GONZALES — Luis Gonzalez won multiple banners in this year’s Monterey County Fair, including Reserve Supreme Champion Market Goat for his goat named Roberto.
Gonzalez, an incoming freshman member of the Gonzales High School Future Farmers of America (FFA), raised two animals for the fair, a goat and a steer.
“I wanted to try out a different species this year, which was a goat,” Gonzalez said about taking the time to raise two animals.
Gonzalez acquired Roberto from a livestock company in Nipomo, after having raised beef for previous fairs. He has been exhibiting in fairs since third grade as a member of 4-H, before joining FFA this year.
“I’m very happy,” he said. “I worked hard and it paid off.”
Gonzalez said he enjoyed the experience of raising goats and has raised another in time to move onward to the jackpot competitions, starting with the Slots of Fun Jackpot Show in Corning, Calif., on Sept. 18.
FFA teacher Cecilia Birmingham explained that jackpot competitions are much more competitive than fairs.
“Most of them are going for the buckle to see who’s the best showman and who has the best projects,” Birmingham said.
To prepare for the county fair, Gonzalez spent at least three hours per day taking care of his animals. He woke up early to care for them before heading off to school, and then as soon as he came home, tended to them again.
“I would walk all my animals, wash them and practice showmanship everyday, just being consistent,” Gonzalez said.
More than 160 exhibitors signed up to showcase their livestock during the in-person show and auction over the fair weekend, which ran from Sept. 3 through 6.
Other awards earned by Gonzalez included: FFA Senior Beef Showmanship, Master Beef Showmanship, FFA Reserve Grand Champion Market Goat, FFA Novice Market Goat Showmanship, Grand Champion Market Broilers, FFA Senior Round Robin and FFA Senior High Individual Livestock Judging.
Team of Three contestants, including Gonzalez, Jesus Gonzales and Camila Gomez, received FFA Senior High Team Livestock Judging.
Three other Gonzales FFA members placed at the fair.
Jesus Gonzales received both FFA Reserve Champion Beef and Beef Bred and Fed, Arturo Castro Guerra earned FFA Novice Swine Showmanship and Britany Torres was awarded FFA Novice Sheep Showmanship.