Livestock was out in full force on Agriculture day at the Portage County-Randolph Fair.
The day was filled with contests for dogs, cats, rabbits, poultry, horses, goats, swine, goats and cows. Lots, and lots of cows.
In the Hamilton Arena, owners of Holsteins, Jerseys and Ayrshires were proudly showed off by members of local 4-H clubs. Many teenagers said they had been showing animals since early childhood.
In the Showmanship of Showmanship awards, the kids struggled to keep their cattle under control. Then, to test their abilities, judge Curtis Bickel directed them to switch to the cow next to them, and some found the neighboring animal hard to command.
In the end, Matt Heater of Suffield, showing off a 7-year-old Holstein named Cinder was named the Grand Champion. Andrew Bowers Jr. of Shalersville showing off Daisy, a 4-year-old Ayrshire, was Reserve Grand Champion. Leah Luli won honorable mention.
Andrew's dad, Andrew Bowers Sr., said his son won the honor, not his cow.
"They judge the person, not the cow," he explained. "Are you controlling the animal, are you showing it off the right way to the judges. You could go in there with an ugly cow and still win showmanship."
He said his son has been showing off cows at the fair since he was 5.
Linda Rufener, 4-H adviser, said there are many differences between the various breeds.
"And once they start producing milk, you want to show off their udders," she said.
Bailey Campbell of Suffield, whose Holstein, Goldwyn, was named Jr. Grand Champion, said the fair has always been a tradition. Bailey, 14, said he has been showing cows since he was 4, and his family has been taking him to the fair since he was 6 months old.
After showing off his cows, he planned to spend the evening competing in the Demolition Derby.
"I just get to hang out with my friends, hang out with the animals, and there's good food," he said. "You can't beat that."
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