I am sitting here on the couch writing this post just thankful to be home.
You see...the last couple of weeks have been very full.
With both boys off to church camp and then heading straight to the county fair, we were all pretty exhausted. Then, after leaving the Knox County Fair, we unpacked, cleaned up and re-packed for the Ohio State Fair.
By the time we moved in to the Ohio State Fair we were just in auto pilot mode. However, we did actually get to sleep in until 6:00 a.m. a few days.
But...we pushed through and it was well worth it.
A few cat naps were needed to get through the days.
Early Sunday morning we headed down to Columbus to watch some friends show in the breed shows. It was a beautiful day and we roamed the fairgrounds between shows taking in all the sights and sounds of the fair.
Monday was move-in and check-in day.
We had a few minutes to just relax and catch up with friends and get to know some of the new exhibitors.
There was about a 40% increase in entries this year and we even had two families from Kentucky. We are so excited to see the growth of this show.
Monday night was the informal junior show.
We had 15 youth in the show. Still not enough to have a junior show sanctioned with the Ohio State Fair, but we are o.k. with that. Right now, we have the liberty to be a little more relaxed and just have fun with the show.
We still would love to get to that 20 number to become sanctioned, but we will patiently wait for now.
The goal of the junior show is to give the kids and cows a little more experience, but most importantly to just have fun.
Isaac and Walker both won 1st in their classes.
The junior show was a test of wills. It was dinner time and most of the cows were extremely cantankerous. The kids fought hard! There were lots of emotions and frustrations on their faces, but no one gave up. It was a good trial run. By the open show on Tuesday morning, most of the kids and cows had calmed down and things went much smoother.
Right before the junior show started, the judge came up to us and asked if we wanted her to judge showmanship classes. We had been toying with the idea of adding showmanship for next year, but just hadn't worked out all the logistics yet. We are so glad the judge suggested this. We scrambled to put kids in their respective age brackets and just made it happen.
Some of these juniors have never shown before and many of them have never participated in a showmanship class before.
Above is the senior showmanship class.
Walker competed in the intermediate division.
The judge gave pointers to each of the participants over the microphone. Adults and kids alike soaked up the tips and pointers. Everyone was talking about how much they learned by watching the showmanship competition. Some even videoed the classes so they could go home and learn from others and improve their skills.
Isaac and Walker each won their showmanship classes. They are true showmen, but they have had lots and lots of practice. I remember some of those early days and the many things they struggled with. With each trip to the show ring they would work on one little piece of the puzzle, master that and then move on to another skill.
They still have things they are working and improving on. They both love showmanship. While they love winning buckles in the cattle classes, the showmanship plaques hanging on the wall are what really makes them proud.
It was a good night. Everyone had fun, learned a lot and went home with some great gifts and prizes.
Nick joined us on Tuesday morning to help with the fitting and to show Apollo.
It was time for the open show.
Walker and Jewel's last rodeo.
Jewel has been sold for a while, but the new owner agreed to let us show her through State Fair.
It was a good thing none of us realized this was their last show until after the show.
Jewel and Walker have a special bond. Walker is notorious for dropping the lead while in a show class...because his hand gets tired. Jewel just stands there and doesn't move. It isn't very often that Walker gels with a cow the way he has with Jewel.
This was my favorite class of the entire day with 11 cows in the class. There was a lot of quality and the judge took her time sorting them. It is rare to get to show in such a large class with so many other Miniature Herefords.
We were down to the top 4 and Isaac and Ribbon were still waiting to be placed. It was about then that my nerves took over.
Where would they be placed?
The judge kept sorting...and Ribbon took the top spot.
What an honor and relief!
They went back for the final drive and Ribbon was named 3rd overall heifer.
A great way to end the heifer show!
Nick showed Apollo in the bull show. They placed second in their class.
And went on to receive the Reserve Grand Champion handshake.
The last class of the day was the pair of females. Ribbon and Jewel, both out of our bull 4 Wiley Mountain Mitchell, took the top spot as champion pair of females.
It wasn't until looking at these pictures that I realized how similar these two look. Just look at their markings.
I knew there was a reason I had a hard time telling them apart.
Throughout the open show, points are assigned based on the placings in the class. At the end of the show, the exhibitor and breeder with the most points is announced.
Daniel is accepting the Premier Breeder award. This means that 4 Wiley Farm accumulated the most points for the animals we bred.
This is a huge honor!
It means we might just be doing something right in our breeding program. Each cow may not be at the top of the class, but overall, we have a pretty good line up of cattle.
We may have only shown 3 animals this year, much less than the 7 head from last year, but it's not always about quantity.
I really didn't want to go to the Ohio State Fair this year.
I was physically and mentally exhausted and just wanted to relax. July is rough for us and I always want to give up before it is over. No matter how hard we try to make it easier on ourselves...it never works.
But, we had great sponsors and supporters for this show. They make the Miniature Hereford show at the Ohio State Fair into the great event that it is.
So...I just rolled out of bed at the crack of another dawn and pushed through.
It was worth it.
Now, don't get me wrong...the best part of the week for me was closing the door on the loaded trailer and heading North toward home.
The show season is over for us. Jewel is at her new home, Apollo is hanging out waiting to be delivered to his new home, and Ribbon is enjoying some pasture time before we have to get her ready for Louisville. But, we couldn't have asked for a better way to end the summer.
We are done until November and I am sure the cows are as ready for the break as we are.
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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.