Fair–Part 1

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One of the very few times we showed together. Carol thought this was our daughter, but truth be told, it is Carol and I in the mid ’80’s.

When we started getting prepared for that first trip to the Washington County Fair 38 years ago, boy were we clueless! Our dairy herd at that time was mostly grade and crossbred animals, so to have a good registered calf for our oldest to show, we contacted my brother who had more purebred animals at his farm in Little Falls, N.Y.. We really sucked at picking out and buying a show calf! Elsie, our choice did become an ok cow; problem was she was born in February, right at the end of her age group, making her on the small side and we quickly found out that size also matters in the showring!

Then we made Chad, our oldest son, who the calf was for, lead her so much that she got so content with him, she laid down in the show ring and poor Chad was mortified!! Good did come from all that poor judgement on our part; Chad and his family are top contenders today with their Brown Swiss and Milking Shorthorns at shows today!

The next year our daughter Maggie, was going to be old enough to show and from our bad choices with Chad, we were going to pick another breed of cattle beside Holstein, so being greenhorns, our kids would be in smaller cow classes and just maybe improve with time.

First we picked the wrong aged animal and this time we picked the wrong breed!! On a suggestion from my brother, we went to an auction in Vernon Downs and bougtht Hatty, a Milking Shorthorn…who didn’t turn out to be an ok cow…the bigger problem: no classes for Shorthorns at our fair. The last farm to have them hadn’t showed in about 10 years! Thankfully, with our fair being one of the largest Ag Fairs in the state, they put classes back in.

Then with classes for Shorthorns and not many animals around, I went to the Flintstone Farm dispersal sale in Massachusetts and bought two heifers, Pob and Elizabeth, which began an over 20 year run of of being put as the go to for Shorthorns at our Fair! One of those rags to riches stories!

To thank the fair for allowing the Shorthorns back in, as our herd grew we kept bringing more…one year we took 17…and when asked, we sold calves to many 4-h kids. As our kids grew out of 4-h themselves, many of the families we sold animals to back then, along with other families, have kept the Shorthorn show going to today at the Fair. In fact we even entered Nicohl, one of ours, for this year.

Next up it was grand kids leasing 4-h calves from the farm as I switched over to more Brown Swiss cattle…my favorites…and nowdays, being at the fair is more a social hour tradition than a competition for trophies and ribbons!

Instead it is a good setting for us…the farmer — that 1%…to explain to the 99%…the public… where their food comes from. So, I’ll see you there…Barn 2…on the end; that is if they haven’t moved us!            Next time, some things that happen overnight, in the cow barns!!!

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