Sonoma County Fair’s Top Exhibitors Honored at Farm Bureau Foundation’s Awards Dinner

Written By: Tim Tesconi
Published: September 1, 2012

Sonoma County Fair’s cream-of-the-crop took the stage at the Sonoma County 4-H and FFA Awards Dinner where Suzanne Amaral of Sonoma and Michelle McClure of Inverness in Marin County were named the outstanding Sonoma County Fair exhibitors for 2012.

Suzanne, 17, a graduate of Sonoma Valley High School, and Michelle, 18, a graduate of Petaluma High School, were recipients of the Gold Cup Award for agricultural excellence. The Gold Cup Award, which included a $1,500 scholarship for each of the winners, is sponsored by the Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County to recognize young agricultural leaders for overall achievement, leadership, scholarship and participation in the Sonoma County Fair.

Suzanne, the daughter of John and Doreen Amaral of Sonoma, will be attending Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, this fall to study agriculture science, concentrating on agricultural education. Her career goal is to become a vocational agriculture instructor in Sonoma County.

Michelle, the daughter of Marin County dairy ranchers Bob and Ruth McClure, also will be attending Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She will study dairy science and agricultural communications.

Both Suzanne and Michelle have outstanding projects and a stellar record of community service and leadership with the 4-H and FFA organizations. Suzanne is District 3 Dairy Princess and Michelle is First Alternate District 3 Dairy Princess.

The Gold Cup Award was established in 2008, coinciding with the Farm Bureau Foundation’s sponsorship of the Sonoma County Fair 4-H and FFA Awards program in partnership with the Sonoma County Fair. The Awards Dinner was held on Aug. 8 at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building.

Farm Bureau Foundation officials said the Sonoma County Fair 4-H and FFA Awards Dinner is one of the most meaningful and enjoyable events staged by the charitable foundation. It pays tribute to the young people who will one day be leaders in agriculture and the community.

“The Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County is honored to sponsor the Awards Dinner to recognize the fair’s top junior exhibitors. We believe the hard work of the 4-H and FFA exhibitors should be celebrated at an event that showcases their remarkable achievements and dedication to agriculture. These young people are our future leaders,” said Santa Rosa rancher Robert Muelrath, president of Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County.

There were more than 700 4-H and FFA fair exhibitors and their families at the Awards Dinner. Kenn Cunningham of Exchange Bank was the master of ceremonies. Sonoma County supervisors Efren Carrillo, Mike McGuire, David Rabbitt and Shirlee Zane joined in presenting the trophies, plagues and special awards that went to the top exhibitors in beef, swine, sheep, goats, rabbits, poultry, agriculture mechanics, dogs and other categories.

Sonoma County Fair president Saralee McClelland Kunde welcomed the guests and thanked the Farm Bureau Foundation and Farm Bureau staff for coordinating the event, which has become the fair’s grand finale for junior exhibitors and their families.

The $1,500 Gold Cup Awards were presented by Steve Olson, treasurer of the Farm Bureau Foundation and Foundation president Robert Muelrath. The Dinner and Awards Ceremony was coordinated by the Farm Bureau Foundation of Sonoma County in cooperation with the Sonoma County Fair. American AgCredit and the Sonoma County Grange Credit Union joined the Sonoma County Fair and Farm Bureau Foundation in sponsoring the pasta dinner, prepared by Art Ibleto, the Pasta King.

A highlight of the Awards Dinner was a photographic overview set to country music. The photographs captured 4-H and FFA livestock exhibitors in the barns and show rings during the 17-day fair. Steve Knudsen, marketing coordinator at Sonoma County Farm Bureau, created the presentation, which included photographs by fair photographer Brenda Hawkes and contributing photographers that included Knudsen and Farm Bureau interns Cynthia Hinde and Emilie Strand. The photographers spent hours at the fair getting the images that captured the spirit of 4-H and FFA exhibitors.

At the Awards Dinner, the buyers of the supreme champion market animals presented checks to the exhibitors who raised the fair’s best steer, hog, lamb, meat goat, meat birds and rabbits.

