GFB News Magazine

GFB celebrates 30th Annual Ga. Jr. National Livestock Champions

Posted on September 7, 2020 12:00 AM

By Jennifer Whittaker

Although the 2020 Georgia National Fair is canceled, the Georgia 4-H and FFA livestock shows held at the fair are expected to go on – as of  press time.

To comply with COVID-19 recommendations set by Georgia and the Centers for Disease Control, the shows will  be  held as private events open only to exhibitors, their immediate  families and project support staff. No general admission spectators will be allowed on the fairgrounds.

The fall shows will be livestreamed on Walton Webcasting's social media  platforms Oct. 9-11 and Oct. 15-17 thanks to  Georgia Farm Bureau.  Visit to watch.

The last three competitions of the 2020 Georgia 4-H and FFA Livestock Shows - the Market Goat-Doe, Market Goat-Wether and Market Lamb -  will be among the numerous livestock events held at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter  (GNFA). GFB will sponsor the grand champion awards for these three species for the ninth year.

As Georgia youth prepare for the fall shows, let’s celebrate the six exhibitors who won grand champion species awards during the 30th Annual Georgia Junior  National Livestock Show in February at the GNFA in Perry.


About 1,500 Georgia 4-H and FFA members competed in the show. These students brought some 1,185  hogs, 804 cattle, 232 goats and 201 sheep to exhibit during the multi-day event.

GFB awarded the coveted grand champion belt buckles and a total of $13,000 in prizes to six exhibitors whose animals livestock judges deemed to be the best of their species. Visit  to see more photos from the GJNLS.


Commercial Dairy Heifer Grand Champion Michael Bushey




From right,  Michael Bushey accepts congratulations from show judge Craig Padgett,  GFB  President Gerald Long, who presented the $1,500 prize & his agriculture teacher Nick Cantrell.  Photo by  Terri Bushey


Michael Bushey was a sixth grade FFA member at Clear Creek Middle School in Gilmer County when he won the grand champion commercial dairy heifer with his red Holstein “Sassy.” The son of Michael and Terri Bushey, of Ellijay, this was the second year Bushey showed dairy heifers.

“I worked with Sassy every day for about forty to forty-five minutes - walking her around, setting her up (positioning the animal to best showcase its physical structure),” Michael said. “She was pretty hard to halter break.”

Michael’s winning heifer is the daughter of a red Holstein, Sally, that belongs to his older sister, Octavia, a rising junior who has shown dairy heifers for seven years.

Both Sally and her calf, Sassy, are descended from the red Holstein herd the Bushey siblings’ grandfather, Homer, once milked in Champlain, N.Y.

Breeding Doe Grand Champion Casey West




Photo by Jennifer Whittaker


White County High School FFA member Casey West, center, earned a $1,000 prize for his grand champion commercial doe (female goat) “Benny the Jet Rodriguez.” West accepts the $1,000 prize check from  Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long & the grand champion trophy from show  judge Chase  McPhaul. 

West, a junior when he won the award, has shown livestock for eight years. He also shows beef cows and pigs.

The son of Clay and Dedra West, of Cleveland, Casey says what he likes most about showing is meeting new people and  making new friends.

“I worked with my goat every day about 45 minutes,” Casey said. “I rinsed it, walked it, practiced bracing it (positioning the animal to show off its muscle). I was hoping she would win and she did!”

Market Barrow  Grand Champion  Brock Weaver




Photo by Jay Stone

Brock  Weaver, center, accepts the $1,500  prize check from Georgia Farm Bureau  President Gerald Long &  congratulations from show judge  Miles Toenyes. 


When asked what it takes to win a grand championship, Brock shared how he trained his winning hog.

“I’m up at 6 o’clock every morning. Staying in the barn until 11 o’clock, 10:30 at night. Always washing, feeding,” Brock  said. “It takes a bunch of effort.”

The son of Jason and Kimberly Weaver of Norman Park, Brock, has shown livestock for seven years and shows cattle in addition to hogs.

The rising junior says, “being around a bunch of people I know,” and “being always on the move - staying out of trouble, basically,” are what he likes most about showing livestock.

GFB News Reporter Jay Stone  contributed  information  for this profile.


Market Gilt Grand Champion Carolyne  Turner




Photo by Jay Stone


Colquitt County FFA member Carolyne Turner, far left, captured the grand champion market gilt  (young female) prize. She accepts  congratulations from  show judge Miles Toenyes and the $1,500 prize check from Haley Darby with the GFB Field Services Department.

The daughter of Richie and Becca Turner, of Moultrie, Carolyne has focused on showing hogs for 11 years. This is the second grand  championship she’s won at the Ga. Jr. National having won the 2018 grand champion barrow award.

“It’s not just the winning. It’s more about people you meet and the lessons you learn. Like learning how to take care of things, learning how to lose gracefully and win humbly,” Carolyne said when asked what she likes most about showing. “I think this is probably the best thing that people can do.”                

Carolyne admits she began showing due to her mom’s prodding but then fell in love with showing.

“She made me do it for the first few years. Then I just developed a passion for it, and 11 years later here I am. I’m the boss of a 280-pound animal,” Carolyne said.

GFB News Reporter Jay Stone  contributed  information  for this profile.


Beef Heifer Grand Champion Austin Ertzberger




Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Pictured from right, Austin Ertzberger accepts congratulations from show judge Josh  Elder and Georgia Farm Bureau President  Gerald Long, who presented the $2,500 prize check. 


After showing livestock for 12 years, winning the grand champion breeding heifer award was a dream come true for Franklin County FFA member Austin Ertzberger, who won with his 23-month bred Limousin heifer “Loretta the Limi.”

The son of Wayne and Carrie Ertzberger of Carnesville, Austin was a senior at Franklin County High School when he won the award.

Austin put in long hours to get to the winner’s circle with his heifer.

“I head out to the barn anywhere from five-thirty to six every morning and then work with my show calves twice each afternoon,” Austin said.

Judging by the long line of well-wishers who offered congratulations on his win, Austin earned more than just money and belt buckles from  showing.

“I’ve made my best friends doing this [showing],” Austin said.

Market Cattle Grand Champion  Tanner Norton




Photo by Jennifer  Whittaker

Grady County 4-Her Tanner Norton,  center, made show history by winning the first Ga. Jr. National Livestock Market Beef Cattle Show, in which exhibitors showed their market steers or market heifers. Previously only market steers competed for the grand champion market prize. Tanner won the show with a Maine-Chi-Angus crossbred steer that he says he picked for his heavy muscling and deep body.

Georgia Farm Bureau Field Services  Associate Director Clay Talton presents the $5,000 prize to Tanner as show judge Jirl Buck offers  congratulations.

Tanner, the son of Clay and Cindy Norton of Cairo, is no stranger to the winner’s circle. This is the fourth Ga. Jr. National grand championship he  has won. He won the 2018  grand champion market doe and market lamb awards and the 2019 grand champion market wether.

Tanner has shown livestock for nine years. He began showing cattle four years ago.

“It’s harder to prepare steer [for showing],” Tanner answered when asked which species he found the hardest to show.

He was a freshman at Cairo High School in February.