Growing from experience

MARSHALL – Four-H’ers spend their summers getting their animals ready for the county fair, and younger kids are also able to get in on the action as a part of the Cloverbuds Project.

Kids grades K-2 are eligible to participate in the Cloverbuds Project and do the same events as older 4-H’ers but in a non-competitive way appropriate to their age and with the help of their parents or older 4-Hers.

“The public speaking and the one-on-one with the judge is great experience,” said Becky Moorse, dairy superintendent for the Lyon County Fair, before the Cloverbud dairy show Thursday afternoon.

“They have an adult or older youth handle the animal,” Moorse said, “but the kids are the ones talking to the judge.”

Cole Reminger, 8, of Cottonwood, said that this is his second year showing dairy cattle. To get his calf, Bugsy, ready for the show, Reminger said he had to “wash her, brush her and walk her for practice.”

Reminger said that they also have a special dress code for when they are in the ring.

“We have to wear white pants, a white shirt and boots,” Reminger said.

He worked on readying himself for the judge’s questions, saying that he might get asked “how old she is, what breed and the date she was born.”

Moorse said that the judges look at the quality of the cattle but also showmanship traits like “what a person knows about their animal, the breed, if they’re pregnant, who their father and mother are and their birthday.”

“Half of it is knowledge,” Moorse said, “but judges also look at the fitting of the animal, which is the clipping and the grooming of the animal.”

Blake Louwagie, 7, of Cottonwood was another Cloverbud that was getting ready for the Cloverbud dairy show Thursday afternoon.

“We had to clip her, but before we clipped her, we had to wash her,” Louwagie said about his calf, Nindy. Louwagie said that he practiced walking with her last night in preparation for the show and that she was calm and easy to walk.

“If the door is open, she will just run towards the door,” Louwagie said.

Helping him handle his calf for the show was 4-H’er Caitlin Louwagie, who also shows dairy cattle, but in the older 4-H age group.

“It’s a lot of fun to see the younger kids and teach them what you know,” Caitlin Louwagie said.

Conrad Kvamme came from Arlington to judge the 4-H dairy shows taking place Thursday and said that he looks at the Cloverbud show a little differently than the standard dairy show.

“I look for their interest in it, that they know what the name of their animal is and their breed and when it was born,” Kvamme said. “Then we chit-chat a little bit about if they like dairy products and what they’ve done with their animal.”

“We hope that they are learning things, and we are encouraging them because we hope that they will want to be future exhibitors,” Kvamme said.