LaSalle Co. Stockman's Assoc. presents awards at Annual Harvest Rewards Banquet

Winners and donors in the “ Win-A-Show Animal” contest were Darryl, Lisa and Katie Corcoran, swine donor, with winner Alexis Walking; Leslie and Jason Inskeep, goat donors, with winner Ruby Dittmer; and beef donors, Dalton and Austin Walter, with Brayden Wilson. The winners will show their animals at the 2022 LaSalle County Junior & 4-H Fair. (Photo contributed)

LA SALLE - A successful 17th Annual LaSalle County Stockman’s Harvest Rewards Banquet was held at Seneca’s Oak Ridge on Nov. 23. The evening’s banquet honored LaSalle County’s outstanding youth in agriculture.

Following a welcome by Chris Over, Ella Chapman offered the invocation. LaSalle County Stockman President Ken Bernard and Vice-President Sarah Lukach thanked those in attendance for coming to honor and recognize the youth of LaSalle County.

Win-A-Show-Animal essay contest winners were announced by Melissas Bernard. Each winner wrote a 250-word essay on “Why I Want to win a Show Animal.” Each year, an animal from beef, swine and goat breeds is donated as the prize for the winning essay and those animals will be shown next July at the LaSalle County Junior Fair. This year’s beef winner was Brayden Wilson, prize donated by Walter Brothers, Grand Ridge; the swine winner was Alexis Walkling, prize donated by the Corcoran Family, Ottawa; and the goat winner was Ruby Dittmer, prize donated by Inskeep Acres, Marseilles.

The Grand & Reserve Champion Market winners from the 2021 LaSalle County Junior Fair were recognized followed by a live auction of their champion market animals. The winners who auctioned their animals were Beef Steer - Nolan Lukach; Barrow - Cassie Simons; Lamb - Jessica Reel; Goat - Tate Sundberg; Pen of Chickens - Brayden Wilson; and Dairy - Lauren McNelis. 

Reserve Grand Champion Market Animal winners whose animals were auctioned included Beef Steer - John Tyson Lukach; Barrow - Ruby Dittmer; Lamb - Kylee Zoran; and Goat - Ruby Dittmer. Rate of Gain Steer was awarded to Dalton Walter.

The 2021 winners of the Grand Champion Breeding Animals were recognized and honored: Heifer - Dalton Walter; Gilt Purebred and Gilt X-Bred - Carter Meyer; Ram - Kameron Hastings; Ewe - Jessica Reel; and Doe Goat - Ella Robson. Winners of Reserved Grand Champion Breeding Animals were recognized and honored: Heifer - Dalton Walter; Gilt Purebred - Cassie Simons; Gilt X-Bred - Ryder Baxter; Ewe - Gunnar Van Cleave; Ram - Ariana Ross; and Doe Goat - Landon Swain.

The Grand & Reserve Champion Market animals from the 2021 LaSalle County Junior & 4-H Fair were recognized and auctioned at the banquet. Owners include, front row, Tate Sundberg, Grand Champion Goat; Jessica Reel, Grand Champion Lamb; Ruby Dittmer, Reserve Grand Champion Barrow and Goat; John Lukach, Reserve Champion Steer; and Grand Champion Pen of Chickens, Brayden Wilson; back row, Lauren McNelis, Grand Champion Dairy; Kylee Zoran, Reserve Champion Lamb; Cassie Simons, Grand Champion Barrow; and Nolan Lukach, Grand Champion Steer. (Photo contributed)

Showmanship winners from the 2021 LaSalle 4-H & Junior Fair were announced in the Junior, Intermediate and Senior divisions of each animal breed. In the Beef category, Junior Showman was Tenley Pyska; Beef Intermediate - Sophia Pyska; and Senior Beef - Dalton Walter. In Swine, Junior Showman - Garrett Billup; Intermediate - Karson Sundberg; and Senior - Carter Meyer. In the Goat category, Showmanship winners were Junior Showman - Mollie Thomson; Intermediate Showman - Hannah Mann; and Senior Showman - Matthew Rich. In Sheep Showmanship, winners were Junior Showman - Jessica Reel and Senior Showman - Nick Angus. Dairy Showmanship winners were Junior - Hannah McNelis and Senior - Lauren McNelis. The 2021 LaSalle County Master Showmanship winner was Kylee Zoran.

2021 LaSalle County Junior & 4-H Fair Showmanship winners for all breeds who were recognized include, front row, Jessica Reel, Sheep Junior division; Hannah Mann, Goat Intermediate Division; Mollie Thomson, Goat Junior division; Hannah McNelis, Dairy Junior Division; and Garrett Billup, Swine Junior Division; back row, Nick Angus, Sheep Senior Division; Dalton Walter, Beef Senior Division; Lauren McNelis, Dairy Senior Division; Sophia Pyszka, Beef Intermediate Division; and Tenley Pyszka, Beef Junior Division. (Photo contributed)

In the Bred & Owned Sheep division, recognized in order of placement were Jessica Reel, Gunnar Van Cleave, Kameron Hastings, Nick Angus, Carter Mackey, Kara Killealea and Mollie Thomson.

LaSalle County Stockman awarded two $1,000 scholarships, which were presented to Kylee Zoran and Nick Angus. The 2021 Stockman of the Year was presented to Larry Stillwell of Peru. Larry and his wife, Nancy, farm in the Tonica area.

The enthusiastic auctioneers for the evening were Adam Almburg, Ruben Dittmer, Tom Diss, Dan Naughton and Joel Prestegaard. Four talented ladies, Rosie Walter, Sarah Over, Anita Lukach, and Joann Naughton donated pies for the Pie Auction.

In addition to hosting a banquet to honor youth who showed livestock this past year, the LCSA strives to promote and support young people as they build an agriculture career and lifestyle. This could be through a cow herd, a hog enterprise, sheep or goat herd or any agriculture field. The banquet is one way to encourage and recognize LaSalle County youth in agriculture.

For the past 18 years, LCSA has also provided the platform to return over $275,000 to the youth of LaSalle County through their programs such as the Animal Essay Contest, scholarships, sponsoring various classes at the FFA fair, LaSalle County 4-H & Junior Fair, Breeding Awards and the Live Market Animal Auction. 

During the past year, LCSA has sponsored or donated to LaSalle County Junior Fair’s Livestock Premiums and the Bred & Owned Class; IL Section 7 FFA Grand Champion Winners; LaSalle County Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom; LaSalle County Stockman’s Scholarships; “Celebration of Lights” at Rotary Park, LaSalle; and the Harvest Rewards Banquet Awards.

Upcoming Stockman’s events for 2022 include LaSalle County Farm Bureau Ag in The Classroom; scholarships (applications due in June); sponsoring the Bred & Owned Class at the LaSalle County Junior Fair in July; sponsoring the IL Section 7 FFA Grand Champion & Reserve winners; Win-A-Show-Animal (essay applications due in October); and the 18th Annual Harvest Awards and Recognition Banquet, which will be held on Nov. 22, 2022, always held the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

LCSA officers for 2021-22 are President Ken Bernard, Vice-President Sarah Lukach, Secretary Melissa Bernard, and Treasurer Lisa Corcoran. The 2021-2023 Board of Directors include Drew Beckman, Floyd Crane, Andy Goodbred, David Isermann, George A. Lukach, Chris Over and Darrin Walter.

Meetings are held the first Wednesday of each month at various locations throughout the county. Follow and LIKE them on Facebook at “LaSalle County Stockman’s Association” for information or activities. The LCSA appreciates everyone throughout LaSalle County and the surrounding area for their continued support of their organization and they look forward to 2022 and many more successful years.

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