We spent ten straight days at the fair. First at the Knox County Fair and then we moved straight into the Ohio State Fair.
Did we eat a lot of fair food? Yes...but not as much as you would think. After this many years, the lure of the fair food just doesn't have as much appeal as it used to. We each usually have at least one splurge, but this year I think my only splurge was ice cream.
Walker and Isaac have always loved showing at the fairs, but the last several years, the real draw of the fair is time with their friends.
This was Isaac's first year not to be a participant, but he made sure to come home to join in on some of the fun.
Too say we were all exhausted at the end of those 10 days is an understatement. Colt is even too tired to eat...but he only spent 2 days at the fair.
Only a small fraction of time at fair is spent in the show ring, but there is a whole lot of behind the scenes action going on.
I don't have many pictures of all the fun with friends, because Isaac and Walker spent each night up in the campground with family and friends while Mom and Dad went home to do chores and get a good nights sleep.
Each morning, Walker was up at daylight to get a spot in the wash stall for Brutus and Lucy.
After morning fair chores were done, he would head home to do chores at the farm and then get a shower before heading back to the fair.
Morning chores even included bottle feeding the new calf that was born in the middle of the night. He needed to make sure the calf was nursing, but momma wasn't cooperating and he needed to get back to the fair. He didn't have time to mess around, so he just milked momma and bottle fed the calf with the colostrum. It worked and by that night, the calf had figured out the whole nursing thing.
Just a note...plan your calving schedule better than us and don't have calves during fair week. We had three.
Show day finally arrived. Walker was so excited to show a full-sized steer for the first time. He had so many early mornings and late nights with Brutus for this one night.
It was show time!
Walker did let dad help him fit...but you notice he made him do the non-show side.
Walker also spent some time with a Cloverbud in his club that was showing in the pee wee class. He helped Ruby walk Brutus several evenings, gave her some show pointers and then was right there in the ring with her for the show.
It was good experience for Ruby, but it was great mentoring experience for Walker.
He secretly loved it.
So why all the early mornings and late nights?
Yes, he wanted to win, but the real prize at fair is the sale price of your animal. The money from the sale is what funds next year's project and hopefully a little left over for the college fund.
The community really came together this year and Walker walked away with a nice check...and an extra nice boost to that college fund.
Papa always comes out for sale day. He may be 92, but he still comes to support his boys...as long as they come pick him up with the Ranger and drop him at the door of the sale barn.
They don't have any problems chauffeuring...sale day just wouldn't be the same without Papa in the stands.
Sale day is always busy with keeping track of where things are in the line-up, especially since there are two sale barns. I went to check on Walker and found him down in the pig barn scrolling through the sale bill.
You see...the last two years, several of the kids have pooled their money to buy projects for some of the other kids that just aren't getting many bids. This is a lot coming from high school and college kids own pockets. This year their pooled money purchased a pig, two goats and added on to several other bids.
There has been no parent involvement in these plans, but sure makes us parents proud that our kids are already giving back to their community.
Once the sale was over and we moved our tack out of county fair, we then moved in to state fair. The boys still went back to the county fair each night for the evenings entertainment and camping out, but our sights were set on the shows in Columbus.
So how did Walker do at the fairs?
It was a very good year for him.
Knox County Fair:
5th place overall with his steer, Brutus
Reserve Senior Showman
Ohio State Fair:
Champion Senior Showman
Grand Champion Junior Heifer with Lucy
Grand Champion Bull with Colt
Grand Champion Heifer with Lucy
Walker has one more year of 4-H left and the county fair chapter of our lives will be coming to a close. It amazes me how quickly this time has gone by. They have learned so much and made so many friends at the county fair. Watching Isaac come back without an animal, you realize what an integral part of their lives this week is.
We do not have any plans to leave showing at the Ohio State Fair behind. We have many memories at the summer fairs, including our first trip with a stroller when Isaac was just two weeks old. Times sure have changed since then, but each year brings new memories and we look forward to making memories in the years to come...even if those memories may take on a different form.
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.