We arrived, sweated, unloaded, sweated, worked hard, sweated, showed, sweated, moved out, sweated and crashed in our air conditioned house. This is the short, sweet and to the point description of the past week at the 2015 Knox County Fair. But, the real story is...
Everyone always asks me what we do all week at the fair. Well...we do a lot and sometimes we do a lot of nothing. The goal as a parent is to do a whole lot of nothing while your responsible and capable children take care of their animals. Some years it works and some years it doesn't. Last year I didn't get one nap. This year, I got one short nap, but had a lot of sitting time.
The boys are still young and learning responsibility. They needed a lot of reminders throughout the week, but overall did a good job of keeping up with their fair chores.
Let me just justify all the parent sitting time. It was hot! And I mean really hot! It was too hot to even walk through the barn. We spent most of our energy moving every 30 minutes to get out of the blazing sun. By Sunday night I had to make an emergency run to the grocery store to buy mores drinks.
It has been rainy all summer and not overly warm. However, fair week came and the weather came to match. We didn't have any storms this year...just a few sprinkles. It was so hot and humid this past week that we were begging for a rain shower so that we could bring out a bar of soap and wash the sweat off of us.
Each morning starts with feeding all the animals. Then they grab a space in the wash stall to rinse the cows. Then it is on to the other end of the barn to blow dry. Thank goodness for Dad's new tent!
One of the biggest challenges of the week is to keep the barn clean. Cows are constantly pooping in the aisles and we certainly don't want the fair-goers stepping in all that muck. The wash rack can get pretty nasty at times also. Walker and his friend Logan are cleaning out the wash rack and making sure that the drain stays clear. It was a really big job that day, but they all pitched in and did a great job at cleaning everything up.
One evening they had a costume contest to raise funds for improvements to the cattle barns. They had several of the Knox County elected officials volunteer to participate.
Annabelle was honored to participate. She was supposed to be dressed up as a bull, but did not like the cow bell that they tied to her, so her costume was a little dull. It was a fun event to be a part of.
Walker was awarded a medallion for winning Skillathon for the 9 year old group. Skillathon takes places earlier in the summer when they are getting their 4-H workbooks judged. It is basically an oral quiz over certain subjects relating to their project. The kid that gets the highest score for their age group is the winner. Walker did all the studying on his own this year and we are very proud that he won for the second year in a row.
Tuesday night, Isaac competed in the Market Steer show. Chester didn't place as high in the class as we had hoped, but we were pleased with how his steer finished out these past few months. We always have to remember that it is one man's opinion on one particular day.
Walker competed in the Beef Feeder show and placed third in his class. We were very pleased with that placing.
Wednesday was showmanship. Walker did a great job and won 2nd place in Junior Showmanship. It was really fun to watch all the kids and see their great improvement this year. We show all winter at the OCA BEST shows with many of these kids. It was so special to see how hard they worked all year and then to have everything fall into place at the fair. It was really great competition. I think the best part was how encouraging all the kids were to each other. While they are all competitive, they were so quick to congratulate each other on their successes.
It was so hot this day. Everyone was dripping! The judge was a great judge and really took his time with the kids. However, they spent a lot of time in the show ring and by the end of the day they were all melting. Pictures just don't do justice to the amount of work and sweat that went into each one of these shows. But...the kids did it with great attitudes, pushed through and gave it their all. There wasn't a dry shirt in sight.
Earlier in the day Isaac worked both Rain and Chester trying to decide which cow to use for showmanship. Neither cow wanted to walk. Chester figured out where the exit door was and would run Isaac into the rail instead of turning the corner. We decided that it was better to pull on a 400 pound non-walking cow than a 1300 pound non-walking cow. Besides, it never looks good to be thrown against the rail in a showmanship class. The showmanship judge was really focusing on how the kids set up the feet of the cows. At the last minute, Isaac decided to show Chester for showmanship because he always sets up very well.
Isaac showed like a champ! He won 1st in his class for intermediate showmanship. He exited one side of the show ring and immediately entered the other side for the overall champion of intermediate showmanship. By the time that Isaac went into the ring for the championship round, Chester was done. He absolutely refused to walk and wouldn't even stand on the rail. Isaac himself performed perfectly. He never gave up and just kept fighting and did all that he could the keep Chester on the move. The judge had a really hard time deciding on a winner. In the end, the judge did what he had to do. He placed Isaac in 4th. Isaac was really disappointed, but there was not one thing that he could have done differently. He made the right choice in showing Chester because he did set up perfectly every time...he just wouldn't walk. It was a hard lesson in defeat, but made sale day a whole lot easier.
Every single kid in that ring gave it their all. You could see the exhaustion all over their faces...but they never gave up. I don't think I have ever been prouder of a group of kids. The winners deserved everything they achieved.
Thursday was sale day. Both boys were pleased with their prices and are already looking forward to using their money to purchase another cow. We are still deciding the direction we will go next year...but, this may be the end of the market steers for our family. Stay tuned for more exciting details...
Thank you to the Buyer's Club for purchasing Walker's beef feeder!
Thank you to United Aggregates for purchasing Isaac's market steer!
Both boys handled the sale very well and mom only cried a little bit.
We are now home and enjoying the air conditioning. Please don't make me go back outside for a few days.
Hello! I am Heather... the city girl turned mom to manure loving country boys. My husband and I both grew up in the city, but spent weekends visiting grandparents in the country. We are first generation farmers who learn best by almost always doing things the hard way. I hope you enjoy following along with our adventures down on the farm.