Sparks shows the champion turkey – Delaware Gazette


The Delaware County Junior Fair is back in full force, and over the weekend the champions were named at the various market shows. In the Market Turkey Contest, the bird owned by Sierra Sparks was named the Champion Meat Turkey.

Sparks, an eighth-grade student at Berkshire Middle School, is completing her fifth year of exhibiting. In addition to turkeys, it also shows market chickens, goats, horses, and her Australian Shepherd dog.

Sparks said showing turkeys started out as a way to help pay for his education. Every dollar that Sparks makes from sales of its turkeys and market chickens goes into a university fund. While looking for another market project to take on, Sparks said turkeys made the most sense due to the bird’s knowledge of his family.

“I was very excited that we won the title because it takes a lot of work to get it,” Sparks told The Gazette. “It’s really hard to get a bird good enough to beat all the birds that go to the Delaware County Fair because the Delaware County Fair has a lot of good animals that come here, especially in the market classes. . ”

For Sparks, this year’s champion turkey marks the first champion of her career at market shows, although she said she has been close in recent years with the top five. Sparks said the process of showcasing a champion turkey begins when the birds are just turkeys.

“You have to make sure they always have plenty of food and water,” Sparks said. “We don’t let them go out in the paddock. If we let them out, we don’t let them out for very long because they will sleep there. They need to sleep in their neck with all the sawdust; you need to layer all the sawdust to keep them from getting blisters. And outside, the hard ground makes them dirtier… For the champion turkeys, you really are looking for no blisters, a lot of meat, you don’t want bruises because they have to cut that from the meat when it is. processed, which adds additional problems. It’s really just the overall mass and quality of the meat.

Mica Sparks, Sierra’s mother and a member of the Delaware County Fair poultry committee, said there is also a component of “feed mixology” that includes mixing feed at the right time and increasing the feed. bird protein at the right time.

Sierra said she did not go to this year’s fair with the hopes of showing off a champion turkey given that her experience relied mainly on market chickens, as well as the fact that she was not still a senior member of 4-H, what she said is usually when it all starts to click. But as she began to hear her bird’s measurements and the judging process unfolded, Sparks began to realize that the show was going to come down to her bird and another turkey.

This other turkey naturally belonged to his brother, Coltin, also bringing an aspect of sibling rivalry to the series. Ultimately, Coltin won the reserve champion award. Sierra said she believed the deciding factor was that her brother’s turkey had mild inflammation on its feet.

“He was a little upset that I beat him. He’s my older brother, so of course he wants to beat me, ”Sierra said of his brother.

Sierra said her brother attributed the final results to the fact that Sierra was the first to choose their birds, but added that her brother was still very happy to have the last name attached to the top two places in the competition. .

For Mica Sparks, seeing her two children succeed on the show was a real treat, as it would be for any parent.

“It was a moment of great pride. It’s every mom’s dream to see their two kids excel and get first and second (place), ”she said. “It was a huge dream come true for our family with all of the hard work we put in.”

Sierra Sparks, right, poses with her Champion Meat Turkey, while her brother, Coltin Sparks, poses with her Reserve Champion Meat Turkey.

Contact Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @ DillonDavis56.


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