August 31, 1999 | By: Haven Miller
LEXINGTON, KY

Kentucky State Fair officials say it's never happened before – one exhibitor showing two Grand Champions in the same year.

But now it has happened.

Pulaski County 4-Her Donna Hancock earned top exhibitor honors at the Fair in two categories: her 283-pound Crossbred gilt won Grand Champion Market Hog, and her 132-pound Hampshire won Grand Champion Market Lamb. To put it in baseball terms, that's like hitting two grand- slam home runs in one ball game.

"I was so excited, I couldn't believe it," Hancock said. "I'm very happy, and my parents are very proud. All the hard work has paid off."

Donna's parents are Mike and Carole Hancock of Eubank. When asked his reaction to his daughter being a double winner, Mike's first word was – "awesome." "This is huge -- after all, it's the Kentucky State Fair," he said. "It's been our goal for years. This is the big one."

Donna, who is 15, came to the Fair with an excellent track record. She had shown her lambs eight times this year, winning grand champion six times and reserve twice. She was champion showman all but two times. At the junior Kentucky Livestock Expo in Bowling Green she was the round robin showmanship winner, and at the Scarlet and Gray competition in Columbus, Ohio she had the reserve champion market lamb.

At the State Fair her honors didn't end in the judging arena. On Thursday evening, Fair officials, parents, 4-H and FFA officials, the media, and Kentucky Governor Paul Patton gathered at a special reception to recognize the winners. At the Sale of Champions later that evening, Donna's animals sold for record prices. Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance paid $11,000 for the hog, and Martha Wilkinson and Al Schneider paid $11,000 for the lamb.

The Hancock family has raised registered Hampshire ewes for 12 years. Oldest daughter Martha, a college 4-Her, showed the Reserve Grand Champion at the Fair a few years ago. Youngest daughter Laura, at one year old, is perhaps a future State Fair 4-H winner.

Donna, who enjoys playing piano and working with children, has been a 4-Her for six years. Her 4-H agent is Tad Campbell. She recently earned a $ 500 scholarship from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

Another 4-Her, Mason County's Scotty Estep, exhibited this year's Reserve Grand Champion Lamb. The Grand Champion Market Steer was shown by FFA member Andrew Sauer of Fleming County. The Reserve Market steer was shown by Scott County FFA member Alissa Little, who also is a junior studying animal science at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture. The Reserve Grand Champion Market Hog was shown by FFA member Derek Saunders, also of Fleming County.

Contact: 

Writer: Haven Miller (606) 257-3784