Each year the Porterville Fair Heritage Association offers one Heritage Animal and Scholarship to a high school senior, enrolled in FFA or 4-H, from the Porterville, Strathmore and Lindsay area. Five years ago, the scholarship originated at $500; it now is offered for $1,000.
Students wishing to apply must fill out the application paperwork, submit a minimum of two letters of recommendation, be available for in-person interviews with the committee, and be able to exhibit their personal selection of livestock of a lamb, hog or goat at the Fair, said Cindy Brown, FFA livestock liaison secretary.
“Extra curriculum and community service are important,” she said. And, the students’ Ag instructors must sign off on the paperwork approving the student for application.
The scholarship recipient acts as an ambassador for the Porterville Fair Heritage Association. His/her duties include representing the Porterville Fair Heritage Association at the pre-fair Chamber of Commerce Mixer, and showcasing the Heritage animal at the Heritage VIP Lounge social.
The student must also exhibit a second project at the Fair, either livestock or an indoor project, and, if livestock, may sell that animal at the Jr. Livestock auction.
Through the scholarship, the recipient is allowed to choose, with guidance, an animal of their choice – the Heritage Association pays for the animal, within reasonable market range, all feed and expenses. The student must care for the animal and exhibit it at the fair – not against other livestock, but rather in a class of its own to display the animal to the best of the student’s ability, Brown said. The scholarship animal is to be shown only at the Porterville Fair.
That animal will then be auctioned off at noon, during the Jr. Livestock auction, most often bringing a price around $20,000 or more, Brown said. Last year’s hog, shown by scholarship winner Amanda Farquharson, brought in $28,000, she added.
This year the scholarship was awarded to Strathmore senior Tanner Nuckols who also intends to purchase a hog as his project. He plans on showing two other hogs at the fair, as well.
The scholarship program was begun as a fundraiser for the Fair and the Heritage Association. During the past five years, the program has brought in $100,000 or more total with minimal outlay for the animal and its care, Brown said.
The recipient can utilize the scholarship toward any two or four-year college, university or technology school, but must show proof of registration or transcripts before receiving the monetary reward. Nuckols plans on attending College of the Sequoias with a major in agriculture in the fall of 2018.