Scene at the fair

Stock and bonds

If you want to know the best way to pick up a rooster, herd a pig or lead a goat, the young farm animal exhibitors at the State Fair know the answers. After spending much of their waking hours preparing together with their chickens, sheep and cattle, it creates a special relationship. 

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Maryn Cowell, 16, of Owatonna, Minn., sat beside her shaggy-haired Scottish Highland yearling heifer, named Vivian, Wednesday in the Cattle Barn. Cowell says she's attracted to "the uniqueness" of the Scottish Highland breed, and that "their beef is pretty good, too." Besides the experience of showing on a bigger stage than her county fair, Cowell is also looking forward to the State Fair's offering of French fries.
Pinty Nidersson, 14, of Stillwater, knelt beside "Theodore," one of eight sheep she is showing at this year's State Fair while taking her on a walk Thursday. "They can be like your best friend," said Nidersson of the Shetland sheep.
Alisah Floding, 13, of Douglas County, held her Polish rabbit at the Sheep and Poultry Barn Wednesday. Last year, Floding showed chickens, but decided to try her hand at rabbits this year because they're easier to take care of.
"I just call him Sheepy," said 13-year old Orion Sass, of his Hampshire-Suffolk cross sheep Wednesday. Sass, from Lanesboro in Fillmore County, said "showing sheep is fun because they're smaller than a cow but bigger than a rabbit.” He believes Sheepy has a good chance at winning a prize because its muscle definition stands out.
From the left, Kendra Kathrein, 19, of Little Falls, Minn., and Taryn Czech, of Rice, Minn., stood beside their cattle Wednesday. Kathrein is showing her bull calf, Mr. Ledger, far left, and his mother, Kiss Me or Not. Both are Charolais cattle. Czech is showing a steer named Ted, a Charolais crossed with red Angus. Kathrein isn't easily distracted by fair food and rides and "just came to show" her cattle. Czech is focused on showing and consumer education. She's looking forward to talking to the public. "Not a lot of people know much about agriculture,” she said.
Harvey, a Boer goat, tried a taste of his owner, 16-year old Sam Johnson, of Northfield, Wednesday afternoon. "He's very, very playful," said Johnson, who is showing his goat in a market class. Behind Johnson is Isabella Schmidt, 16, also from Northfield, who is showing her goat, Callie.
Janelle Voigt, 15, of Mower County, held her brown egg layer chicken Wednesday in the Sheep and Poultry barn Wednesday. It's her first time showing at the State Fair and she said she’s "excited for the opportunity.”
Anna Erickson, 14, of Ottertail County, held one of the two pigeons she's showing as a breeding pair at the Minnesota State Fair Wednesday. "They're easy and they're really pretty," Erickson said of her pigeons. "They're not like chickens which are kind of boring.”
Logan Cole, 13, of Lake City, Minn., knelt behind his Yorkshire breeding gilt, Snow White, Wednesday in the Swine Barn. Cole likes her color and "how big she is."
Mara Goihl, 15, of Lake City, Minn., rested her head on her Chester white purebred breeding gilt Wednesday in the Swine Barn. "I've worked really hard with her," said Goihl of her pig.
Katie Bernardy, of Redwood County, held her buff silkie chicken Wednesday in the Sheep and Poultry Barn. When she's not showing, she's looking forward to visiting Sweet Martha's Cookies. She says she likes the Buff Silkie breed because they're unique, particularly the fact they have five toes instead of four, like most other chickens.
Catrina Andree, of Mower County, held her Pekin duck after letting it bathe itself outside the Sheep and Poultry Barn Wednesday. "I've raised poultry all my life," said Andree, who prefers ducks over other poultry because "they're fun to watch."
Clayton Boone, 18, from Olmsted County, held his Rex rabbit, Oreo, Wednesday in the Sheep and Poultry Barn. Boone says he's excited for "the cute girls, the food, the friends" and that the State Fair "just gives me time to relax and have fun."
Malarie Boone, 18, of Olmsted County, held her Netherland dwarf rabbit, Nate, Wednesday in the Sheep and Poultry Barn. "He has a very outgoing, cuddly personality," Boone says of Nate.
Joseph Caughey, of Crow Wing County, stood beside his brown Swiss dairy cow yearling, Carmel, on Wednesday in the Cattle Barn. "I like showing cows, it's fun to go in the ring" said Caughey, who is showing for the first time at a state fair this year.
Elaine Dorn, 17, of Kenyon, Minn., stood beside Magnolia, her Hampshire January ewe lamb, while grooming her Thursday in the Sheep and Poultry Barn. She hopes Magnolia keeps growing the way she has and that she shows well so that she can show her at the National Stock Show in Louisville.
Hannah Wisch, 17, of Sibley County, kicked back while sitting next to Dotty, her crossbred Duroc-Hampshire spot pig Thursday in the Swine Barn. It's her 11th year in 4-H and her second at the State Fair. "I love when little kids come up to me to ask questions," said Wisch.
Lane Simpson, 12, of Monticello, held his Flemish giant rabbit, Schultz, Thursday in the Sheep and Poultry Barn. Simpson says raising and showing rabbits "gives me confidence."
Hannah Myhre, 13, of Houston County, sat beside her crossbred blue-butt pig Thursday in the Swine Barn. "I like getting to spend time with friends and my animal," she said.
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