Loans help Yorktown livestock show competitors get started
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WINNERSGrand champion steer: Caitlin Seifert
Reserve champion steer: Morgan Herwig
Grand champion hog: Dustin Kirchoff
Reserve champion hog: Macee Dworaczyk
Grand champion lamb: Andre Vela
Reserve champion lamb: Joshua Gonzales
YORKTOWN - Dustin Kirchoff, 15, can be shy, but he pulled himself taller and a small, tightly proud smile crept across his face as he marched his grand champion hog, Winchester, into the small Yorktown Livestock Show arena for auction.
Dustin had dreamed of showing an animal in the stock show for years. This year, thanks to the Yorktown FFA Exhibition Start-up Program, Dustin had the money to compete.
This is the first year of the new program, created by Yorktown residents Harold Dworaczyk and Bruce Parma.
They came up with the idea of giving students interest-free loans to buy animals for the competition last year, Dworaczyk said.
The two stood before the crowd after the last animal had been auctioned off and asked any interested buyers to consider donating to their newly created start-up fund. Dworaczyk and Parma got it started, putting in $500. This year they were able to sponsor five students, loaning each of them $300 to buy a hog or lamb for the competition.
"We had some pretty good success. Both the lamb and hog grand champions got the start-up loans," Parma said, grinning.
The students pay back the loan from the sale profits.
Parma said they plan to continue the program next year.
"It's a way to get kids interested in the program. It teaches them responsibility and it takes a lot of work," Dworaczyk said. "It encourages them, and if some of the kids don't have the money, it still gives them the chance to compete."
This was the first year Andre Vela, 17, was able to enter the stock show. Having the start-up fund made it easier to get into a competition, he said, noting that he still had to get the money together to pay for feed.
Still, it was worth the effort when he saw the grand champion ribbon hanging over his lamb.
Vela said he'll have made about $3,500 from the the sale of his lamb after he pays back the loan.
Dustin spent the time leading up to the judging nervous and excited, he said.
When he saw Winchester proclaimed grand champion, he was thrilled, he said. It made all of his hard work worthwhile.
After he repays the start-up loan, and the cost of the feed he'll have made about $1,800.
"It's a great feeling," he said, smiling.