Gurdon youth shows prize-winning animals at state fair

Carol Rolf/Contributing Writer Published November 3, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
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Courtesy of Mark Fonville/ARKANSAS STATE FAIR

Kaylie Stone, the 13-year-old daughter of Stacey and Tracy Stone of Gurdon, won several awards at this year’s Arkansas State Fair. She is shown here with her Grand Champion Market Lamb, 38 Special.

GURDON — Kaylie Stone, 13, has been around animals all her life.

“When I was 9, I began showing at the Arkansas State Fair,” she said. “By the time I learned to walk, I was leading an animal around by hand.”

Kaylie, the only child of Stacey and Tracy Stone of Gurdon, has made the most of her interest in animals. At this year’s Arkansas State Fair, she showed the Grand Champion Market Lamb, the Grand Champion Market Goat, the Grand Champion Meat Pen Rabbit and the Reserve Grand Champion Single Fryer Rabbit. She also won showmanship in the lamb and goat shows.

Not only did she show these champion animals; she also sold three of them at the 2013 Sale of Champions held Oct. 18 in Barton Coliseum. Front Porch magazine, which is an affiliate of the Arkansas Farm Bureau, paid Kaylie $3,100 for the lamb she calls 38 Special; the Arkansas Farm Bureau, a major sponsor of the Sale of Champions and Scholarship Awards program, paid her $3,000 for the goat she calls Tango; and Deggelar Attractions, which provides the midway for the state fair, paid her $2,000 for the rabbits she calls The O Pen.

Kaylie will use the money, which totaled approximately $9,800 by the time add-ons were included, to purchase animals for next year and for her college fund.

“She came out of the sale ring speechless and very excited,” said her mother, Tracy.

“All my family are into farming,” Kaylie said. “My dad is the ag teacher at Gurdon High School. My mom showed livestock when she was growing up. [Showing livestock] just came along for me.”

Kaylie’s grandparents, Ricky and Darla Hunter of Umpire and Margie Stone of Delight, also farmed.

Kaylie, who already shows pigs, said she is “thinking about” showing steers in the next few years.

“When I get a little older,” she said. “When it gets a little easier for me to handle [larger animals].”

Kaylie names her animals.

“They become like pets,” she said. When asked how she feels when her animals have to go off to the butcher, she said, “It’s sad, but it’s just farm life.”

Kaylie attends Cabe Middle School in Gurdon, where she is an honor student, a member of the Student Council and runs track and cross country. She also plays softball and basketball and competes in beauty pageants. She is a member of the Clark County 4-H and the Gurdon FFA.

“It gets a little hard to fit it all into my schedule,” she said with a smile.

Kaylie said she works with her animals every day.

“If they are not doing good, we work until they get it right,” she said. When she’s at the fair Kaylie said

she washes them every day “so they will be fresh for show day,” she said. “I exercise them, too. At home, I exercise them with my dog, Spur.”

Kaylie wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up.

After the Arkansas State Fair, Kaylie was set to participate in the Royal American Livestock Show in Kansas City, Mo.

“I’m so excited about going there,” she said. “It will be the highlight of my year.”

A follow-up call to Kaylie’s mother found that Kaylie did compete at the Royal American Livestock Show. She exhibited market goats, with first- and fourth-place winnings. She was also named reserve showman in the intermediate age division, 13-16.

Kaylie placed third with her market pig in the Royal American show. She also earned the Overall Reserve Champion Swine Showmanship honor in all age divisions. Tracy said approximately 350 exhibitors from across the nation competed in the event.

Kaylie was named to the Arkansas Purple Circle Club this year for her achievements at the Arkansas State Fair. She received nine awards.

The Purple Circle program is sponsored by the Arkansas Farm Bureau and recognizes junior livestock exhibitors who have achieved Grand Championship designation with their livestock at the state fair.

Tracy said her daughter has been inducted into the Purple Circle Club every year since she was 9.

“Kaylie’s dedication and work ethic at home preparing these animals is unbelievable,” Tracy said. “We get them in March and keep them until November. There are numerous hours spent in the barn and lots of late, late nights and early mornings. She’s been doing this each spring since she was 9.

“She and her dad have set goals and hopefully meet them in October,” Tracy said. “She definitely knows that in the end, hard work does pay off.”

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