Special edition livestock shows pave the way for local youth to exhibit during COVID-19

Dayton Mortvedt accepts the judge’s handshake at the Best of the Best Show on Aug. 1 for his Grand Champion Breeding Ewe. He also earned Grand Champion Market Lamb and was named Champion Showman.

Following the success of modified county fair shows, local youth are getting additional opportunities to showcase their hard work and livestock projects in competitions across the state. Compared to years past, exhibitors and viewers have noticed key differences in the barns and show ring, due to COVID-19. However, the shows have been held with the same level of prestige and competition, allowing 4-H and FFA participants to exhibit their superior showmanship, hard work, and commitment.

Dayton Mortvedt, son of Ryan and Carrie Mortvedt of rural Lynnville, rode his success from the Poweshiek County Fair to the Best of the Best, a regional show held at the Iowa County Fairgrounds in Marengo on Aug. 1. The show featured breeding and market sheep, goat, pig, and cattle champions from 14 counties. Mortvedt qualified with his Market Lamb and Breeding Ewe. At the Best of the Best, his success continued as he was crowned grand champion again in both the Breeding Ewe and Market Lamb categories, and was selected as Champion Showman. As a winner at the regional level, Mortvedt qualified for the All-Iowa Showdown held at the Union County Fairgrounds in Afton on Sunday, Aug. 9. The All-Iowa Showdown featured champions from 10 previously held showdowns. “It was a neat event he is hoping to make it to next year,” said C. Mortvedt of her son’s experience at the prestigious show.

Rhylee Rodgers, daughter of Wade and Kaylene Rodgers of rural Searsboro, was another local who qualified to show at the Best of the Best in Marengo. Rodgers showed her Market Beef that earned Grand Champion Market Beef honors at the Poweshiek County Fair.

Ellyse Merten, daughter of Chris and Debbie Merten of rural Reasnor, has been busy hitting the show rings recently as well. She represented Lynnville-Sully FFA with her Red Angus breeding heifer at the FFA Breeding Beef Show, part of the 2020 Iowa State Fair’s Special Edition Iowa 4-H and FFA Livestock Show. Merten will be back in the livestock pavilion at the fairgrounds Aug. 20-22 showing swine.

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