At the Kansas State Fair, which begins next weekend, MacKenzie Flory hopes to continue her summer success.
Flory, a Baldwin High School senior, practically swept the livestock judging at the Douglas County Fair in early August. Even the 17-year-old, who lives between Baldwin City and Lawrence, was shocked at her success.
“This was definitely my best year at the county fair,” Flory said. “This year was very rewarding because I worked all summer for it. I felt like all of my work really paid off at the fair.”
Flory became the first-ever 4-H’er to win Grand Champion Level 4 Showmanship for the beef, sheep and swine shows. She also won Champion Level 4 Round-Robin Showmanship at the county fair in Lawrence.
“I don’t think that we have had someone win all three showmanship divisions in the past,” said Margaret Kalb, executive secretary of the Douglas County Fair Board. “We did have one 4-H member who had the champion hog, sheep and steer all in one year, but that was back in the early ’90s. It is hard to do because not that many 4-H members exhibit in all three species.”
And Flory didn’t stop at showmanship titles. She also took home the Grand Champion Market Lamb, Grand Champion Market Hog, Reserve Grand Champion Market Hog and Champion Level 4 Livestock Judger awards.
“All of them are really important to me,” Flory said. “It’s a privilege because some kids don’t even win one of those the entire time they show animals. For me to win as much as I did, I felt very honored.”
Of course, she also had success at her favorite livestock show — beef cattle. Flory’s final major award at the county fair was the Supreme Grand Champion Breeding Heifer.
While most 4-H’ers hang out with friends at the fair, Flory didn’t have time.
“It was really hard,” she said. “I felt like I was always trying to be in three places at once. I had a lot of people that helped me out this year. Some of the 4-H families helped me with my animals. Someone was always there to help me because they knew I was going to be busy.”
And there’s no doubt she’ll be busy at the Kansas State Fair, which begins Friday in Hutchinson.
Success at the county fair hasn’t gone to her head. She knows the state fair will be much tougher than the local event.
“I’m looking forward to it a lot,” Flory said. “Obviously, it’s a lot harder than the county fair. I’m hoping for the best, so we’ll see how that goes. It’s fun and you get to see a lot of people that you don’t normally see from across the state.”