Dozens take a bow at strawberry festival Youth Livestock Awards Banquet
PLANT CITY - Youngsters who showed livestock at the Florida Strawberry Festival were praised at an annual ceremony for their roles in making the event a success. Dozens of FFA and 4-H members received trophies and cash at the Youth Livestock Awards Banquet. Festival General Manager Paul Davis praised the young exhibitors, their parents and corporate sponsors for helping the festival maintain its “Southern charm.” Festival President Jim Jeffries called the festival livestock shows a family affair, and emcee Ray Clark, a retired Plant City High School agriculture teacher, recalled that the winners were the children or even grandchildren of students he taught over the years. Festival steer shows were founded in 1972, the same year that Clark started teaching at Plant City High. Swine shows were started 10 years later.In all, the sale of steers, swine and plants at the 11-day festival that concluded March 10 generated more than $655,000, including extra money added by buyers or sponsors to give an extra financial reward the youngsters. Top trophies at Thursday night’s banquet went to Ashlyn Gude, Turkey Creek FFA, grand champion swine; Jayce Ware, Country Folks 4-H, reserve grand champion swine; Jake Maxwell, Strawberry Crest FFA, grand champion steer; and Justin Stallard, Durant FFA, reserve grand champion steer. First place winners in various categories included: Swine show, Taylor Grimes, Class 1; Clayton Brock, Class 2; Jace Stines, Class 3; Janna Royal, Class 4; Ashlyn Gude, Class 5; Amber Harwell, Class 6; Connor Woods, Class 7; Madilyn Conrad, Class 8; and Jackson Burke, Class 9. Swine record book awards, Jenna Keely, junior division; Conner Watson, intermediate division; and Jonathan Wall, senior division. Swine showmanship awards, Marissa Zolna, junior division; Aaron Bingham, intermediate division; and Janna Royal, senior division. Swine herdsman awards, Jayce Ware, junior division; Jacob Sweat, intermediate division; and Jonathan Wall, senior division. Swine premier exhibitor awards, Jayce Ware, junior division; Aaron Bingham, intermediate division; and Jonathan Wall, senior division. Swine buyers awards, Ashlyn Gude, grand champion; and Jayce Ware, reserve grand champion. In steer competition, division reserve and champion awards went to Kennedy Dean, Division 1 champion; Abigail Jett, Division 1 reserve champion; Justin Stallard, Division 2 champion; Haley Smith, Division 2 reserve champion; Jake Maxwell, Division 3 champion; and Mylie Feaster, Division 3 reserve champion. First place steer class awards were presented to Breanna Tarlton, Class 1; Zachary Campbell, Class 2; Kennedy Dean, Class 3; Haley Smith, Class 4; Raelynn Nichols, Class 5; Justin Stallard, Class 6; Jake Maxwell, Class 7; Jerri Rowell, Class 8; and Aly Joyner, Class 9. Steer record book awards, Sadie Carr, junior division; Hunter Hampton, intermediate division; and Nicholas Fernandez, senior division. Steer showmanship awards, Cassidy Hastings, junior division; Justin Stallard, intermediate division; and Morgan Belsley, senior division. Steer herdsman awards, Clint Walden, junior division; Alyssa Shepherd, intermediate division; and Benson Cain, senior division. Premier exhibit awards, Clint Walden, junior division; Alyssa Shepherd, intermediate division; and Morgan Belsley, senior division. Gain in weight contest winner, Benson Cain. Steer carcass award, Morgan Gaudens. Steer buyer awards, grand champion steer, consortium led by Tim Lopez; and reserve grand champion, Chemical Dynamics (Kenneth Parker), Mosaic (Ron Hall), Ground Level (Chris Connell) and Larry Swindle. Producer awards, grand champion, MP & Ford Cattle Co. – Michael Paul; reserve grand champion, Jay Clark; grand champion carcass, MP & Ford Cattle Co. – Michael Paul; and reserve grand champion carcass, LJ Farms – Lisa Johnson.