with them so they will be ready when the show is underway.

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“You hold their head in your hands and you walk them around the ring as many times as the judge wants you too,” she said.

Preparing for the competition is more than just working with the animals. Wagner said good grades are required of all youngsters who choose to exhibit animals.

After, many youngsters end up selling their animals at the annual Jr. Livestock Sale that marks the end of the fair.

Competitors must often put some emotional distance between themselves and the animals they sell, something that can be difficult since they raised many of the animals from birth.

“You know you kind of get attached to them but at the same time, you can’t get attached to every animal you get because then you will be really sad,” Wagner said.

Aside from raising animals, Wagner is also a reporter for 4-H, where she helps promote their activities and builds awareness of 4-H and FFA by contacting the media and writing articles.

“I think the public needs to know more about FFA and 4-H and I just really love agriculture-based productions in general, because without agriculture, society cannot move on,” she said.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

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