Keeping busy at the fair

REDWOOD FALLS – Thursday was as busy day for Redwood County 4-H members as they kicked off their fair season with the first round of livestock shows and judging to decide who will advance to the Minnesota State Fair. Thursday’s shows included horses, poultry, rabbits and swine, with shows for sheep, dairy, goats and beef taking place today.

Ashley Ourada, 19, is a student at SDSU and participated in the horse show Thursday morning with her quarter horse Dakota Sundance.

“I did six classes this morning,” Ourada said. “I did strictly Western classes, showmanship and the games.”

Beyond showing the horses, the games classes include events like pole and barrel racing, jumping figure and a key race. Ourada said she was happy with most of her results, including being named reserved champion in the showmanship class.

In another barn, rabbit judging was taking place with rabbits of all colors and sizes. Ashton Altmann from Redwood Falls was exchanging one of her rabbits for another in between judging rounds Thursday afternoon and said that so far “I’ve done pretty good.” Altmann said she raises Mini Rex rabbits and currently has nine of them.

Across the fairgrounds, youth involved in the goat show were lining up in the goat barn to practice for their show. Mary and Martin Larson of Springfield were helping their daughters, Leah, 17, and Marah, 16, and their grand daughter Julian, 6, get ready for today’s event.

“Our family has been raising goats for over 25 years,” Leah said.

Her father, Martin, said his oldest daughter, Seena, was the one who wanted to start raising and showing goats. The Larson’s sons showed dairy cattle and the girls wanted to have their own animals, Martin said.

They started their granddaughter in 4-H this year as a Cloverbud, and now the Larsons have a third-generation to pass the tradition to.

Julian said so far, her favorite part of the fair is “getting to walk the goats.”

She also participated in the horse show Thursday morning, but also likes the goats because they are smaller and easier to handle.

The Larsons said they used to milk more than 150 goats a day when they sold to a commercial dairy in the past. Now they are down to roughly 100 goats and are focusing more on breeding and selling.

When it comes to showing the goats, it’s all about their appearance. Leah said that judges want to see “good feet and legs in dairy goats and good udder structure” as well.

Tanner Hauger, 9, and his father Brian Hauger of Milroy were also preparing for the goat show with the Larson family.

“This is Tanner’s first year showing as a non-Cloverbud,” Brian said of his oldest son. “We just have 25 goats; we mainly do it for the kids.”