By Tom Collins
WOODSTOCK — Alicia Bastiaansen says she is always a bundle of nerves before stepping into the show ring.
However, she talks to her calf just before entering the ring in an effort to calm down both herself and her calf.
“Once you get in there, you know that it’s time to perform, so you just have to compose yourself,” she said. “I just take deep breaths and think about what I have to do.”
Those tricks paid off as 14-year-old Alicia was named top showperson at the Western Ontario Junior Show at Woodstock on July 12. It was her first show victory.
Alicia borrows a calf from Matthew Finch’s nearby dairy farm. For the first time in her five years of showing, this year’s calf, MrFinch Uno Sager, is staying at Alicia’s family’s property. While they don’t have a farm, the Bastiaansens had an old barn on the property where her dad, Dave, constructed some calf pens. There’s also a large backyard so the calf has a pasture for feed.
When it comes to choosing calves, Alicia this year leaned toward an October calf as that would be a good size for her to show. “You have to choose which one you think will develop well and look good in the ring,” she said, adding that Sager is a calm and friendly calf. “That shows me that she’ll listen well and she’ll be easier to train.”
Here is a list of winners from the Western Ontario Junior Show:
Champion showperson: Alicia Bastiaansen, Middlesex County
Reserve: Emma Lewis, Middlesex County
Honourable mention: Brooke Sleegers, Middlesex County
Champion calf: Genesis Black Valentina, led by Jackson Kaufman, Perth County
Reserve: Millen Aleah Naughty Vixen, led by Maddie Pettit, Elgin County
Honourable mention: Walnutlawn Blake Alex, led by Blake Zehr, Oxford County