Taryn Sehnert graduated from Fallbrook High School (FHS) in 2016 and spent four years in the Future Farmers of America chapter there. Over the past year Sehnert utilized an FFA alumni year to pursue her American FFA degree, which also allowed her to show at the San Diego County Fair’s livestock market show this year. Sehnert showed a steer at the county fair, and Lincoln received supreme reserve champion designation.
“It was really unexpected,” said Sehnert. “I was surprised.”
Sehnert is currently attending Mira Costa College. She plans to transfer either to the University of Nebraska or to Chico State University and major in agricultural communications. Sehnert’s father was born in Nebraska, and in 2016 she acquired a steer from Nebraska and named it Mike Riley after the University of Nebraska head football coach. The steer Mike Riley was last year’s FFA superheavyweight reserve champion. This year Sehnert named her steer Lincoln, which is where the University of Nebraska is located.
Lincoln was actually bred in Adel, Iowa, which is approximately 25 miles west of Des Moines. The Sehnert family traveled to Nebraska in December to look at cattle. “I was already planning to do my alumni year,” Sehnert said. “I enjoy going to shows with my family and being able to show together.”
Sehnert is the oldest of three children, all girls, and all three Sehnert sisters participated in this year’s county fair. Delana Sehnert, who was a freshman at FHS during 2016-17, showed a 238-pound hog as a representative of Fallbrook FFA. Twelve-year-old Mallory Sehnert, who completed sixth grade at Live Oak Elementary School in June and will enter Potter Junior High School when the 2017-18 academic year commences, is with Fallbrook 4-H and raised a steer weighing 1,160 pounds.
Taryn Sehnert had initially planned to show a lamb during the 2017 county fair but changed her mind during the trip to Nebraska. “I decided I liked cattle too much not to continue with it,” she said.
Sehnert looked at a calf in Nebraska but was beaten out for the purchase. The family traveled to Matt Lautner Cattle in Adel, where Sehnert acquired Lincoln. Matt Lautner is one of the premier breeders in the United States. “It was really good to show his genetics,” Sehnert said.
Lincoln was a Simmental cross and was approximately eight months old when the Sehnert family obtained him. He was 15 months when he was taken to the county fair June 26 and weighed 1,195 pounds on the fair scales.
The competition begins with the FFA and 4-H weight classes. Lincoln was in the FFA mediumweight class as was Brady, a 1,236-pound Maine cross raised by Ashley Weiman of Ramona FFA. Brady was the FFA mediumweight champion market beef animal and Lincoln was the reserve champion.
The FFA weight class champions and reserve champions then compete for FFA grand champion and FFA reserve champion honors. Brady took the top FFA designation while Lincoln was the FFA reserve champion.
“We just kept going,” Sehnert said.
The FFA grand champion, the FFA reserve champion, the 4-H or Grange grand champion, and the 4-H or Grange reserve champion animals then compete for supreme grand champion and supreme reserve champion distinction. Weiman and Brady received supreme grand champion recognition while Sehnert and Lincoln garnered the supreme reserve champion honor.
“I was behind Ashley the whole time,” Sehnert said.
Weiman was also competing in her alumni year. “We both got it our last year,” Weiman said.
“Kind of funny how it works out,” Sehnert said.
Weiman actually graduated from Mountain Valley Academy, which is the Ramona Unified School District’s independent study school and Ramona’s equivalent of Oasis High School, in 2016 but took an agriculture class at Ramona High School which made her eligible for FFA membership. In a previous year, Weiman had two steers in the same weight class, so Sehnert showed one of Weiman’s animals.
Sehnert and Lincoln took second place in this year’s FFA beef showmanship competition June 30. The first-place showmanship award was given to Eli Martineau of Valley Center FFA, who is one of Sehnert’s cousins. “He was one of the reasons why I started doing cattle,” Sehnert said.
Fallbrook FFA member Audrey Greenwood placed third in showmanship. “That was cool as well,” Sehnert said.
Weiman and Brady received fourth place in the showmanship competition.
During the July 1 auction Southern Contracting Company paid $7.50 per pound for Lincoln.
“It was a really fun way to end my career,” Sehnert said.
Sehnert, who turned 19 on May 7, attended Fallbrook Street Elementary School from kindergarten through second grade, Live Oak Elementary school from third grade through sixth grade, Potter Junior High School during her seventh-grade and eighth-grade years, and Fallbrook High School from ninth grade through twelfth grade. She joined the Fallbrook 4-H chapter when she was nine years old and was 14 when she became a member of Fallbrook High School’s FFA chapter.
Sehnert made her San Diego County Fair debut in 2008 as a Fallbrook 4-H member. She showed a goat which earned supreme grand champion honors and also showed a pig that year.
“I got to start my show career in the grand champion ring and end it in the grand champion ring as well,” Sehnert said.
The four candidates for supreme grand champion and supreme reserve champion are all shown in the grand champion ring, and during her 4-H days one of Sehnert’s goats received 4-H reserve champion honors although not a supreme grand champion or supreme reserve champion designation. “It’s been a while,” Sehnert said of returning to the grand champion ring.
Because the San Diego County Fair takes place prior to the start of the school year, an incoming freshman may participate as a high school Future Farmers of America member. Sehnert took advantage of that in 2012, when she showed a heifer in the FFA competition and a pig in the 4-H competition.
“I’m just really grateful to 4-H and FFA for giving me probably the best 10 years of my life showing livestock,” Sehnert said. “It’s sad to see it coming to an end, but I’m excited to be on the outside helping the future generation and supporting my family.”