Friday, August 1, 2014

Memories in the making

     The time has come. All the preparations and hard work will be put on display for everyone to see. People will walk through the barns and think; look at how clean and calm those pigs are, those cows look so fluffy and even a young child can lead them, and those sheep are so white. It is time for the annual county fair.
      What many fair goers don't realize is the weeks and months of hard work that went into getting the animals and projects ready for this moment in time. Daily chores had to be completed. Hours of grooming and training had to be completed to calm the animals and make them perform and look their best for the competitions. Some may ask why do all this work for a few day fair and a ribbon. My answer is for the life skills learned and the memories.
        Working hard at a project teaches youth the feeling of pride and ownership in a job well done. In the show ring you can see the pride and joy in the 4-Hers faces as they show their animal to the judge. They learn how to work together with other and how to be respectful. Outside of the show ring their is fun times with fellow youth and friendship formed. It is all of this added together that keeps 4-Hers doing the hard work year after year, and what has parents encouraging their children to be part of this great organization.
      I have been busy taking pictures of some of the process for fair preparations. See this previous post here. Now it is down to entry day where we are taking the animals into the fair. Follow me as we go through the steps.
The day started off with clipping the pigs so their hair was shorter. We then washed them in the trailer before taking them into the fair. Sorry on picture of this, it was a bit wet.
      Once the pigs were clean the trailer was packed with all the feed, show supplies, and calves and off to the fair we went.
Once at the fair the kids helped chase the pigs into the pens were they will spend their time at the fair. Oh they look so clean.

Mary made sure that they had plenty of water and were happy in their new home for the next few days. They look happy.

       The calves also were tied into their stalls and given food. Simon gave them a pat to help them know that everything will be OK. The calves were a bit nervous with all the new sounds and activities.
Rose is our little 4-Her in the making had to say hi to Fancy as she took a little nap

It was a big morning and everyone was hungry so a picnic lunch next to the beef barn was in order
       All the animals were put in their places and ready to start the fair. Now it is time for the shows to begin.
Mary "hopped" into the rabbit show to start out the fair. She showed another 4-Hers rabbit in the cloverbud show. When a youth is between K-3rd grade they can participate in shows and projects for experience and get a participation ribbon. Mary is wanting a rabbit badly so we decided that she would watch and learn this year what the project entails.
      Early the next morning it was time for the beef show. Many 4-Hers arrived to the fairground well before the sun came up to feed, wash, and groom the animals. Since our kids are young much of this was done by Dad with the kids help.
           Mary was the first one to show our calf Daisy as a cloverbud. Mary has enjoyed cattle from an early age and looks so confident holding the calf's halter. I can tell she has an amazing future in showing ahead of her.

One last picture before heading into the ring. Mary and her proud Dad.

Mary talking to the judge about her calf. She says he asked her things like; is this animal a heifer or steer, what breed is your animal, what do you feed your animal, what is your animals birthday, and what is the best quality of your animal.

        You might wonder what the stick is for. This is called a show stick and it is used to set the cows feet while showing them. You train the animal to move their feet when the stick is poked between their hooves. For beef they look best if their front and back legs are stretched our just a bit and their feet are even. After the feet are in the right place you use the little hook on the end of the stick to rub/itch their stomach. This calms the animal.
As a cloverbud an adult need to be also holding the halter in the show ring. Paul reported that he didn't have to do much because Mary was doing so well.

Not everything about showing an animal is glamorous and flashy. There is some dirty work that has to be taken care of.

Paul is working on getting the next calf ready and showing David how it is done.

Mary and Simon have a moment with Rodeo (whom we should rename because she is sweet now) before Simon goes into the show ring.

  • Some last minute advice from Dad

Simon is in the show ring and looking good. This is his first year showing a calf without help. He did an awesome job.

     It was a good beef show. Simon got one blue ribbon and one purple ribbon. But even better than the ribbons or placings was the sense of accomplishment that Simon felt after showing a calf all by himself. We are all so proud of him.
      Once the show is done there is still more work to be done. The calves needed to be washed again to get all the styling product out of their fur then combed and blow dried. After they are fed and made comfortable then we can take a rest, but not for to long because the hog show is in a few hours.

       Since our pig were so nicely cleaned prior to getting to the fair we only had to wash the dirty spots and feed them prior to the show. Then it was time to sit back and wait for the show to start.      
Due to busy day of shows the hog show had to be pushed back a few hours until the show ring was available. The kids played with water and sat and relaxed.

            Mary was the first one to show again in the cloverbud show. This time her grandma helped her out in the ring. Mary showed Fancy who was her favorite pig this year. Mary has had lots of practice walking Fancy around the yard and it showed in the ring. Mary looked confident and in control.

       Then it was Simon's turn to show. He did a fine job and practiced keeping his eye on the judge, keeping the pig between him and the judge, and keeping the pig moving. Pigs look best if they are walking and the goal is to keep your pig about 15ft in front of the judge walking back and forth. Simon has many years to perfect this skill but he sure has a good start in the art of pig showing.

      By the time the show was done Simon had been in the show ring 6 times and gotten some nice placing. Due to the late start the show didn't finish until 11:30 at night. Simon did look tired in the ring at times and it had been a long day but he kept going and gave it his best. Great job Simon. You are getting so big.
Here he is holding his ribbons looking a bit tired but proud.
           The shows are now done and the hard work payed off. The kids had fun showing their animals and looked confident in the show ring. Now we get to enjoy the rest of the fair and start looking forward to next year.


  1. Yay! Simon did look confident in the ring! Looking at these pictures make me hope and pray my kids get to have the same experience.

  2. 4-H and the county fair will always hold a special place in my heart! It looks like your kids love it as much as I did. Congrats to them and their accomplishments!