By Brandy Harrison
SPENCERVILLE — Emma Farlinger still battles pre-show jitters, but the moment the 18-year-old steps foot in the ring, the crowd fades away.
“You have to psych yourself up. I’m really zoned in. I’m so super focused on the judge that it’s like no one else is there,” says Farlinger, who notched one of her best results yet as champion showperson and overall champion at the EastGen 4-H Showcase in Spencerville on July 3 and 4. “I’m still on Cloud 9.”
It’s no fluke. After chores at family-owned Signature Holsteins in Morrisburg, the second-year University of Ottawa business student carves out an hour to hone her technique. At shows, Farlinger keeps a keen eye on the competition to pick up tips.
“Some of the best showpeople are just in sync with their heifers. Especially when you leave Eastern Ontario, I’ve noticed a lot of calves lead perfectly. It’s something you need to do,” she says.
The practice routine helped her form a strong bond with Signature Gold Katwin, an even-tempered June yearling that’s a handful for Farlinger, who’s just 5’3″ tall.
“She’s already taller than me — I can’t see over her,” she says, adding that Katwin’s balance of dairy strength and quality likely put her over the top as champion calf in Spencerville out of 74 calves judged by Bobby Jarrell of Corbyville. “She always leads very well and she’s very showy.”
person: Emma Farlinger, Dundas County
Reserve: Justin Velthuis, Carleton County
Honourable mention: Kirkland Reaney, Carleton County
Champion calf: Signature Gold Katwin, shown by Emma Farlinger, Dundas County
Reserve: Willow Creek Reagan Marissa, shown by Rebecca Redner, Northumberland County
Honourable mention: Riverdown Doorman Lottery Lynn, shown by Kirkland Reaney
Overall champion: Emma Farlinger
Reserve: Justin Velthuis
Top quiz: Clarissa McCallum, Frontenac County
Best exhibit: Russell County
Premier county: Northumberland County