Bannister sisters take top spots at State Fair

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 September 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Emily Bannister, left, and her sister Jayne are pictured with their Angus cattle that took the top two spots at the State Fair last Wednesday in Syracuse. Emily’s heifer, “Proven Queen 2056,” also was named the Supreme Champion for all female winners from the county fairs in the state.

POINT BREEZE –  The Bannister sisters, Emily and Jayne, pulled off an impressive feat at the State Fair on Wednesday, winning the top two spots in the Open Angus Show.

Emily, 20, was named grand champion with her heifer, “Proven Queen 2056.” That’s big news in the beef community. It’s even bigger news because Emily’s sister Jayne, 16, won reserve champion with “QVS Georgina.”

There were about 70 entries in the competition that featured some of the top Angus in the state, as well as animals from outside New York including Canada.

“There’s a lot of quality animals at the State Fair,” said Emily, who graduated from Cobleskill State College in May with an associate’s degree in animal science. She has a concentration in beef and livestock.

She has returned home to work with her father Roger on the family farm, Excelsior Farms, a beef and fruit farm along Route 98 in Point Breeze.

The two girls have both been showing animals since they were little kids at the Orleans County 4-H Fair. They started competing at state and national events in 2011.

They have learned from the competitions and an Angus community where they say people help each other, sharing tips to improve the quality of their animals.

Emily Bannister, 20, holds the trophies she won at the State Fair last week – Supreme Champion Female and Grand Champion Angus.

Emily’s 1,100-pound heifer features many desirable traits, such as a long and straight back, wide shoulders and ribs, and other qualities that can be passed along with breeding.

Emily and Jayne have both won the grand master showman award at the Orleans County 4-H Fair. Emily aged out of 4-H after last year and couldn’t show at the fair in Knowlesville this year.

She entered the open class event in Genesee County in July and her heifer was named best female among all breeds. That earned her a trip to the State Fair, representing Genesee County. Jayne won the Orleans Fair and the two were part of a prestigious show last Tuesday, featuring 33 of the county champs around the state.

Jayne and “QVS Georgina” advanced in the early rounds before being knocked out. But Emily and  “Proven Queen 2056” kept advancing. A panel of six judges would ultimately declare Emily and Proven Queen the grand champions.

“I was so excited for her and for our farm to see our stock perform so well at the State Fair,” Jayne said.

The two sisters spend hours in the barn working together with the animals. They admitted there is a sibling rivalry between the two for the most ribbons and top awards.

“There is always a friendly competition between us for bragging rights,” Emily said.

She said she will be hard-pressed to repeat next year. She looked at her sister and smiled.

“There is a lot of stiff competition,” Emily said.