LIVING AT THE FAIR
As visitors make their way over to the livestock area at the Lycoming County Fair this week, they will see young adults and children taking care of the animals. Most of them are 4-H members who spend the week camping out at the fairgrounds and sleeping with their animals in preparation for the shows and the sale at the end of the week.
Eli Klinger, age 10, brought two Holstein cows – one of which happens to be a red and white.
Klinger said that when showing animals it is important to keep them properly positioned for the judges during the competition.
“You always want to keep the heads up because it keeps them under control, and when you are doing the proper position you want to keep one foot back and both feet together in the front,” he said.
When he is not showing his cows, Klinger spends most of his time caring for the animals, but he also makes time for a game of football.
“I play football with my friends, feed the cows, mix the grain, give them hay and fill their water buckets,” Klinger said
Kassidy Rymann, age 15, also has her red and white Holstein at the fair this week to compete.
Rymann has been working around cows all her life, and helped her older brother with his cows before she started to show her own at age eight.
Like Klinger, she spends a majority of her time caring for her cow during fair week, and usually sleeps with it at night.
“I stay here all week, whether it is sleeping on a cot with the cows or in a camper,” Rymann said.
By participating in 4-H and showing her cow in the fair she is able to meet a lot of people.
“It is a good experience and you meet a lot of people along the way,” Rymann said. “You make a lot of good friends at the end.”
Emily Staman, age, 17, who is showing a South African boer goat at the fair, saif she takes care of the goat by cleaning the pen, making sure walkways are clear for visitors, feeding, watering and keeping the animals healthy.
Before a show, Staman prepares the goat by slick shearing it, so the judges are able to see the definition in the muscles of the goat. The judges are looking at the quality of the carcass for when the animal is slaughtered, Staman added.
By caring for the goats, she believes it will help prepare her for a future in nursing, because of the practice she gets medicating her animals.
“If you can be a nurse to a goat you can be a nurse to a person,” Staman said.
Hailey Armstrong, age 12, has three horses at the fair this week and knows the importance of keeping her horses happy and healthy. Armstrong said that she gets the horses out of their stalls five to six times a day to walk them.
“It is important to walk them because horses can get stiff legs that can lead to fracturing and they also can get heat in their legs, which can be very serious,” Armstrong said.
Besides cleaning the stalls and walking and watering the horses, she also has to make sure they have plenty of hay throughout the day
“They are here for seven to eight days without being in a pasture, so you want to make sure they get what they would have if they were out in a pasture,” Armstrong said.
Toby Paulhamus, 18, brought pigs and steers from his family’s farm in Salladasburg to show at the fair.
He explained that after the animals are shown during the week, the owners have the option to sell the animals Friday night. It is important that the animal be at full weight for the sale.
A pig between 220 and 280 pounds is considered a finished animal, according to Paulhamus.
“They are all finished animals and are ready to be eaten,” he said referring to his animals.
Paulhamus said he returns to the fair each year because he enjoys the competition against the other 4-H members.
“We are all competition against each other, but we are all friends here,” Paulhamus said.