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Kids get livestock ready for showing at Butler County Fair

By Jean Caspers-Simmet

Date Modified: 07/08/2013 2:42 PM

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ALLISON, Iowa —4-H members were busy getting their animals ready for showing last week at the Butler County Fair in Allison.

This is the fourth year that Nicholas Oldenburger, 14, has shown sheep at the fair. He brought eight Hampshire-Suffolk cross lambs. His brother, Noah, 11, bought seven.

Their parents are Chad and Nicole Oldenburger of Parkersburg. The brothers are Monroe Clever Clovers 4-H Club members.

"I feed my lambs every morning and night, and tomorrow I'll get them ready for the show," Nicholas said. "My dad and I sheared our sheep. When we're at home, we walk our sheep every night and set up their feet."

A swing that Nicholas built out of pallets was selected to go to the Iowa State Fair, and he received a blue ribbon for a jewelry holder that he made for his mother. The pallet swing is for his grandparents' farm.

"The fair runs deep in our family," said Chad Oldenburger. "We love the fair."

Nicholas said his favorite part is the grandstand events. He likes the car soccer/demolition derby the best. Chad, who is the announcer for car soccer, thought up the event last year. Demolition derby cars try to make goals with a 700-pound steel ball made out of the ends of old LP tanks that were welded together.

Seyann Luhring, daughter of Chris and Elicia Luhring of Parkersburg, showed sheep for the first time. A member of the Albion Dandy Dozens 4-H Club, Seyann, 10, has Dorsets. She brought two rams and three ewes.

Big Ox, a Dorset ram, is Seyann's favorite.

"His name was supposed to be Jack, but then he got to be so big and ox looking," Seyann said. "I'll show him in showmanship. He's my best. He doesn't pull at all."

Her grandpa Randy Brocka of Parkersbug has a flock of Dorset-Suffolk crosses.

"He teaches me a lot about how to feed and take care of my sheep," Seyann said.

Seyann also exhibited a black Mini Rex rabbit named Clover. She got blue ribbons on a milk can planter that she made and a 500-piece horse puzzle that she framed.

Melanie and Megan Johnson were busy washing their dairy cattle. Their parents, Roy and Shiloh Johnson, and their grandparents Duane and Carolyn Johnson, have a dairy farm at Parkersburg.

Between them, Melanie and Megan brought 11 head. Megan shows Brown Swiss and Holsteins. Melanie shows Red and White Holsteins, Holstein-Jersey cross and Holstein-Brown Swiss cross cows.

"I like showing, but it's a lot of work," Melanie said.

She spends most of her time in the dairy barn.

Melanie earned blue ribbons for an entryway bench, a book and display on what calves eat and a picture of two calves. Her book on mastitis was picked to go to the Iowa State Fair.

"The cows are Melanie's thing," said Roy Johnson. "She helps with chores all year."

Megan and Melanie are Albion Dandy Dozens 4-H Club members.

Ainsley Lovrien exhibited six pigs and an Angus cow named Macy.

"I have five market swine and one derby pig that weighs 295 pounds," Ainsley said.

Her two best pigs are Blue, a barrow, and Rose, a gilt.

The Clarksville sixth grader and member of the Jackson Lucky Clovers 4-H Club was teaching her friend Emma Poppe about showing pigs. Ainsley's younger sister, Sydney, 5, helped.

"Emma wants to show," Ainsley said. "We feed, wash and walk the pigs."

Ainsley also entered a blanket she made for the Children's Hospital, a pot holder, a bracelet made out of old T-shirts, a painted plate and a picture of a tree that she made in art class. She got four blues and a red.

Ainsley's parents are Ben and Jessica Lovrien of Clarksville.

Mathias Zoellner, 3, happily led Ruby, his Ayrshire calf, into the ring for novice showmanship and answered questions posed by Iowa Dairy Princess Logan Worden. His mother, Kathie, and his grandmother Deb White both showed dairy cattle when they were in 4-H. Deb and her husband, Dennis, operate Jensen-White Hillside Dairy at Clarksville. Kathie and her husband, Anthony, live in Byron, Minn.