Millville family has state fair showcase herd
By Janet Kubat Willette
Date Modified: 09/04/2013 2:01 PM
FALCON HEIGHTS — Ten of the tamest Sexton dairy cattle are at the state fair.
They make up the bulk of the showcase herd in the Moo Booth, located in the Cattle Barn.
Joining the Sexton's cattle are two from Square Deal Dairy in Randolph and four from Manannah-Valley Dairy in Eden Valley. The Sexton family operates Irish Ridge Red and White Holsteins, of Millville.
A different major breed is featured annually at the Minnesota State Fair. This year, it's Red and White Holsteins.
The Minnesota Red and White Club contacted them to see if they would like to showcase their cattle at the fair, said Staci Sexton.
"It's a good opportunity for us to display what we have and talk to the public," Sexton said.
They get a lot of questions, said Virginia Westlie, who's with Irish Ridge.
The most common question on opening day was what kind of cattle they are, Westlie said. People aren't used to seeing Red and Whites.
The Sexton cattle will be at the fair all 12 days. They arrived the day before the fair opened.
Fair-goers started streaming into the cattle barn around 7 a.m. on opening day, Westlie said, and they'd been busy since.
Cattle from the showcase herd are featured in the Moo Booth Milking Parlor, where the public can watch them being milked, and the hand milking contests on the Land O'Lakes stage outside the cattle barn.
Rob Sexton has shown the cow who will be hand milked, No. 708, three times through 4-H.
The cows in the showcase herd range in age from two to five years. Most have been shown in 4-H.
The Sexton family has more than 20 years of showing experience.
Taking care of the showcase herd means keeping everything clean all the time. The cattle are washed nightly so as not to compete with others using the wash rack to prepare their cattle for shows.
The cattle will be taken out of the cattle barn during the barn changeover, set for Aug. 29, and put in a separate pen so that the barn can be cleaned out, Sexton said.
Showing the showcase herd is an opportunity for the family to work together. Siblings Staci, Lance and Rob were there on opening day.
Sister Kate Brown and her husband, Bill, are helping with chores and sister Sarah Mellgren and her husband, Adam, will help, too. Their parents Vince and Sheri planned to come up to watch the 4-H show.
The Moo Booth staff are very helpful, too, Sexton said.