Farm Horizons, August 2008

County fairs are a family affair

Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

County fairs just wouldn’t be the same without cows, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, horses and rabbits. However, it takes a lot of work throughout the year to raise and prepare these livestock to be shown at the fair by the local 4-H members.

Local and state fairs give 4-H’ers the opportunity to show off animals they work so hard to raise and as well as connecting with others who share similar interests.

Rebecca Groos from Howard Lake comes from a family who has a 160-acre-registered-Holstein-farm and is very active in the fair. Each year they participate and show a number of animals.

Last year, Groos, following the Wright County Fair, went on and took fourth place with her winter senior yearling and also won intermediate division showmanship competing against 89 other kids.

“It’s a great achievement,” she said.

This year, Groos is trying for another title with her one-and-a-half year old Minkota Holstein, Martina.

The animals are registered 15 hours before the show, which in Groos’s case was early Wednesday afternoon.

To prepare Martina, Groos groomed her, which included clipping and washing. Groos’s cow will be judged on her size, feet, legs, and how “dairy” she is.

Showing her animals is what Groos likes the most as well as meeting people who share the same interests as her.

“It’s made me more outgoing and sociable,” Groos said.

Groos’ 13-year-old brother, Ethan, also shows livestock and has since he was just 3 years old.

At first, Ethan would show his cows. Then, at age 7, he began showing sows, which he likes the best thus far.

This year at the fair, Ethan showed four swines including a Poland China, a crossbred, and two “blue butts.”

“They are unique animals and are actually fairly clean,” he said.

Ethan began preparing for the fair in May by purchasing the swines as feeder pigs at three months old.

Pigs have a strong comparison to dogs, he said, explaining he walks them around to get them comfortable for showing and makes friends with them.

At this year’s Wright County Fair, Ethan didn’t go away empty-handed either, winning champion crossbred, champion registered Holstein, reserved champion overall for his cow, and reserved champion intermediate showmanship with swine. He will be taking his barrow to state, as well.

The Davis brothers of Cokato joined 4-H when they each were in kindergarten and have been very active at the Wright County Fair ever since.

Each day during the fair, the brothers are working constantly to make sure their cows are ready for showing and for presentation to the public.

Brothers Austin, 14, Kevin, 20, Darin, 18, and Brad, 23, all been show prized cows from their family farm in Chanlore southwest of Cokato, where they have 230 milking cows.

This year Darin won grand champion of the 4-H Dairy Show with his 5-year-old Holstein cow.

Austin won the showmanship in the intermediate division for 4-H.

They will be attending the Minnesota State Fair 4-H, Darin entering his five-year-old Holstein and Austin entering his winter calf.

The brothers like working at the fair because it is “fun.” More specifically, Darin enjoys showing off what good cattle they have raised and Kevin likes getting to spend five days at the fair.

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