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Summer fun found at fair

by Kaitlyn Root

Sheridan County 4-H exhibitors are gearing up for the Sheridan County Fair July 29-Aug. 8. For most exhibitors, fair week is the most fun and exciting time of the summer.

Ten-year-old 4-H exhibitor Kathryn Swinyer is going into fifth grade and is excited to exhibit her nine breeding goats and market goat Apollo at this year’s fair. Kathryn has been participating in 4-H since she was eight years old and says she loves the club.

“I like 4-H because it’s the people I know and people that love goats too,” she says. “It makes me happy.”

Sisters Willow and Amia Koltiska have both been exhibiting livestock at the fair since they were eight years old, and they enjoy working together in the summer preparing their exhibits for the fair.

Amia is 15 and will be going into 10th grade. She is exhibiting two steers, two horses, two pigs and a cow/calf pair at this year’s fair.

Willow is 13 and will be going into eighth grade. She is showing a steer, three pigs and six dairy goats. 

Preparation

Exhibitors spend most of their summer prepping their animals for the fair. 

Kathryn says she works with her goats every day to ensure they feel comfortable and look presentable for the show. She washes the goats with soap, blows them out and clips them before show day.

“It’s important not to clip too far down the legs,” she says. “With goats, you want to trim them short to show off their muscle and stop clipping at the knees on their legs.”

Amia and Willow work with their animals at least three times per week.

“It’s really good for them to get used to us,” says Amia. “I think it’s really fun to work with them.”

They typically tie up their steers and the cow/calf pair and ride the horses every night.

“Steers and the cow/calf pair need to be washed, have their heads shaved and body hair trimmed,” says Amia. “Pigs are typically washed and shaved a day before the show. We walk them in the round pen a lot to get them used to us and used to walking in a circular pen.”

Willow says the goats need to be shaved completely which typically takes around two hours per goat.

“This can take some time, but it is important to do before the show so the goats look good,” she says.

Achievements

This year will be Amia’s first year taking her colt to the fair. She hopes to place well with her colt overall and has a goal to place well in the halter class.

“Since I broke him myself, it would be rewarding,” she says. 

Amia is interested in learning more about breaking colts and hopes to become more of an expert.

“I am excited to learn more about breaking colts and I hope to get tips from the judges,” she says. “I also hope to place well in beef showmanship.” 

Willow’s goal is to “place well” with her exhibits and avoid getting stepped on by a steer, which has happened in past years.

“I want to place well and have fun,” she says.

Kathryn is especially proud of her 4-H breeding goat project, which has turned into a little business for her. She started breeding her goats to sell to other 4-H members, and this year she had 14 kids born. 

Kathryn’s goal this year is to improve in showmanship.

“I am always working on showmanship,” she says. “With my breeding goats, I’ve worked really hard and I’m really excited.”

Making memories
at the fair

Many 4-H members look forward to the fair every year. It is a break from reality for a week before school starts up again.

Amia says her favorite aspect of the fair is working with her animals.

“My steers are big puppy dogs,” she says. “I love them, they’re just so sweet – all of the animals are such sweethearts.”

She always looks forward to helping other 4-H members at the fair and spending time with her friends.

“I also enjoy learning new skills and getting help from older members – it’s always fun,” she says.

Willow enjoys spending time with her friends and family at the fair.

“I really like to be around other people at the fair and learn from the older members who have been in 4-H longer than I have,” she says. “I also like to be around friends and show animals against people I know.”

“I look forward to making memories with other people and with my animals,” she continues. “Some of these people I only get to see once a year, so it’s really special.”

Kathryn enjoys the community aspect of the fair and “hanging out with friends and animals.”

“I like when we are all together at the fair,” she says. “It’s really fun.”

Kaitlyn Root is an editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to roundup@wylr.net.

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