Their time to shine

Published 7:17 am Sunday, August 7, 2011

Livestock show to feature fundraiser for long-time supporter, Institute

Nothing is ever more consistent at the Mower County Fair than the tradition of showing livestock.

“It’s our one weekend of the year to showcase what we have in Mower County here,” said Dave Weness, dairy superintendent at the fair.

Weness has been assisting the fair for about 11 years — since he sold all his cows — and he’s seen nothing but consistent participation in livestock events.

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“Dairy has always been my love, and we’ve been coming to these shows for 40 years; and we just love doing that stuff,” Weness said about himself, his wife and other superintendents at the fair.

And with a slew of livestock events, enthusiasts will open farm festivities before the fair officially starts. A horse show will take place 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, in the horse arena. Then more horses, sheep, goats, dairy and beef cows, pigs, rabbits and llamas will take over the livestock building the entire week, Tuesday, Aug. 9 through Sunday, Aug. 14.

And speaking of consistency, this year’s 4-H crew at the fair includes 367 students showcasing their hobbies in horticulture, art and livestock — just two fewer students than last year.

This year will be special for Mower’s 4-H Club, as it’s graciously giving something back. July 4, 2010, longtime supporter and 4-H member Deb Schammel passed away after battling cancer. 4-H members are holding a fundraiser in her honor, of which the proceeds will go to the Hormel Institute for cancer research.

“She was an avid gardener and lifelong 4-H volunteer,” said Melissa Koch, Mower County 4-H program coordinator. “She touched a lot of people’s lives here.”

Another change for 4-H includes a twist at the finale of the livestock events with a supreme showmanship contest. Winners from each senior and intermediate division of dairy, beef, sheep, goat and swine will have to run the gambit and learn how to show all five types of animals.

Among showing animals, there’s more engaging activities, too, including horse fun games, a cowboy shoot-out, steer wrestling, dog agility and obedience trial and a parade of champions.

With all of his years of experience at the fair, Weness encourages more people to attend the 2011 ag events.

“There’s a whole lot of things to see,” he said.