Turkeys are often the first thing that pops in your mind when you start talking about the Thanksgiving holiday season, and turkeys were definitely on the mind of many youth on Friday, October 23rd. However, they weren’t thinking about eating them, they were in the process of showing them. Over 190 youth gathered at the North Carolina State Fair to show off their top turkey hens they raised while participating in the North Carolina Youth Market Turkey Show Program. Brunswick County 4-H youth once again rose to the occasion and made a strong showing at the competition. In the Gobbler division (ages under 9), Kammie Strickland placed 3rd and Amelia Apple placed 11th. In the junior division (ages 9-13), Harrison Nobles placed 3rd, Kaylan Strickland placed 3rd, Elaina Nobles placed 5th, Grant Wallace placed 8th, Angelique Apple placed 12th, and Alexis Apple placed 14th. In the senior division (ages 14-18), Elizabeth Mintz placed 3rd along with Sydney Nobles, whose hen topped the scales at 23.4 pound and won 2nd place.
This event actually begins in late May when individuals receive their day-old turkey poults that the 4-H agent picks up from North Carolina State University’s poultry facility. Over the course of 5 months, each youth is responsible for raising 1 to 4 poults. When October rolls around, they enter their best turkey in the contest in Raleigh. On the first Friday of the North Carolina State Fair each participant is placed in a class with 15 or less competitors. Each youth hand shows their own bird and answers questions from the judges. The overall weight of the turkey, the muscling in the breast and legs, and how well each participant has taken care of their bird are all evaluated. The ribbons & placement money are awarded to each class participant and first place winners in each class compete in an overall class to compete for grand champion. Visit the state 4-H poultry program website for more information about the Youth Market Turkey show.