Cutter Higgins wins three Grand Championships at county fair

Cutter Higgins rounds up his turkeys for the judge, David Stark, at the county fair. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Cutter Higgins rounds up his turkeys for the judge, David Stark, at the county fair.

When the Cortez Journal checked in with Cutter Higgins on July 28, the 9-year-old 4-H club member was preparing for a busy week at the Montezuma County Fair.

Three days later, on July 31, Cutter had made his mark on Cortez’s annual event thanks to his rockets and his turkeys.

Below is a recap of Higgins’ fair week so far.

July 29: Wash day

For 9-year-old 4-H’er Cutter Higgins, July 29 was a busy day.

In addition to putting the finishing touches on his three rockets, Cutter tackled the unenviable task of washing his market turkeys.

Prior to the washing, Cutter weighed each of his eight birds and selected his three finest to show at the fair.

Much to Cutter’ disappointment, his largest and favorite turkey, named Spinosaurus, didn’t make the cut because it exceeded the maximum show weight of 40 pounds.

After selecting his three birds, Cutter, with the help of his father, Heath, loaded his three turkeys into a bucket of warm, soapy water.

Armed with a large rag, Cutter scrubbed each bird in turn, removing dirt and grime from their feathers, feet and skin.

Cutter then sank the birds into a second bucket containing water and Mrs. Stewart’s Liquid Bluing, a solution designed to whiten the feathers.

Each bird was then dried and placed on a patch of green grass. Higgins said that he hoped his birds would remain on the green grass and stay clean.

This evening, the turkeys will be housed in a horse trailer behind the house.

“They can get a view of the night sky and see the stars,” Cutter said.

July 30: Launch day

When it comes to winning Grand Champion ribbons, 9-year-old 4-H’er Cutter Higgins has a knack.

Competing in rocketry on July 30, Cutter was named Grand Champion in the launch category after his rocket landed closer to its launch site than any competing rocket.

Cutter built two rockets for this year’s fair, including a small military rocket and a larger white rocket.

“The rocket launches went really good,” Cutter said.

In all, Cutter completed two launches at Parque de Vida before traveling to the Montezuma County Fairgrounds to put his rockets on display.

As for Cutter’s turkeys, the birds arrived at the fairgrounds on the morning of July 30 and are currently housed in a pen near other turkeys and chickens.

Appearing clean and pearl-white thanks to their recent washing, Cutter’s birds stood out because of their large size. According to Cutter, birds aren’t judged solely on size, so a Grand Championship is far from guaranteed.

Even so, Cutter said that he expects his turkeys to place well.

With poultry judging set to begin at 10 a.m. July 31, Cutter spent the rest of July 30 exploring the fair’s many exhibits and checking out the water park before spending the evening in a travel trailer parked at the fairgrounds.

July 31: Judgment day

Waking up on July 31, Cutter knew that he was in for an exciting day.

Dressed in a button-down shirt, jeans and a cowboy hat, Cutter began the morning by feeding and watering his turkeys.

Not long after, the young 4-H club member walked to the poultry barn, stood near his turkey pen and waited for judging to begin.

At about 10 a.m., poultry judge David Stark arrived at the pen and immediately complimented Cutter on the size of his birds.

While examining each of Cutter’s three birds in turn, Stark asked questions about the birds’ ages, weights and habits.

Since Cutter’s turkeys were the only market turkeys in this year’s fair, Stark declared them Champion and moved on to other pens.

After examining numerous market chickens, Start then walked back to Cutter’s pen and wrote “Grand Champion Market Poultry” on a sign hanging from the pen.

Upon realizing that his turkeys had won overall Grand Champion, Cutter cracked a smile, hugged his father, Heath, and smiled again.

“This is the second year in a row that I’ve won,” said an excited Cutter.

After following Stark around to numerous pens, Cutter participated in the showmanship portion of the turkey event and answered more questions about his birds.

Eventually, Cutter returned his turkeys to their pens and progressed to the water park, where he planned to make use of his four-day pass.

“The water park is fun,” he said. “Everything is great, but the big slide kind of hurts.”

Next up for Cutter will be the livestock sale, which will take place Aug. 2. After earning $1,500 at last year’s sale, Cutter said he is excited for this year’s event.

For information on the sale of Cutter’s birds, be sure to check www.cortezjournal.com and www.facebook.com/cortezjournal.

Cutter Higgins prepares to hang his grand champion ribbon on the cage for his market turkeys. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Cutter Higgins prepares to hang his grand champion ribbon on the cage for his market turkeys.