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Fairs are about showing, socializing and scrubbing

By Janet Kubat Willette

Date Modified: 07/30/2013 10:56 AM

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FARIBAULT, Minn. — It was so hot on July 17 that the 4-H Beef Show at the Rice County Fair was a no-fit show.

The Stepka family was going to do they could with brush and blower and call it good.

They were giving final baths to a black Angus and a Red Angus steer about about an hour before the show.

The steers, both born in June 2012, belonged to Taylor, 10, and Mackenzie, 7. Helping wash and ready the steers were their siblings Anthony and Kim. Kim was celebrating her birthday at the fair, which she's done for years.

The fair weather is also normally anything but fair: It's hot.

Over in the dairy barn, the Warsaw Willing Workers 4-H club members were doing what they could to keep their cattle cool.

In order to do that, they keep their cattle as clean as possible, said Kelsey Kuball, 11.

They make sure the cattle have plenty to drink, either bringing a bucket of water to them or taking the animal out for exercise and water, said Emma Kuball, 9.

The Rice County ADA and AgStar helped, too, by funding the purchase of about a dozen mounted fans that were circulating the air inside the barn.

The 4-H'ers seemed to be enjoying themselves at the fair, playing cards atop a show box while keeping a close eye on their cattle.

Jacy Saemrow, 8, said she likes taking care of her cattle at the fair.

Jacy and her brother, Jobb, had 10 dairy animals at the fair. The Kuball children, Kelsey, Emma and Keegan, had one apiece.

Over in the sheep barn, 11-year-old Nick Flom had just won beginner showmanship.

Flom, of Faribault, earned several additional awards at the 4-H sheep show: Champion Market Ewe, Champion Lamb Lead and Champion Speckle Face Market Ewe.

He showed four sheep at the fair, two born in January and two born in February.

He starts working with them when they are two to three months old and enjoys watching their progress as they gain weight and add muscle.

His favorite part of the fair is the food.

He spends a lot of time at the fair, coming in the morning to do chores and staying as late as 9 p.m. some nights to watch his sheep and keep them clean.