Dylan Mongan, known as the "Turkey Whisperer," has raised grand champion birds an unprecedented three times – 2013, 2014 and this year. A member of the Orange Acres Back Breakers 4-H Club, Mongan and his colleagues show their market animals at the Orange County fair every year.
Orange Acres Back Breakers 4-H wins at OC Fair
The Orange County Fair is the finale of the program year for many Orange Acres Back Breakers (OABB) 4-H Club members. The youth, ages 7 to 18, with beef, poultry, turkey, rabbit, swine or goat projects, have spent a year caring for their animals, in anticipation of judging at the fair. They stay overnight at the barns, keeping their animals hydrated and groomed, the pens clean, getting ready for their moment in the ring.
OABB won big, taking a number of ribbons and awards.
Turkey talk in the poultry tent: Dylan Mongan is now known as the “Turkey Whisperer” for his unprecedented three-peat, raising a Grand Champion Turkey this year, as well as in 2013 and 2014. No one has ever repeated a Grand Champion win. His turkey was also named Champion Market Tom Turkey and garnered $800 at market. Sister Erin Mongan also earned accolades, as she raised and won for Reserve Champion Market Hen Turkey for the second time; her hen brought $500 at market.
Haajar Yamani won Reserve Grand Champion Pen of Market Broilers ($250 at market); William Gallegos took third ($225 at market) and Cameron Stephen took fifth (and $200 at market), for their pens of market broilers.
In the Avian Bowl, the OABB team of Sumayyah Yamani, Erin Mongan and Sergio Picasso showcased their knowledge of all things poultry, posting a second place win.
In the swine pen: Logan Sara, Sixth Place for Swine Showmanship, Junior Class; Ryan Jeltema, ninth place in Swine Showmanship, Senior Class; David McDargh-Mitchel, 11th in Senior Showmanship. All swine received blue ribbons in Market Class, and OABB Pig Project took third in Club Group.
In the beef barn: All calves in the OABB beef program, led by Vern Kay and Jenna Lew, received a blue ribbon in Market Class. Abigael May took third in Market and fifth place in Showmanship; Dylan Mongan took second in Market and Erin Mongan placed sixth in Showmanship; Cameron Stephens placed second in Market; and Sergio Picasso placed third in Market and seventh in Showmanship. The OABB Beef Project won second in Club Group.
Goat project, led by former 4-H member Jenna Lew: Tammy McDargh-Mitchell, fourth place, Junior Goat Showmanship, and a whopping $7/lb. market price; Max Horan, fourth, Senior Market Goat Showmanship, $4/lb. market price; Nickolas Stephen, sixth, Senior Goat Showmanship, $4/lb.
Inside the exhibtition hall, Bella Vegh won third place for largest squash. She also won Best in Class and blue ribbons for her Strawberry Margarita Preserves, Chocolate Raspberry Sauce, and Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Filling. Her Strawberry Margarita Preserves also took Division Winner honors. Vegh was also a featured culinary presenter, using 17 pounds of seafood and a 3-ft. pan to demonstrate how to cook paella.