Daniel with Squirt at Fair


Daniel in showmanship. Easy to find Squirt in a sea of black steer!

It was hard to not be disappointed this year.  Squirt looked really good in the few weeks leading to fair.

Even though it was Dans first year with a steer we had high hopes.  We knew Amanda’s steer wouldn’t place very high, despite all of our efforts we couldn’t get the weight on him.  

We had people approaching us in the barn complementing Squirt.  We knew he had a chance of placing very high.


Daniel walking Squirt in the show ring

Daniel ended up 8th in showmanship.  I would have loved him to get a higher ribbon.  But he was in a tough class with a lot of good showman.  It was the best I had ever seen him  work Squirt, so I was thrilled with him.

After showmanship we had a 5 hr break and then market class.  They judge the animal, not the kids in this class.  This was where my husband had very high hopes.  We thought there were only a few others in the barn that could beat him.

But, fair, like dog shows, all boil down to one man’s opinion.  It all rests with the judge. 

And Squirt ended up 5th.   Still a great showing, but a bit of a let down. 


Dan stroking Squirts belly with a show stick to keep him calm in the ring.

The week after fair the meat is judged.  Not every one attends this show.  To some it very hard to see their show animal as meat.  But in reality that is what these rural kids are doing.  Raising meat for consumption.

Dan was very pleased with the carcass show, he got second place.  (second place is often referred to reserve champion)


Reserve champion trophy



So, while Daniel did better with a dead steer then a living one,  it was
Still a very successful fair.


Fifth place in market class, eighth plass in showmanship, reserve champion in carcass.

And, like every year that we leave fair, we all were saying there is always next year!


Junior Fair Auction

For the kids, auction is certainly the highlight of fair week.

They are able to to sell only “market” animals (animals ready for slaughter).  This year they could sell the hogs and steer but not the calves.

A few weeks before fair they carefully craft buyer letters.   They look through the list of list year’s buyers and select several to send letters to.

This is an example of a buyer letter.  Dan also included 2 photos,one of himself with Squirt at 1 month old and the other at market weight.

Dear Moritz Material,

My name is Dan Garn and I am an eighth grader at Hillsdale Middle School. I am inviting you to bid on the Junior Fair Market Steer auction at the Ashland County Fair, Thursday Sept 20, 2012 at 6:30pm. 

I am a member of Hilltop 4Hers. This is my first year showing a market steer.  I am also showing a feeder calf, a market hog, and a gun safety project.   I am the treasurer of my 4H group.  I am an honors student and wish to be a dentist.  I also play football, baseball, basketball and run track. I am saving my fair earnings for college and next year’s animal projects.

I have raised this steer since it was 1 day old.  I showed him at last year’s fair as a feeder calf.  I have cared for him for 18 months; including bottle feeding, halter breaking, and providing clean food, water and housing daily.  I have included pictures of him.  He is a Brown Swiss.  He is well muscled and you will enjoy the beef.  If you have any questions about bidding you can contact my father, Rob Garn..  Thank you for supporting junior fair!


This is one of  the  non-animal skills that I think fair teaches.  Asking for buyers, talking to them if approached at fair, and remembering to write thank letters. 

Michael’s first year at fair he was sitting on his hog pen when a woman walked up to him and asked him questions about how he cared for his pig.

He talked for several minutes and she walked away.  He had no idea who was.   But several hours later she bought his pig at auction.   She was the owner of the local Applebee’s restaurant and wanted to support hard working kids.  She had received many letters, read them, then talked to the kids on the fairgrounds.  Thankfully Michael was polite and answered thoughtfully instead of ignoring her and running off with his friends.

This year auction was wonderful. I very quickly remembered why I like to work for a small independent hospital. My wonderful employer, Samaritan Regional Health Systems, came out to support the community with the purchase of many animals, including several of ours.

The kids use part of the income to place thank yous in the local newspaper.



Michaels hog was purchased by our very generous neighbor.


The kids anxiously await their checks in the mail. They have many ideas on how to spend the money. Amanda is going to purchase a used car and save the rest for college. Daniel wishes to buy a bow for hunting and save for the future. Mike will spend some on next years 4h camp then save most for a future land purchase to start a farm.

They kids are also contributing toward a water and electric line to the barn so we can have automatic livestock waterers. That will mean no need to break ice on the water troughs this year!

I am so indebted to all junior livestock bidders. They make my children motivated to work hard the other 11 months of the year. The selfless giving brought me to tears this year.

A very heartfelt thank you.