By NATHAN HAYWOOD
Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Whitko Community Schools
INDIANAPOLIS — Perseverance and discipline merit their own rewards and, for Austin Bernicky and Jordyn Leininger, the rewards at the Indiana State Fair have been abundant.
On Aug. 7, Bernicky, a ninth-grader at Whitko High School, won the grand champion market lamb, which means he won his respective breed in blackface crossbred, then went on to compete against the top winner against all breed champions to rank as the cream of the crop, the best in show, the super-bowl champion of lamb breeding known as the grand champion.
Leininger, a sixth-grader at Whitko Middle School, won supreme breeding ewe Aug. 13, and first and fifth place overall. She showed a hampshire that won her the supreme champion ranking and a suffolk, which took fifth overall. Similar to grand champion, the supreme champion in the ewe competition is the highest ranking an individual can achieve.
For Bernicky and Leininger, it doesn’t get much sweeter with grand champion and supreme champion in the lamb and ewe categories, respectively. This past Wednesday, the champions were invited to the coveted harvest dinner. At $250 a plate, this fundraiser’s proceeds will go back to the students who competed and can be used toward raising next year’s champions or toward their futures in whatever way they see fit.
Leininger has been invited to give a speech about her experiences as the new supreme champion. Bernicky will be honored at the celebration of champions later this week.