KING CITY — Monterey County Home Charter School senior Carli Hammond was crowned 2022 Miss Salinas Valley Fair after competing against one other girl in such areas as personality, scholastic ability, poise and horsemanship.
The annual contest took place at the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds in King City on April 8.
Hammond, an 18-year-old from Salinas, was chosen by the judges to represent the fair for this coming year. In addition to being crowned, she was awarded a $2,000 scholarship, a sterling silver belt buckle and other prizes donated by local businesses.
From a young age, Hammond loved horses and wanted nothing more than a horse of her own. Her mother signed her up for lessons with Cecelia Coulson, and from there she was hooked. She has continued to ride for the past 13 years with Coulson, whom she credits for all her horsemanship skills.
As Hammond’s skills continued to advance, she purchased her horse, Vegas, with the money she earned from selling her livestock at the Salinas Valley Fair. She has continued to work hard to finish her horse’s training.
“Carli hopes to see her hard work pay off and can’t wait to see how her and Vegas’ future turn out,” said Lauren Hamilton, Salinas Valley Fair interim CEO.
Growing up in the Salinas Valley has piqued Hammond’s interest in the livestock industry. At age 11, she joined Spring 4-H and has raised hogs, goats and steers. Hammond said she enjoys spending her free time with her livestock and “making sure that they are in good care.”
During her time in Spring 4-H, Hammond has held multiple officer positions, her favorite of which was president because she felt that it gave her “leadership skills, confidence” and helped her to be “more outgoing.” Other positions she has held are treasurer, attendance secretary and sergeant at arms.
Hammond is currently serving as the treasurer again this year for her club.
“Being a member of 4-H has helped Carli develop important leadership skills and show her the ins and outs of the livestock industry,” Hamilton said.
Next year, Hammond plans on working alongside her mom in agricultural sales. In the fall of 2024, she plans to move to Boise, Idaho, and enroll in Paul Mitchell Cosmetology School.
While Hammond loves the community she was raised in, she wants to branch out and experience new places. She said she is “forever thankful and indebted to the Salinas Valley” and those that she has met here.
Hammond looks forward to the Salinas Valley Fair each year because she gets to see all her friends from different counties and even make new friends. The fair is where she has made her “most fond memories,” Hammond said, and fair week is her favorite time of year.
“Most importantly, she is always excited to exhibit her livestock and see how her hard work pays off,” Hamilton said.
This year Hammond is exhibiting a purebred, black angus steer, named Harry. She said she has worked really hard with this steer, especially being that this is her last Salinas Valley Fair.
Hammond hopes to make this her “most memorable and special fair experience.”
The 2022 Salinas Valley Fair is set for May 12-15 at the fairgrounds in King City.