ALGONA - For many youth at the Kossuth County Fair, showing animals and livestock has become an annual part of their summer, giving them plenty of experience.
For others, such as 7-year-old Gretchen Gorham, and her sister, 6-year-old Abbe Gorham, the experience will come with time as they get a head start in showing cattle in the open class show this year.
The Gorhams have both spent the summer caring for bucket calves and will have the opportunity to take their calves, Midnight and Lollipop, to the show ring for the first time Friday afternoon in the youth open bucket calf show.
-Messenger photos by Emilie Nelson-Jenson
Gretchen Gorham, 7, of St. Joseph, walks her bucket calf, Midnight, around the fairgrounds in preparation for the open class cattle show at the Kossuth County Fair in Algona Wednesday afternoon. Javonttae Sankey, 11, of Algona, top photo, pets an Australian shepherd puppy in the kids barn located on the Kossuth County Fairgrounds.
Gretchen Gorham seemed like a natural as she led Midnight around the fairgrounds on a rope Wednesday.
"I wash him and walk him," said Gretchen Gorham. "I really like to walk him, and he's cute."
The sisters will also be participating in the open class lamb show with their bucket lambs today.
For first-year 4-H member 10-year-old Jordan Burdick, the 4-H livestock shows were new, but he's been no stranger to showing in the open classes at the Kossuth County Fair in the past.
"It is my first time in 4-H, but I'm still pretty experienced," Burdick said. "I've had bucket calves before."
It was his first time showing a full-size cow, which he prepared for the show ring Wednesday at a wash station. Burdick checked his cow, which he simply calls 77 after its ear tag number, from top to bottom to make sure it was spotless and clean.
"They're not too hard to clean," he said. "It depends what soap you've got. If you have the right soap, they can be pretty easy to wash."
Burdick also found a new use for his bucket lamb - riding and walking it at the same time on the way to the wash station - but quickly discovered that's not the best use for a sheep.
"It's not the most rideable," he said.
Outside of the livestock barns, the FFA kids' barn was a busy spot for children, and even adults, as they stopped by to see puppies, rabbits, a pot-bellied pig and her babies, goats, miniature ponies and donkeys, and baby chicks.
Javonttae Sankey, enjoyed a stop in the kids barn where he had the chance to play with an Australian Shepherd puppy. He really hoped he could take the puppy home, but decided it might be a bit expensive and came up with another solution.
"I love the puppies. I wish I could buy one of them," said 11-year-old Sankey. "But I will for sure be buying a rabbit when the fair is over."
Algona FFA member Ashton Myman spent Wednesday afternoon supervising in the kids' barn.
"It's fun to see the kids come through," she said. "We do this every year."
The Kossuth County Fair continues today with the horse and goat shows, bottle lamb and sheep show, shoppers mart, midway, rodeo and a pork loin supper.