“Big Booty Judy” Takes First

Last week, the Rio Arriba County Fair showcased the best and brightest young talent in the area through arts, cooking, livestock shows and more.

The fair included shows for horses, market beef, sheep, poultry, swine, goats and rabbits. But it wasn’t only for kids in the county with animals. There was also an indoor exhibit with competitions for homemade delights, quilts, paintings, drawings, wood carvings and presentations.

“There’s a lot of really talented kids in the area, and we don’t even know how many hours they put in,” said Alex Law, the beef superintendent at the county fair, in an interview with the SUN. “It’s not just for the animal kids. It’s for the kids that maybe can’t have an animal, but they want to still be included in this.”

Siblings Everett Vigil, 14, and Araya Vigil, 17, of Nambe, stole the show. Araya’s steer Milo won Grand Champion at the Market Beef Show, and Everett took home Best Showman for his pig, Big Booty Judy, as well as Best of Show for a wooden box he carved with animals etched on top.

“I just try my hardest and train my pigs as best as I can and get them ready,” Everett Vigil said in an interview with the SUN.

Judges evaluated animals in the livestock competitions based on the readiness of males to be butchered and females to be bred. To select a winner, judges carefully inspected the hind end and the side profile of each animal to evaluate bone structure and musculature. The judges also observed posture and gait to assess the animal’s uniformity and ability to carry its weight.

“I’m really excited that I won,” Arraya Vigil said in an interview with the SUN. “It felt kind of like a breath of fresh air.”

To prepare livestock for the show requires almost a year of intensive work, keeping the animal well fed and well taken care of, establishing a bond and proper training. Cattle will grow over 1,000 pounds over that time. 

“All my beef kids I know for a fact have been working with their animals since the day they got them,” Law said. “It’s not the parents that go out and exercise the animals and feed the animals. They’ll guide the kids along the way, but in the end, it’s the kids that want to do it, and it shows. You can tell that all the kids here have worked on those animals very, very hard.”

The county fair also provides local feed suppliers a chance to display the proven effectiveness of their products. Contestants often reach out to their feed suppliers to ask them to come to the livestock auction, which Law said builds up community and local economy. Suppliers will often hang photos of winners in their stores.

And it can be a rewarding experience for the kids selling their livestock, who sometimes are able to sell at close to five times market value. Law said the county fair auction is the best place to get local beef. 

Law was once in the same position as the kids he mentors. He was a former Grand Champion as a child, and when he was a contestant in the fair, people gave up lots of time to help him, so now he wants to do the same thing. He said the county fair is a valuable tradition, where locals can present their hard work.

“A lot of these kids don’t just do animals,” he said. “They play sports. Most of them make very, very good grades in school. If you really think about that, it puts one in your heart. I don’t even know how to say it.”

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