Monday, November 30, 2015 • 11:33

McCaffree takes Supreme Grand Champion at county fair

Kerigan McCaffree, a graduate of Valley Center High School, and Mykayla Test hold up their winning banners. Kerigan was the Grand Champion meat chickens Mykayla, who was also from VC FFA, was Reserve Grand Champion.
July 30, 2014
Kerigan McCaffree won supreme grand champion honors for both his turkey and his chicken meat pen at the San Diego County Fair.

The 18-year-old McCaffree, who graduated from Valley Center High School this year, raised a turkey called Zeppelin that weighed 34 pounds on the fair scales. His three chickens for the meat pen weighed between five and six pounds, as fair rules specify, with two of those weighing an identical 5.85 pounds apiece and the third scaling close to that.

Zeppelin, a broad-breasted white tom, was hatched Feb. 26. The McCaffree family acquired six turkeys, including Zeppelin, from Hawthorne Country Store in Escondido when the birds were two days old. The family raised the turkeys at their Valley Center home, and the two McCaffree siblings who were old enough to enter in the competitive livestock exhibit at the fair chose which turkey they wished to show.

This year's fair theme was "Fab Fair" and paid tribute to British rock (the Beatles, who were called the Fab Four, made their United States debut 50 years ago). The McCaffree family chose mostly musical act or song names for their birds, and 11-year-old Kellsey McCaffree entered 28.3-pound Dizzy Miss Lizzy in the fair.

The turkey competition began at the class level, and Zeppelin won champion tom honors for Future Farmers of America entries. FFA chapters are associated with high school agriculture programs while 4-H chapters are not affiliated with a particular school. Dizzy Miss Lizzy won third place for 4-H turkeys.

Kerigan holds his banners for meat chickens purchased by Armstrong Feed and Supply and market turkey purchased by Palcic family of VC.
There is a grand and reserve champion for each animal among class winners and class reserve champions raised by 4-H and Grange members, and the Future Farmers of America breed or weight class champions and reserve champions compete for the FFA grand and reserve champion honors. Kerigan McCaffree was the FFA grand champion and Michael Vargas of Escondido FFA received the reserve grand champion award.

The 4-H grand and reserve champions and the FFA grand and reserve champions then compete for supreme grand champion and supreme reserve champion honors. Zeppelin gave McCaffree the supreme grand champion honors while Everett Brandenburg of Olivenhain 4-H was the supreme reserve champion.

The auction took place July 5. Zeppelin sold for $1,100 to the Paltic family of Valley Center.

Dizzy Miss Lizzy was sold at a barn sale. Dr. Tad Bender purchased the turkey for $125.

Kerigan McCaffree named his supreme grand champion chickens Peter, Paul, and Mary. The chickens were hatched at Hawthorne Country Store on May 13 and acquired by the McCaffree family two days later.

Kellsey and Lexi with their breeding chickens.
The initial chicken meat pen competition was at the 4-H and FFA levels. McCaffree was the FFA grand champion while Valley Center FFA member Mykaylah Test was the FFA reserve grand champion. McCaffree then won the supreme grand champion award and Test was the supreme reserve champion.

During the auction Armstrong Feed and Supply purchased Peter, Paul, and Mary for $600.

Although McCaffree was in Valley Center FFA for his entire four years in high school, he had never previously showed an animal at the county fair. He thus was in the novice FFA division for showmanship activities. He won first place in chicken showmanship and second place in turkey showmanship. He utilized his chickens in the master showmanship competition for all small animals and placed third.

Kellsey McCaffree named her chickens Chicken, Waffle, and Waffle. "Chicken and waffles are one of our favorite things to eat," explained her mother, Lissa McCaffree. "Since it's 'waffles' she named two of them Waffle."

Those chickens were also hatched on May 13 and obtained by the McCaffree family two days later. Kellsey McCaffree finished fourth in the 4-H competition. She competed in the junior 4-H division showmanship competition and won for market chickens. She then took fourth place in master showmanship for small animals.

Kerigan stand with Zeppelin and the poultry judge.
Although the McCaffree family did not raise Andalusian chickens, Kellsey McCaffree utilized those birds in the poster competition which required creating a poster about a chicken breed. Her entry won first place for posters in the junior 4-H division.

Kellsey McCaffree also entered a lamb, Clarabelle, who earned a blue ribbon but did not place. Clarabelle was born in February and acquired from the Broomell family in April. She weighed 104 pounds on the fair scales and was sold at auction for $5 per pound to Jack Bose of A-1 Irrigation.

Six-year-old Lexi McCaffree showed breeding chickens. Blackberry, a two-year-old hen, won champion Asiatic honors. Snowpea, a two-year-old rooster, was the English reserve champion. Both of those chickens were hatched at the McCaffrees' home.

Although Kerigan McCaffree was not in 4-H prior to joining Valley Center FFA, he was in the agriculture class at Valley Center Middle School. He had previously attended Lilac Elementary School and is a lifelong Valley Center resident. He will follow a two-year Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints mission at a location to be determined with college studies at Brigham Young University - Idaho, which is in Rexburg.

The two McCaffree sisters also entered the county fair for the first time. Kellsey McCaffree completed fifth grade at Valley Center Elementary School this year and will begin her Valley Center Middle School education when the academic year resumes. Lexi McCaffree will be entering first grade at Valley Center Primary School.

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