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Friends - and turkeys- to represent crash victim at fair

Friends of Brad Schlimmer show birds he started to raise
By: Patty McAlpin
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Del Oro High School FFA member Brad Schlimmer won’t be making his first appearance at the Placer County Fair, but his turkeys and friends will be there to represent him. In March, the 17-year-old was killed in a solo vehicle accident on Pacific Street in Rocklin, just three weeks after he started raising turkeys to enter in the fair. Days later, Dakota Montagne, another member of FFA Chapter 139, offered to raise Brad’s two turkeys along with her own hog, Tulip, and auction them during this weekend’s fair. Dakota, 15, said she felt the overwhelming need to do something for the young man who befriended her during her freshman year at Del Oro. “I had a class with him. I was sitting by myself. He came up to me and introduced himself,” Dakota said. “He just had that personality. He introduced me to people. That’s how I met most of my friends.” The decision to raise Brad’s two broad-breasted white male turkeys evolved during a conversation with her mom as they drove to Lincoln, two days after the accident that ended her friend’s life. “When Dakota told me she wanted to finish raising them, I told her Brad would really like that,” Wendy Schlimmer, Brad’s mother, said. “The project meant a lot to him.” Schlimmer said her son, an avid hunter, had planned to buy the turkeys himself and use them to repopulate the family’s five-acre property, in Loomis near the Penryn border. Schlimmer credits her brother with introducing Brad to farm life. On the night he was killed, Wendy Schlimmer continued, Brad was on his way to Rocklin to buy a pair of dress pants to wear the following day. He had been asked to serve as a judge for an FFA contest in Davis. In the days following his death, she continued, a group of high school students showed up at her front door to tell her how much Brad had meant to them. One of them shared a story similar to Dakota’s about how Brad had gone out of his way to offer his friendship. Before Brad’s turkey is auctioned, Dakota and other FFA members plan on giving a short presentation about their friend. They are asking Brad’s parents to sit up front during the auction. One of the turkeys will be auctioned by the FFA chapter with proceeds going to his family. The other will be for the family’s freezer. Tables will also be set up at the show ring where donations of “add-ons” can be made. An “add-on” is an additional amount above and beyond the purchase price. “This was the hardest thing on everybody,” FFA teacher Regina Dvorak said of Sunday’s auction. “This is a way of getting through that.” In addition to donating the proceeds from the auction to Brad’s family, the students will be presenting them with a handmade quilt with squares featuring Brad’s favorite things as well as a pillow. “Brad didn’t get his FFA jacket so we made it into a pillow,” Dakota said. Brad’s mom said she is overwhelmed by the generosity and outpouring of love from the community, especially the kids. “I feel so blessed and I am in awe,” she said. “I wish I could convey to everyone how thankful and grateful I am. There aren’t enough words.” PLACER COUNTY FAIR When: Noon to 11 p.m. Thursday and Sunday; noon to midnight Friday and Saturday. Exhibits close 10 p.m. nightly Where: Placer County Fairgrounds, 800 All-American City Blvd., Roseville Cost: Free before 3 p.m.; after 3 p.m., adults, age 13 and older, $4; children, ages 6 to 12, and seniors, age 60 and older, $2. Parking is $6. Information: 786-2023 or visit placercountyfair.org .