‘It’s what 4-H is all about’

Published 9:16 am Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fair will blend competition, learning for youngsters

The Mower County Fair means one thing to young animal lovers: the thrill of 4-H competition.

The 4-H competitions are back at the fair this year with a few changes and some growing programs. All the old favorites like the Swine Show, Dog Obedience and Showmanship and the Horse Fun Show will be at the fair.

There’s also the Llama Show, the fairly new llama display going on its third year and growing bigger.

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“It doubles every year,” said Mellisa Koch, fair board director. “We get to double our llamas.”

The llama show is similar to aspects of other shows, in that llamas showcase their agility like dogs, as well as overcome trail obstacles like horses.

“That’s really a neat show,” Koch said.

The crowning jewel of the 4-H displays this year could be the new Supreme Champion Showmanship Contest, a pentathlon of display prowess where showcase champions show five animals from the sheep, swine, dairy, goat and beef categories at the same time.

“They may or may not have exhibited these animals before,” Koch said.

The contest hasn’t been held in Mower County before, to Koch’s knowledge, although if it was it’s been many years. Several 4-H students who go to other county fairs have seen Supreme Champion Showmanship contests, where the champions have to learn about showing animals of all types, and thought Mower County should have that contest too.

“They decided they wanted to challenge themselves as well,” Koch said.

What that means is students will have to learn from one another about how to show different animals, which Koch says is vital to the 4-H experience.

“It’s a fun way to not only have competition but … you’re teaching each other and it’s what 4-H is all about,” she said.