The Delaware County Junior Fair’s Grand Champion Market Lamb belongs to Aubrey Altizer once again. After winning back-to-back champions in the competition the past two years, Altizer continued her impressive run at the 2021 Junior Fair with a 142-pound lamb that took home top honors.
Altizer, a freshman at Big Walnut High School and a member of the Eagle County 4-H club, said of winning yet again, “I’m really excited about it. It was a fun night.”
While taking home awards is becoming commonplace for Altizer anymore, she told The Gazette the thrill of winning hasn’t lost any of its luster.
“Being three years in a row, I think it probably made it even more exciting for me. That thrill part of it never gets old,” she said.
Altizer pointed to this year’s champion as having been her favorite of the bunch because of how cooperative the lamb was for her. “He was just really easy to work with and had a great personality,” she said.
Altizer said she felt what stood out to the judges about her champion lamb was that he was the “beefiest and had the most muscle in the barn.” She said judges are looking for “a lot of muscle and a lot of product on them.”
To be in a position to show a grand champion at the fair, Altizer said the work has to begin early and be maintained throughout the entire process of ultimately getting the lamb into the show ring.
“It all comes from starting early, as well as a lot of hard work,” she said. “We always try and get into the barns really early and just watch the lambs through all of their processes. Every time we go into the barn, every weekend, we pick out ones and we continue to watch them, and then we find new ones that we like.”
The 2021 Delaware County Junior Fair proved to be a banner year for more than one Altizer. In addition to Aubrey’s grand champion, her younger sister, Ella, took home the top honors in the Pen of Two Lamb competition, which pairs two market lambs together, with judges looking for the two lambs to match each other in their quality of builds.
“It feels pretty good to just be able to know that I had the Grand Champion Pen of Two Lambs and Aubrey got the Grand Champion Market Lamb,” Ella said.
“They work hard together. When they get their animals early on, it’s a family deal,” Heather Altizer, the mother of Aubrey and Ella, told The Gazette.
Heather Altizer said her daughters “drive each other” and joked that there is some “sisterly love” mixed as the two work together, but ultimately said they do really well together in the barn.
“She just helps me in the barn. If I just have (the lamb) completely set wrong, she will help me,” Ella said of her sister’s impact on her.
Aubrey said she finds it reassuring to herself and what she’s doing to know that younger kids are looking to her for direction and pointers.
“I think it’s really cool just to know that other younger kids are looking up to me. It makes me sure that I know that what I’m doing is right, just to know that they’re looking up to me,” she said.
Heather Altizer said of seeing her two daughters succeed, “They work really hard at it and enjoy what they do. It’s fun to watch them when they get in the show ring because it’s all of their hard work, sweat, and tears that happened to get up to that point. It’s rewarding to see for a parent, to see them do well.”
A year ago, after showing her second grand champion lamb, Aubrey said she felt the enjoyment and passion she has for the hard work necessary to show a champion is what sets her apart from others. Asked if she felt that was again the case this year, Aubrey said she believes that to be true for both herself and her sister.
“I think so. I think that just the hard work that my sister and I are willing to put in is what sets us apart,” she said.
As for whether or not she feels there is building pressure to continue her impressive run as she eyes a fourth consecutive champion, Aubrey believes there will be some additional pressure but isn’t going to shy away from it. “We’ll see what happens next year,” she said.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.