Arlington High School student receives top honor at Evergreen State Fair

Arlington High School junior Whitney Holden shows a dairy cow during the Evergreen State Fair. Holden recently won the fair
Arlington High School junior Whitney Holden shows a dairy cow during the Evergreen State Fair. Holden recently won the fair's FFA round robin contest.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

ARLINGTON — Whitney Holden recently took home an award no Arlington High School student has received in 22 years.

In August, the junior won the Evergreen State Fair's FFA round robin contest — a feat no AHS student had done since 1987.

"I was really excited about it," Holden said. "It's the most animals I've ever had to show."

Fairs throughout the state of Washington typically hold FFA competitions that test high schoolers' knowledge and skill in a number of farm-related topics.

Students in FFA, a national agricultural education program, typically specialize in one animal, such as beef cattle or sheep.

During competitions, they compete against other students in their classification to impress judges with their knowledge, Holden said.

Not only did Holden win her individual award as top beef showman — she moved on to compete in a round robin competition against eight other top showmen and won.

"It was the fourth time I had been in a round robin and the first time I'd been in Evergreen's round robin," said Holden, who has been showing animals since she was 7. "It was a big accomplishment."

Round robin competitions typically require competitors to familiarize themselves with more than one animal in a short period of time. They are then tested on those animals.

During the Evergreen round robin, Holden had to show beef, sheep, dairy, pygmy goat, dairy goat, horse, chicken, rabbit, sheep and pig.

"They judge you on how you 'fit' the animal," she said. "You wash, blow dry them — just make them look really nice. You also talk about your knowledge on the animal."

Before winning her first round robin, Holden had competed in the Stanwood Camano and Skagit County round robins.

For her efforts, Holden took home a trophy "that was half my size," a belt buckle and a ribbon.

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