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By Joe Naiman
Village News Correspondent 

Kooyman receives Don Diego Junior Livestock Auction Scholarship


Last updated 7/20/2018 at 2:15pm

Emily Kooyman photos

FFA member Collin Kooyman shows his lamb, "Jerry Rice," at the San Diego County Fair.

The San Diego County Fair combined its Don Diego Scholarship program and its Junior Livestock Auction Scholarship Program this year, and the 17 recipients included Collin Kooyman of Fallbrook High School's Future Farmers of America chapter.

Kooyman, who plans to major in communications and attend Palomar College during the 2018-19 school year, received a $1,000 scholarship.

"I was very excited," Kooyman said. "I was very stoked to get it. What a treat."

The scholarship program works with the San Diego County Fair but is a separate organization with 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. Most of the money for the scholarships is from livestock auction buyers who then donated their animals back to the fair for resale with those proceeds being used for scholarships while the rest of the funding is from direct donations. The total scholarship amount varies from year to year depending on the amount of donations.

Applications for the Don Diego Junior Livestock Auction Scholarship are available online and were due in March. The information included the students' extracurricular activities; in addition to Kooyman's Future Farmers of America and Fallbrook 4-H participation, the son of Fallbrook High School junior varsity field hockey coach Emily Kooyman has also worked with the Warriors' field hockey program as a volunteer.

Interviews with the students seeking scholarships were conducted in early May. Kooyman told the interview panel how his experience showing at the county fair has furthered his goals and other aspirations.

Kooyman is a lifelong Fallbrook resident who attended Frazier Elementary School and Potter Junior High School before beginning his Fallbrook High School classes – and his four years in Fallbrook FFA – in 2014. Both of his parents are Fallbrook High School graduates who moved to Fallbrook as children in the 1970s.

His mother was a member of Fallbrook's FFA chapter while his father, Ken, was a member both of Fallbrook 4-H and of Fallbrook FFA. Kooyman's sister Heidi, who graduated from Fallbrook High School in 2002, was in the school's FFA chapter and his sister Kandace, a 2007 Fallbrook High School graduate, was in both 4-H and FFA.

Kooyman, who will turn 18 July 26, was 8 years old when he joined Fallbrook's 4-H chapter and was 9 when he first showed at the San Diego County Fair in 2010. He showed two lambs at the 2010 county fair and showed a steer and a lamb from 2011 to 2017. This year he raised a steer, a lamb, and a pig but showed only the lamb and the pig at the county fair.

Last year he began naming his animals after football players; he called his lamb "Tim Tebow" and his steer "Jimmy Garoppolo." This year he named his 1,005-pound steer "Doug Flutie," his 153-pound lamb "Jerry Rice," and his 275-pound pig "Reggie Bush."

"Reggie Bush" the pig is guided around the ring by owner Collin Kooyman at the fair in Del Mar.

A student receiving a scholarship must enter an animal at the county fair and the animal must place high enough for the fair auction. The requirement to have had an animal in the fair auction is not limited to the current year. Last year Kooyman sold Jimmy Garoppolo, who weighed 1,087 pounds, at the auction. The 2016 auction included a 1,385-pound steer Kooyman raised. Kooyman raised a 1,305-pound steer which sold at the 2015 auction and his steer in the 2014 auction weighed 1,397 pounds.

Although Kooyman had already qualified with regard to the requirement of having an animal sold at auction, he continued that in 2018 when Creekside Veterinary Service purchased Jerry Rice for $7.75 per pound. A youth exhibitor is allowed to sell one animal at auction (an exception is granted if he or she raises multiple animals which receive FFA or 4-H grand champion or reserve champion honors), so Reggie Bush was sold at a barn sale.

In late May, Kooyman received a letter notifying him that he was a recipient of the Don Diego Junior Livestock Auction Scholarship and inviting him to a June 7 awards dinner at the fair.

"I've had a great time raising animals most of my life," Kooyman said.


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