Anna Ballenger wins scholarship at local Dairy Show

Photo+By+Victoria+Gregory+Photography

Victoria Gregory Photography

Photo By Victoria Gregory Photography

Tiffany McCune

At this year’s Southside Dairy Association Dairy Show, senior Anna Ballenger brought home a scholarship due to her dedication and hard work. This is Ballenger’s 6th year participating and competing in the SDA Dairy Show.

Dairy shows and livestock shows are different in that after a livestock show the animals are sold to be slaughtered. Following the dairy show, animals are returned to farms where they are bred to be milked.

“I couldn’t work with an animal and have that attachment and then see it go to slaughter,” Ballenger said. It is no surprise that Ballenger desires to pursue veterinary medicine in order to continue her love and commitment to animals.

Ballenger put in a lot of time to prepare for dairy show traveling to the Witching Hour Farm in Gretna every day. She also completed a scholarship application and submitted an essay in order to receive the $250 scholarship. Ballenger was one of the two recipients at the SDA Dairy Show.

Anna Ballenger won a lot of awards while competing in the Dairy Show. Her first animal was a heifer named Ivory, who won first place in the winter calf type class division. Her other heifer, Vera, won forth for fall calf type class and Dahlia got 3rd place for unfresh junior two year old type class. Her last cow named Carson came in first for junior two year old cow type class.

The largest awards Ballenger received were Reserve Champion for both Senior Showmanship and Supreme Showmanship.

She went to the first Dairy Show and while she was there her farm sponsors saw how dedicated she was to the animals, so they invited her to the second larger show. The second show occurred in Harrisonburg, VA this past weekend.

After all of her years of participating in the Dairy Show, she has decided to take the career path in veterinary medicine. She originally decided that she wanted to be a vet in the 2nd grade after seeing a hurt dog behind her house. She wanted to save the dog, but it was too late because before she knew it the dog had ran into the woods. She explains that situation was the defining moment for her career path.

She wants to begin her college career by going to DCC and get all of her prerequisites out of the way. After she graduates, she plans on transferring to Virginia Tech, where she will take classes to become a doctor of veterinary medicine. She is planning on being a mixed practice between small and large animal because in Pittsylvania County there is a need for both.

Outside of the dairy shows, Ballenger has many animals of her own such as, two cats named Bethany and Mister Meister and one dog named Cookie. She enjoys all of her animals and she has even sutured her dog’s foot when she injured it during quarantine. “We were out for a run and she got on this big rock and opened her leg up,” Ballenger explained. Due to the pandemic being at its peak veterinary offices were closed, causing Ballenger to put her veterinary skills to the test, “there was no scar,” she added.

She goes to the Shady Knoll Stables in Danville, Va, where she has learned a lot of great tips on animal care. At the stables, she met her mentor and Tunstall science teacher, Miss. Amanda Brown who she looks up to in many situations.

“She showed me how to interact with the animals. She has taught me things about veterinary care and nutrition,” Ballenger said.

Anna Ballenger has loved animals her entire life and she wants to extend that love and passion in to a successful career. She has had a lot of life experiences that got her to this point in her life whether it was diagnosing a medical issue for a cow or saving her dog’s foot after a morning run.

“ I am really proud of what I have done because it took me so long to get there,” Ballenger said