County fair season rolls on strong
From first-year showmen to experienced livestock producers, excitement is in the air as exhibitors are ready to hit show rings around the state.
Youth showing goats, exhibiting breed specific sheep and showcasing home-raised cattle all have one thing in common – drive and passion to show these animals to the best of their ability.
A first-year showman could not be more ecstatic to show her first goat at the Platte County Fair. Tinley Buffington, a nine-year-old 4-H member, will take a goat named June to her first county fair.
Tinley shared she is excited to take the goat to county fair to show, saying, “I can’t wait to have fun with June while we are at fair.”
While Tinley’s show career is just getting started, she says she’s not ready to sell June quite yet.
“I don’t really want to sell June,” says Tinley. “She’s a really good goat, but I also would really like to start saving money for college.”
At home, Tinley spends a lot of time working with June and enjoys learning about feeding, showing and fitting her goat.
“I like having fun with June, she is so playful,” Tinley says. “After we work together, she likes to follow me like a dog when she’s let go.”
Tinley shares her aunt helps when it comes to fitting her goat, noting, “My aunt helps me wash my goat, and shear and clip her so we can get ready for the fair.”
Tinley and June will make their appearance at the Platte County Fair held July 23-Aug. 1 in Wheatland.
Converse County siblings
Ayden and Oakley Lamb exhibited their show cattle projects this past week at the Converse County Fair in Douglas. Older brother Ayden is a four-year 4-H member and sister Oakley is a second-year member.
The brother and sister duo are members of the LaBonte Sagebrush 4-H Club based in Glenrock.
Ayden brought his steer named Bro-Chacho to show at fair, and Oakley exhibited two steers named Skid Steer and Edward.
Ayden says his favorite part of fair week is getting to the fairgrounds, sharing, “It’s so nerve racking pulling into the fairgrounds. All I can think is, ‘Well this is it.’”
“Showmanship is my favorite,” Ayden continues. “I’ve done good in it before and I feel like I have improved. The market show isn’t as easy because there are a lot of really good calves. In showmanship, you get to smile at the judge and present yourself and the calf.”
“My favorite part of my project is the color of my steers,” shares Oakley. “I really want to win a belt buckle this year. I have been working really hard with my calves.”
Ayden and Oakley both give credit to their step-dad Nick Ladd when it comes to helping them with their calves.
“He helps in the beginning of the year with halter breaking and training them, and he helps me wash my calves,” Ayden says. “He really helps me improve when I am practicing with my calf.”
Oakley explains Nick has also taught them about preparing their calves for show, saying, “He teaches us and talks to us about clipping our calves while we watch him.”
Weston County competition
Rachel Sweet, an upcoming senior at Newcastle High School, is getting ready for the Weston County Fair with her four Columbia breeding sheep and her home-raised steer.
“I am most excited for the sheep show,” Rachel notes. “It’s by far my favorite show, and I have a pretty nice lamb this year. I can’t wait to see how it goes.”
Rachel’s calf Buddy has sentimental value, as she picked him out of the family herd.
“I picked him out of our cows this winter and have been feeding him ever since,” Rachel shares.
Rachel raises a few Columbia sheep, a few market lambs and her family runs a herd of cattle.
Rachel shares, Ann Wehri is one of her biggest mentors in the livestock business. She helped Rachel get her first market lamb and still helps when it comes to breeding Rachel’s Columbia sheep.
“She helps with my breeding sheep program and lets me borrow a ram every year to breed to my Columbia sheep,” Rachel says. “Ever since I started 4-H, she’s been there to help.”
While Rachel isn’t sure if Casper College or Laramie County Community College will be her next step, she notes growing up showing livestock has provided her with many memories.
“Younger showmen should cherish every moment because it goes by so fast,” Rachel advises. “Have all the fun – it’s so much better if you are having fun while doing it.”
Some friendly competition never hurt a soul, and Hailey Wehri, an upcoming college freshman, is taking two heifers to the Weston County Fair.
“I have a purchased Chianina heifer from Ohio and the other is a Shorthorn Plus I raised on my own,” says Wehri. “I am starting my own club calf business – Wehri Show Cattle – and my Shorthorn Plus heifer is out of my first calf crop.”
Hailey has been working for over a year with the home-raised heifer she has taken to the Central States Fair, Black Hills Stock Show and the 2020 Weston County Fair.
Hailey is in the barn every day making sure her calves look just right in preparation for both county and state fair.
“My calves are walked every day in the air-conditioned barn, fed twice and then washed and blown dry.”
Hailey says she looks forward to showing all year long, sharing, “I love the atmosphere and people at livestock shows. I enjoy showing and there is a lot of competition at the Wyoming State Fair, which I really enjoy.”
Hailey was named the 2021 Wyoming FFA State Star Farmer, and she has used this award to help motivate herself to work harder.
“I was really honored to be recognized and it was a huge achievement for me. I have been working hard to sell calves and be as competitive as possible in the cattle world,” explains Hailey.
Cameron Magee is an intern for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.