The buyers of the supreme champion market animals were:

Supreme Lamb: owned by Lauren Murnin of Sebastopol and purchased by G &  G Supermarkets and Velasam meat company. Supreme Hog: owned by Mark Rosantsson of Healdsburg and purchased by Arnie Riebli of Sunrise Farms in Petaluma.
Supreme Steer: owned by Steven Pozzi of Petaluma and purchased by the Union Hotel of Occidental. Supreme Meat Goat:  owned by Alyssa Lopez of Santa Rosa and purchased by Les Schwab Tires of Sonoma County.
Champion Poultry Meat Pen: owned by Maddison Vernon of Santa Rosa and purchased by Frizelle Enos in Sebastopol and Roger Hoffman of Point Reyes. Champion Meat Rabbit Pen: owned by Corey Sceales of Cloverdale and purchased by Sequoia Wealth Management of Petaluma.

There were a number of other special awards presented to outstanding exhibitors at the Sonoma County Fair. Suzanne Amaral of Sonoma won the $750 Arthur “Big Boy” and Catherine “Honey” Kunde Memorial Award. The award, presented by Richard Kunde in memory of his parents, is based on farm projects, leadership and dedication to the preservation of Sonoma County agriculture.

Sonoma County businessman Todd McAlvain received the 2012 FFA Distinguished Service Award for his continuing support to the FFA.

Jessie Peterson, a member of the Liberty 4-H and Petaluma FFA , and Charles Kirby, won the $250 Sonoma Kiwanis Club Youth Agricultural Award.

Kate Tackmeir won the Babe and Bernetta Tesconi Memorial Award for the scope and diversity of her many projects – livestock and non-livestock –  entered in the Sonoma County Fair. The award includes a $250 cash award and silver belt buckle, donated by members of the Tesconi Family.

Angie Ruffoni of the Santa Rosa FFA won the Alphabet Photo Challenge and a $250 savings bond. This award is sponsored by Brenda Hawkes the fair’s official livestock photographer.

Sarah Anderson won the Christine Bergue Award for Outstanding Non-Livestock Exhibitor.

The Bob Bergman Memorial Awards, sponsored by the Amaral Family of Sonoma in memory of the late Bob Bergman, were presented to 4-H’er Roby Tunzi and FFA member Bryan Rocha.

Janet Kracker of Forestville FFA won the FFA Large Animal Round Robin Showmanship Contest.  Jessica Crowhurst won the FFA Small Animal Round Robin Showmanship. Kate Tackmeir won both the 4-H Senior Large Animal Round Robin and 4-H Senior Small Animal Round Robin.

Rio Pagliaro won 4-H Junior Large Animal Round Robin. Melanie Hanlon-H won the 4-H Junior Small Animal Round Showmanship contest for exhibitors 14 years and older.
Winning Round Robin is considered the pinnacle of success at the fair because it demonstrates an exhibitor’s abilities at expertly showing a range of different livestock species while possessing knowledge of farm animals and their care.

Other top exhibitors honored at the Fair Awards Dinner were:

Born & Bred Winners

  • Jeremy Spaletta, Champion Sonoma County Barrow Challenge Market Hog
  • Clayton Arntz, Champion Sonoma County Bred and Born Market Goat
  • Zach Albers, Champion Sonoma County Bred and Born Market Lamb
  • John Kinworthy, Champion Sonoma/Marin County Bred and Born 4-H Market Steer
  • Victoria Cooper, Champion Sonoma/Marin County Bred and Born FFA Market Steer


  • Cole Crawford, Best 4-H Breeding Swine Project and Premier Breeder for Durocs
  • Davis Crawford, Best FFA Breeding Swine Project and Premier Breeder and Exhibitor Awards for Yorkshires
  • Kody Petrucci, Supreme Best Pair  In Memory of Clarence & Laura Anderson and Premium Exhibitor for Durocs

Dairy Cattle

  • Jeremy Spaletta, Supreme Grand Champion Grade Dairy Female, Grand Champion Grade Holstein Female, Award for Most Effort In a Jr. Dairy Project, Premier Breeder Award for Grade Holsteins and Premier Exhibitor Award  for Grade Holsteins
  • Regina Pozzi, Supreme Grand Champion Registered Dairy Female, Supreme Jr. Champion Registered Dairy Female and Premier Exhibitor Award for Jerseys
  • Jessie Peterson, Supreme Jr. Champion Grade Dairy Female
  • Samantha Spaletta, Supreme Best Bred & Owned by Exhibitor
  • Jordan Grove, Premier Breeder and Exhibitors Awards for Holsteins
  • Catherine Kunde, Premier Breeder Award – Jersey
  • Connie Jones, Premier Breeder and Exhibitor Awards for All Other Breeds Dairy
  • Chris Temple & Christa Nygard, Premier Breeder Award – Grade All Other Breeds
  • Gina Piccini, Premier Exhibitor Award – Grade All Other Breeds


