Best of Show: Local 4-H’ers exhibit livestock at Manistee County Fair

The area's 4-H exhibitors showcase their sheep on Tuesday at the Manistee County Fair. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

The area’s 4-H exhibitors showcase their sheep on Tuesday at the Manistee County Fair. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

ONEKAMA — Tuesday was Show Day at the Manistee County Fair.

And it was a day for the area’s young 4-H exhibitors to showcase their livestock, from swine to sheep, cattle to goats and more.

“I’m judging the kids, from a showmanship standpoint, on how well they show their animals, how clean and properly presented they are, and how good their control of their animals is in the show ring,” said judge Ernie Birchmeier. “And from a market animal standpoint, we’re evaluating them for muscle, balance, structure and eye appeal.

“We’re trying to compare them to the ideal: one that moves well, looks good from the side and one that’s going to provide a high quality product for the consumer.”

Most importantly, Birchmeier said, the participants are learning along the way.

“That’s the biggest thing for me: that the kids here are learning and that they’re having fun,” he said. “That’s what county fairs are all about.

“Certainly there is a competition involved too: there are some who are going to win, some who aren’t,” Birchmeier added. “So, they’re also learning to win with dignity, lose with grace, and accept the results in the show ring.

“All of the kids I’ve seen today have done a great job with that and I’ve really enjoyed working with them.”

The 4-H animal judging will continue today, with rabbit judging at 8 a.m. and poultry judging taking place at 1 p.m. The auction for large and small animals will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The 4-H events will wrap up on Friday with a photo opportunity at 10 a.m. in the large animal barn, featuring all of the Best of Show, Grand and Reserve, and first place winners in open and 4-H classes.


Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or

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