WAPAKONETA — Control, cleanliness and poise were just three of the areas 4-Hers had to display as part of the dairy showmanship event Tuesday afternoon at the Auglaize County Fair.
Dozens of participants entered the show barn looking to advance in the competition. The field featured some newcomers as well as veterans of handling the couple hundred pound animals.
“I am kind of hoping I place pretty good,” Cody Schlater said. “This is my first year doing dairy.”
Schlater, of Minster, previously displayed rabbits as well as a slew of other projects during the fair. This year, Schlater’s family pushed him to try something new.
“My brother has done it his whole time and my mom and my brother thought it would be a good for me to try it,” Schlater said.
“Getting them tame and walking them was tough. I tried to get them to move so they weren’t so stubborn. We walked them in circles to get them used to it.”
New Knoxville resident Isaiah Smith worked on walking and setting up his dairy cow. Controlling the hefty heifer can sometimes be a challenge.
“Sometimes she can walk sideways and it’s tough to get her going,” Smith said of his cow Spice. “You just have to be good at setting them up and don’t hesitate.”
Kaylee Fisher, of Wapakoneta, has been showing cows for several years. Fisher brought along Wendy, a cow who birthed three calves.
“I feel that every cow has a different personality and I like to get to know each and every one’s personality,” Fisher said. “I just think every cow has a different, unique feature to it and I just like working with animals.”
Fisher said she is looking forward to next year’s fair because it will be her last.
“I am definitely going to put it all out on the floor,” Fisher said. “I am definitely ready.”
As each 4-Her brought their animal into the show barn, John Ayars, of Mechanicsburg, critiqued them. Ayars, who has been involved in showing animals for decades, said he has a specific list he adheres to when judging shows.
“First of all you want animals that are clean,” Ayars said. “Anyone can make them clean. You also want animals that are under control. You want the students to follow the protocol. There is a protocol that’s followed throughout the world in presenting animals and you would like them to be as close to that as possible.”