Last week we attended the Knox County Fair. Isaac and Walker each took a market beef feeder and a Miniature Hereford heifer.
Fair week is always busy and exhausting. The last several years have been so hot, that we spend most of our energy just trying to keep people and animals from having heat strokes. Fortunately, the weather this year was much more mild and comfortable.
We woke up last Saturday morning to the pound of rain on the roof and the weather warning radio going off. There were severe thunderstorm warnings and even some tornado warnings in the area. It wasn't until the 60 mph wind and hail warning came across that Daniel bounded out of bed. The truck and trailer were all hooked up to haul animals in to the fair. He ran up to the barn to unhook the truck and put it in the barn.
He got the truck unhooked and backed into the barn, but not before the deluge of rain began. By the time he made it back to the house, he was dripping all over the floor, but he still had a smile on his face, It was going to be the start of an interesting day.
Our vet told us later in the day that when check-in started at 6:00 a.m., there were about 50 trailers in line waiting for their vet checks. Everyone was up early trying to beat the storm. They didn't quite make it and the vets got drenched.
About mid morning, there was a break in the rain showers, so Daniel and the boys headed in to the fair to unload animals.
The rest of the day was off and on rain showers. It wasn't too much of an inconvenience. We just stayed in the barn until the showers passed.
Sunday evening, I was taking a break and reading my book. Suddenly, above the roar of the fans, I heard and even louder roar.
The skies had opened up and it poured so hard that you couldn't even see the next barn. The intense rain probably lasted for an hour.
Our fairgrounds is very hilly. It was a blessing because the water ran off very quickly, but also a curse because much of the water pooled at the bottoms of the hills.
Sidewalks became rivers.
Our grooming chutes were under water and many had it worse than us.
Thankfully, by morning, all the standing water was gone and we were just left with some isolated mud holes.
Each day we had a pretty simple routine. Everyone got a bath each morning.
Daily ring practice before the other animal shows started.
He wanted Dad to hold his cow so that he could see what she looked like from the judges perspective.
What a face!
Isaac decided to try something new this year by showing a heifer instead of steer in the feeder class.
The boys show beef feeders and then sell them in the auction. We have decided that our focus needs to remain on the Miniature Herefords and not on feeding out full-sized animals. The beef feeder gives them something to sell to earn money to buy their own Miniature Herefords.
Isaac really, really wanted to keep this heifer and show her in the BEST this winter. We talked, debated, decided, re-bated and doubted ourselves, but in the end we stood firm and stuck by the decision that he needed to sell her in the auction.
He was on a mission to find a good home for her. By the end of the week he had found several families that were very interested in buying her to show and add to their breeding programs. Three of those girls above are now the proud owners of Dixie.
Sale day is always nerve racking and uncertain, but he ended the day with a smile a mile wide knowing that his beloved heifer found a wonderful home...and he gets to visit her often.
Tuesday night was the big show. The beef feeder show was first followed by the market steer show.
The number of beef animals at the Knox County Fair has really grown in the last several years. I think there were about 24 beef feeders and over 60 market steers.
The multipurpose building was standing room only. It was great to see so many people come from all over the state to watch the show and support the kids.
Isaac and Walker ended up in the same weight class.
Isaac won the class.
Walker's steer would not cooperate.
He had always done fine at home and in all the ring practices. I don't know if it was so many people so close to the ring on show night, but he was a handful.
Walker got frustrated.
And he always shows it on his face.
Isaac and Dixie went back in for the final drive and won Grand Champion Beef Feeder.
Last year Walker won Grand Champion and this year it was Isaac's turn.
The judge really liked Dixie and said that she would be a lot of fun to show. She could do well in both the market heifer class or in a cross bred class.
Of course, those comments made Isaac want to keep her even more, but it also made her an even better purchase for someone else.
Walker was also awarded a medal for winning skillathon for the 11 year old age group.
Skillathon is a quiz completed at 4-H book judging that tests the kids knowledge of their project species.
Wednesday started with showmanship classes.
Isaac showed in the intermediate division.
The judge was so good with the kids. He was very easy going and joked and smiled with them. At one point the judge even had Isaac and Walker telling on each other.
Isaac had a good opportunity to tell him all about Miniature Herefords and why we have them.
The intermediate division was tough!
Every kid in the final round shows in the BEST. It is a testament to how much our kids have learned and grown from the program.
We didn't know who the judge was going to choose.
The judge kept shaking his head because he didn't know who to choose.
He finally said that it just came down to preference. He liked Cassie's posture better.
Isaac came in second, but he couldn't have been happier to lose to a better competitor.
Walker showed in junior showmanship.
Charity did not have a stop button. At all!
After his very visible frustration the night before, we had lots and lots of pep talks with Walker.
It must have worked because he kept fighting and didn't get frustrated...much.
The judge said that sometimes the two just weren't communicating very well.
Walker was happy with his 3rd place finish.
We had a break during dairy steer showmanship to fit the heifers for the breed classes.
And enough time to really take a break.
Isaac showed Amber and was 2nd in his class.
Charity was still cantankerous, but a little bit more well behaved for the breed class.
She won her class.
Look at that...two minis in the Other Breeds final drive!
Charity went on to win Reserve Champion Other Breeds.
Thursday was sale day.
I always feel weird taking pictures on this last day...so I didn't.
Our day ended with huge smiles.
The sale went well and both feeders went to great homes where the cows will continue to be shown.
Thank you Small and Tarbert families for buying the feeders!
We will be watching and cheering for you this year!
Fair week is always a mix of hard work, strong emotions, great memories and lasting friendships.
There are so many character building opportunities and you always leave a changed person.
At times, we wonder why we do this. When you look at the pictures and the smiles on faces, you realize that these are priceless days.
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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.