  • Lauren Murnin, 4-H Grand Champion Market Lamb
  • Victoria Shura, Wool Sweepstakes Award
  • Ariel Scholten, Highest Placing 4-H Dorset Market Lamb
  • Jessie Peterson, Highest Placing FFA Dorset Market Lamb
  • Jake Hankin, Supreme Young Flock and Premier Southdown Breeder and Premier Exhibitor.
  • Cole Pruett, Best Jr. Breeding Sheep Project and Premier Dorset Breeder and Premier Exhibitor.
  • Alexandra Kasper, Best FFA Breeding Sheep Exhibitor and Premier breeder and Premier Exhibitor  for All Other Wool Breeds.
  • Amanda King, Best 4-H Breeding Sheep Exhibitor and Premier Hampshire Breeder and Premier Exhibitor
  • Savannah Schell, Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor – All other meat breeds

Beef Cattle

  • Elizabeth Kirby, 4-H Hobart Carter Award
  • Jeanette Lanati, FFA Hobart Carter Award
  • Francesca Pharo, 4-H Best Jr. Market Beef Project 11-13 yrs.
  • Suzanne Amaral, FFA Best Market Beef Project and award for Most Effort in a Junior Beef Project
  • Steven Pozzi, FFA Outstanding Angus Exhibitor and Premier Breeder and Exhibitor in the All Other Breeds category.
  • Seth Camilli, 4-H Outstanding Angus Exhibitor
  • Hannah Noren, Premier Exhibitor for Herefords and  4-H Highest Placing Bull Bred By Exhibitor – All Breeds Considered
  • Ashley Corbett, 4-H Highest Placing Heifer Bred By Exhibitor – All Breeds Considered
  • Robby Tunzi, 4-H Best Jr. Breeding Beef Project 11-13 and Bob Bergman Memorial Award
  • Bryan Rocha, FFA Best Breeding Beef Project and Bob Bergman Memorial Award
  • Regina Pozzi, Premier Breeder and Exhibitor Awards for Angus and Premier Breeder Award for Herefords

Poultry & Rabbits

  • Talia Morones, Best Junior Poultry Exhibitor
  • Suzanne Amaral, Best Senior Poultry Exhibitor
  • Tiffani Watkins, Best Display of Rabbits
  • Blaine Mills, Best 1st Yr. Rabbit Project 14 & Under
  • Melanie Hanlon, Best Cavy Project


  • Ellie Slick, Premier Pygmy Goat Breeder
  • Victoria Shura, Premier Pygmy Goat Exhibitor
  • Rebecca Kracker, Supreme Best Doe of Show, Supreme Best Three Females and Premier Exhibitor Award for Alpines
  • Janet Kracker, Outstanding Dairy Goat Exhibitor. Ramona “Rae” Geraldi Memorial Award and Premier Breeder and Exhibitor Awards for LaManchas
  • Andrew Richardson, Intermediate Skill-a-Thon
  • Ellorine Carle, Senior Skill-a-Thon, Premier Breeder Award for Sannens and Premier Breeder Award for Grades
  • Keiana Grima, Premier Breeder Award – Alpine Dairy Goats
  • Leanne Wildman, Premier Exhibitor Award for Sannens and Premier Exhibitor Award for  All Other Breeds
  • Jessica Crowhurst, Premier Breeder and Exhibitor Award for All Other Breeds
  • Lindsey Coffman, Premier Exhibitor Award for Grade Dairy Goats


  • Brenda Arisman, English Overall High Point Award, Western Overall High Point Award and Combined Overall High Point Award

Junior Garden Awards

  • Green Valley 4-H, Best of Show junior garden group
  • Katlyn Hansen, Best of Show junior garden individual

Agricultural Mechanics

  • Charlie Stellon, Outstanding FFA Ag Mechanics Exhibitor
  • Petaluma FFA, Outstanding FFA Ag Mechanics Chapter

Dog Care & Handling

  • Cole Schafer, Highest Scoring in Trial and Best Handler – 11 years & under
  • Melanie Hanlon, Best Handler 12-13
  • Genevieve Patt, Best Handler 14 yr & older
  • Jessica Crowhurst, Best Handler FFA

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