Support from friends, family helps first-year stock show participants

March 1, 2013 at 7:01 p.m.
Updated March 1, 2013 at 9:02 p.m.

Caleb Korczynski, 8, holds his grand champion broiler and award during the Victoria Livestock Show. This was Caleb's first year to compete.

Caleb Korczynski, 8, holds his grand champion broiler and award during the Victoria Livestock Show. This was Caleb's first year to compete.

A toothy grin spread across Caleb Korczynski's face and a cheer escaped his lips as the announcement came of his first Victoria Livestock Show win.

The market broiler in his arms, however, was slightly less enthused.

"He just flipped his head over, and then he died," the 8-year-old said Thursday of the limp animal. "But he was alive during judging."

Fatality aside, first time was a charm for Caleb, who scored a grand champion win his first year showing.

He didn't do it alone, however.

The livestock show is full of experienced kids showing off their projects, but they all got their start somewhere. And for first-year participants like Caleb, help from family can make a big difference.

Jason Marek's two older brothers, Jonathan and Jared Marek, were there to help him prepare for Thursday's market rabbit show. Although he admitted to being a little nervous, the 9-year-old in the striped, button-down shirt came away with a fourth-place win.

"I'm excited," he said with a shy smile, standing beside the caged rabbits. "I knew what to expect. And my parents helped."

Cowgirl Tot Alexa Kabela talked with friends and kicked up dirt in the arena while she waited for market rabbit judging to end. It was her job to help the other members of the Queen Victoria court hand out awards.

Although she'd never done the job before, the 5-year-old had guidance from her big sister, Madison Amador, who was also in the court, and her mom, Monica Chavana, who stood nearby.

"She doesn't understand everything that's going on," Chavana said as she smiled at her daughter. "She keeps asking me, 'What's going to happen? What am I supposed to do?'"

Still, the little girl who loves to dress up - Belle is her favorite Disney princess to impersonate - was right at home decked out in rhinestone-studded boots and jeans and shimmery, yellow nail polish.

"I think she's having fun," Chavana said.

Meanwhile, another parent kept busy making sure his kids - and their animals - were geared up and ready.

Bradley Johnston busied himself Friday morning helping prepare his children's lambs for the afternoon show. Although his 14-year-old son, Kye, had participated for years, it was 8-year-old Allee's first go-round.

Still, Johnston said he wasn't worried about his daughter. Allee might never have been in the ring on her own before, but he said she knew the ropes.

"She's a confident kid, and she's always been around this," he said of the show. "The kids are fine. I'm the one who gets nervous."



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