LINCOLN COUNTY FAIR: Family and fun mix at Lincoln County Fair

TYLER – Fair time often provides plenty of family time, and that sure seemed to be the case at the Lincoln County Fair Friday in Tyler.

The annual fair also gives 4-H members the opportunity to learn through hands-on experiences with projects in addition to just having fun with friends.

Friday’s itinerary included beef, dairy, sheep, goat and horse shows throughout the day.

Lake Benton residents Chris and Nycole Nibbe accompanied their three children: Sam, 10, Braden, 6, and Sydney, 5, to the fair this year.

“It’s a nice little fair,” Nycole Nibble said. “It’s our first year in 4-H, although we did Cloverbud last year. We’re in Lake Stay 4-H Club.”

The Nibbes survived a near-tragic situation this spring, when one of the three calves the children were raising contracted Cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite that causes severe diarrhea. Soon after, young Sydney also fell sick from the disease.

“We almost lost Sydney because it’s a parasite,” Nycole Nibbe said. “She spent two weeks in the hospital in April. So we’re just glad to have her here.”

Picking up the disease was somewhat of a freak thing, Nibbe said, since people who contract Cryptosporidium typically do so through infected drinking water sources or at swimming pools. Though severe, when asked if the experience caused them to reconsider raising calves for the fair, Nibbe said, “heck no.”

So while Sam worked with Blackie, a bull calf, Braden wet down, shampooed, scrubbed and rinsed Polka Dot, a black and white bull calf.

“It’s like a car wash,” Braden Nibbe said. “It’s fun.”

Chris and Sydney also pitched in to help spruce up the young calf, which Braden intended to enter in the pet show on Sunday.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun,” Nycole Nibbe said. “We’re just getting into it. And we’ll take what we learn this year and go into next year more knowledgeable.”

Further down the washing area, Marshfield 4-Her Catherine Vogt and her friend Lexi Wendland were spraying down Vogt’s five sheep.

“This will be my third year showing sheep,” Vogt said. “(Friday), I’m showing my markets and my market breeding ewe.”

Vogt planned to show her two purebred Hampshire sheep and her three Hamp Suffolk cross sheep.

“It’s time-consuming, but I look forward to fair time,” she said. “To get them ready to show, first I wash them. Then you’re supposed to brush them out. It depends on the breed, but I have to brush out the fur on their legs, just to make sure they’re all clean.”

Vogt, who has earned a state fair trip the past two years, has also mastered the mechanics in the show ring.

“Last year, I got champion showmanship,” she said. “You want to make eye contact a lot with the judge and smile. You also want to keep your animal in control. When you’re walking them, you usually don’t want to use a lead. You want to use your hands. And you want to make sure they’re square when they stand. You want to make it look easy, too, like it was no problem.”

Eleven-year-old Hannah Krog, a Lake Stay 4-Her from Lake Benton, had a good day in the show ring, winning the junior showmanship category with her black angus.

“It felt good,” Krog said about winning the class.

Though competitive, Krog was quick to note her favorite part about showing cattle.

“The best part is just working with your animal,” she said.

While Krog still has a number of years to show livestock, Diamond Lake 4-Her Nick Delaney of Lake Benton is in his final year, having graduated from high school last year.

“I don’t know why I enjoy it, but I’ve shown livestock all my life,” Delaney said. “The hardest part is that there’s so much little stuff you have to do. But those things make a big difference.”

Delaney’s two entries in the cattle class were extremely clean and impressively blow-dried, making them sharp-looking Herefords. Delaney not only shows cattle at the Lincoln County Fair, he also took some to Pennsylvania this year.

“There were 1,500 cattle there,” he said. “We did pretty good at the show in Pennsylvania.”

Sometimes, cattle or other animals don’t cooperate like their young handlers think they should. Marshfield 4-Her Bailey Possail knows this all too well.

“My cow got scared (Thursday) and ran all the way down the road to the high school,” she said. “He got really jumpy. So I had to bring it home.”

The entire Possail family all tried to pitch in and help during the getaway cow incident.

“It got spooked by a horse,” mom Janel Possail said. “It took her dad (Doug) for a ride. He finally let go after about half of a block. And (Bailey’s sister) Justine jumped on a golf cart. The cow made it all the way down to the FFA garden and was eating the corn.”

Fortunately, no one was injured and Bailey was able to help Delaney show one of his Herefords on Friday.

“I’m glad I was still able to show,” she said.

Sisters Grace and Lily Klumper of Tyler enjoyed inspecting all of the 4-H projects.

“They have so many interesting things here at the Lincoln County Fair,” 11-year-old Grace Klumper said. “We’ve been coming here since we were little.”

While checking out the chicken, ducks and geese (which were noisy), the girls said they were thankful that they decided to show rabbits this year.

“That’s why I like rabbits,” Grace Klumper said. “They don’t make as much noise and they’re easier to show.”

This year marks the first that Klumper is showing competitively and she could hardly wait for today’s show. Sister Lily, 8, will take part in the Cloverbud rabbit show.

“I saw all the other rabbits and I’m excited to show mine,” she said. “Cherry is a rare color called lynx. And he’s going to be a daddy (Saturday), too. I used a gestation table and took into account when our female had babies last year and she should be having her litter the day of the show. We’re expecting six bunnies.”

Lily added that they were off by a day last breeding season.

“We counted 31 days, but we forgot that it was at night,” she said. “So it ended up being 32 days.”

Young Alivia Gilbertson and her father, Greg, of Hendricks toured all of the livestock barns, stopping to gently interact with nearly every animal, including the horses and baby chicks

“I love watching her expressions,” Greg Gilbertson said.

Not all projects involved livestock, however. Ten-year-old Jack Lacek thoroughly enjoyed being part of the fashion show.

“He had to pick out his own outfit at the store,” mom Jackie Lacek said. “He chose tan suit pants and a matching vest with a light turquoise shirt underneath. He looked really sharp and he had such a big smile on his face. He was the hit of the show.”