Katie Midgley struggled to get her massive dairy steer into the photo booth for a picture Tuesday at the Champaign County Fair, having been named both the Grand Champion and the Dairy Ambassador.
It was a proud moment for the six-year veteran of the Champaign County Fair – all with dairy.
“I’ve never won grand champion, but I’ve come pretty close,” Midgley said. “To actually win it is crazy. You’ve been waiting all this time and all this hard work has definitely paid off.”
The newest Dairy Ambassador has a busy schedule, working with her animals around six hours each day while maintaining a work schedule and, as most teenagers, a social life.
“I do have a job and I usually work about 30 hours a week,” she said. “It’s definitely challenging to get everything done in the same day, but I do it. It’s crazy. It’s kind of like running a marathon. You just keep on going.”
Midgley nosed out Zoe Ratliff, who finished with Reserve Champion in her seventh year.
“I’m out there every day, two or three times per day working with him,” Ratliff said, adding that many sessions are around four hours.
The pair will likely make appearances around the fair for years to come, with Midgley planning to show one more time. She’s graduated, but due to her young age has an additional year of eligibility.
“If I can do it, I’m going to do it,” she said. “I love it.”