Hard work about to pay off at Jefferson County Fair

READY FOR FAIR — Cameron Best holds his crossbred market steer while, from left, his cousins, Drew Saiter and Cole Saiter; his sister, Lindsey Best; and his brother, Connor Best, look on. (Photo by Esther McCoy)

RAYLAND — Raising livestock as projects for 4-H has been part of what the organization has been about since the early 1900s.

Members in Jefferson County have been been working hard, getting up early to feed and train their furry or feathered animals in anticipation of the Junior Fair livestock auction, which will be held Aug. 22 as part of the coronavirus-reduced Jefferson County Fair.

There are 4-H families that can trace their involvement to their great-grandfathers, while some families are new to the organization.

A visit to the Best and Saiter family farms, for instance, offers a look at the results of the feeding and training work that has gone on in many 4-H project areas. There are the Best trio, Cameron, Lindsey and Connor, children of Erin and Brian Best, who live on adjoining land to Erin’s parents, Corky and Judy Saiter. Corky’s father and grandfather were farmers.

Then they are the Saiter brothers, Drew and Cole, who live on a farm in Bloomingdale, and Luka Petrick, a Cloverbud and up-and-coming 4-H farmer.

Cameron Best, 16, who was a Cloverbud at 7, raised layer chickens and pigs in his first 4-H years. He won many prizes and awards for his work. In 2015, he had a cow and a calf operation. In 2017-18, he started his own breeding stock and won grand champion in breeding and reserve heifer calf. He holds many jobs during the summer, working at Rayland Dairy Queen, farming for neighbors and working a cattle-breeding operation. He still has poultry. A junior at Buckeye Local High School, where he plays basketball, he is up quite early during school days to get his cattle fed.

Lindsey Best, 13, was a Cloverbud at age 4, and started with chickens when she went into 4-H. This is her second year for pigs, which she started raising when she saw the fun her older brother was having while training the animals. She is an eighth-grader at Martins Ferry Junior High School and plays basketball. She remembered when a fox got into the pen and ate all the show birds. It was devastating to see them gone. Her poultry is now the layer and fancy categories and she wins awards with them. Horseback riding is another of her hobbies and she competed in many shows, including some held by the Steubenville Saddle Club and in Belmont County.

Connor Best , 9, was in Cloverbuds at age 4 and this is his first year for taking a pig project. He is a fourth-grader at Martins Ferry Elementary School. It looks as if he will follow in the paths of his brother and sister.

Drew Saiter , 16, is a cousin to the Best children and raises Hampshire pigs, a dairy beef feeder calf and two Crossbred steers. He has been a 4-H member for eight years and is the son of Heather and Andrew Saiter of Bloomingdale. He was pleased to have his hard work bring him a grand and reserve beef breeder award in 2018. He has won a dog championship as well. His school days are spend at Harrison Central High School, where he is a sophomore. His hobbies are hunting and fishing.

Cole Saiter, 13, raises and shows lambs in his 4-H livestock projects. He said his sheep will be shorn and trimmed up one week before the Jefferson County Fair.

He has received a grand prize for lamb breeding, most outstanding beef exhibitor and grand alpaca. He has four dogs: A golden retriever, a blood hound, a German shepherd and a border collie.

Luka Petrick, is the son of Emilee Petrick and is in the Cloverbuds with Town and Country 4-H. He is not afraid of the animals and will be in the mix with the other cousins in several years.


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