This year’s Mother Lode Fair is open 5 p.m. to midnight Thursday, 5 p.m. to midnight Friday, 3 p.m. to midnight Saturday and 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday. Two auction events are scheduled at this year’s Mother Lode Fair. The Junior Livestock Auction at 5 p.m. Saturday is for beef, sheep and swine. The Small Livestock Auction at 2:30 p.m. Sunday is for poultry, rabbits and goats.

Anthony “Tony” Kellogg was 9 when he showed his first animals — pigs — at the Mother Lode Fair.

Now 19 and a student at Modesto Junior College, this year’s fair will be his last.

“I love ag,” Kellogg said. “For me it’s a lot about the experience you get and responsibility you have to take on. You learn about leadership and making personal accomplishments.”

Kellogg said after pigs he raised meat goats and this year has a 1,370-pound steer, born and raised at his family’s place, the K_Bar Ranch in Tuolumne. He calls the steer Curly. It’s a year-and-a-half old. Kellogg said.

He’s won several awards at previous Mother Lode Fairs, including goat showmanship twice, grand champion goat and reserve champion for goats, showmanship for steers twice, and reserve FFA champion for one of his steers. Last year he won the Ron Arington Memorial Award for Outstanding Ranch Hand.

Kellogg’s father, Stan, was a long-time agriculture teacher at Sonora High and he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps.

“I want to give back to the community that’s given me so many opportunities. Agriculture is the past, present and future of this country. It will always be here,” Tony Kellogg said

Many vendors were putting the last touches on their booths Thursday afternoon, readying everything for a 5 p.m. opening. The fair runs through Sunday night.

Before 2 p.m. Thursday, Charlie Cook and his son, Junior, 10, both of Galt, were dumping out bales of pine shavings and setting up their race course for a group of miniature pot belly pigs that were snoozing in their shaded trailer.

Food vendors and ride concessioners were busy setting up. Brandon Doering, of San Diego, sliced mushrooms for A1 steak burgers he and his crew planned to make later in their Top Notch food stand, along with deep-fried avocados and deep-fried pickles.

Marimar Roa and Margarita Gonzales, both of Los Angeles and Veracruz, Mexico, pulled a wagon containing churros and hot dogs on sticks and drinks to their food stand.

In the livestock barns, Austin Castaneda, 10, of Sonora, showed his year-old Bantam black leghorn chicken, which is going to be judged in a fancy poultry category for its breeding characteristics.

Parker Treat, 10, of Jamestown, showed his Cornish cross chicken, an 8-week-old meat bird that will be judged for its meat quality.

Jordan Hampton, 14, who grew up on Lazy JH Farm in Stent outside Jamestown, got in a pen with three or four tom turkeys and seven hens to show birds she raised to be judged in a showmanship class and a market class.

Trey Deutsch, 13, of Greeley Hill, showed a Californian rabbit, a meat rabbit, that has already been judged Grand Champion in the single frier category. Trey said his rabbit weighs five pounds exactly and it’s 70 days old.

Jennifer Kohn, 14, of Groveland, showed her spotted black-and-white junior doe Lamancha goat.

Hannah Castaneda, 13, of Sonora, showed her market lamb, Olaf, that was raised for its meat. She had Olaf on a lamb stand for trimming before judging. Olaf is a Suffolk crossed with Hampshire.

Gabe Spann-Hutchison, 15, of Tuolumne, walked to another livestock area to show his Yorkshire crossbred pig, named Supper. Gabe said he raised the pig for market and to be auctioned for its meat. Supper came in at 204 pounds, 6 pounds too light for market, so Gabe said he will look for a private buyer. Gabe said Supper still won sixth place in a separate livestock category.

Gregory Crook, 15, of Sonora, showed a cow and bull calf he raised for the beef competition. He raised the cow from a 2-month-old heifer to 2 years old, and the bull calf was born two weeks ago. He calls the mom Ellie and her bull calf is named Jep.

Krystal Newman, 10, and Ashley Newman, 12, both of Sonora, were spending time with their goats Thursday afternoon. Ashley’s Boer goat named Wilma has been awarded 3rd place and sixth place awards in separate categories.

Junior livestock judging for goats, rabbits and pigs has already been completed, but full results were not available yet, Sue Moore with the Tuolumne County Livestock Association said Thursday afternoon.

The sheep show is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Friday in the big livestock arena, and the poultry show is slated for 8:30 a.m. Friday in the small livestock arena, Moore said. The beef show is set for 5 p.m. Friday.

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.com or 588-4585. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.

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