Will County Fair

Judge looking at the Herford Champion

As my wife and I continue our journey to becoming farmers we end up doing a lot of things we wouldn’t normally do. Like visisting other farmers and their farms, going to City Farm, and like in this post, going to the Will County Fair. It has been a lot of fun and I didn’t realize learning about farming was going to be as much fun as it has.

Jay Mather owner of Royal M Farms emailed me awhile back and told us he was going to be at the Will County Fair with his Scottish Highland Cattle and wanted to know if we had an interest in checking it out.  I emailed him back and said  we would love to see him and his cattle again. We had never been to the Will County Fair and would like to see the whole process of how to show livestock at the fair. I also wanted the chance to see the different breeds of cattle that was going to be there and talk with some more farmers.

Farmers cleaning their cattle, getting them ready to bring them in the show ring.

One thing I thought was interesting was the shower area for the cattle. Before you bring them to the show ring farmers give them a shower and then they brush them. All the cattle  there had the cleanest and nicest coats of fur I have ever seen on cattle.

Some of the different breeds of cattle that where there at the Will County fair.

I got to talk to a few of the farmers by the cattle barns to see how they raise their cows and all of them there fed corn and other grains to fatten their cows for the fair.  I was really impresed with was how big the cattle were. The farmers I talked to said the cattle they  had brought to the fair was born this year. Some of these heifers where 1500 lbs and to me that is amazing, grass fed cattle take tiwce as long to have those gains. I also noticed, all the cattle there where heifers,and steers no bulls. Bulls must be unpredictible so they don’t have a catogory for them, at least thats my quess, I don’t know for sure and I didn’t ask.

1500lb Simmitol Heifer who was born this year is in one of the stalls at the cattle barn.

The fair crowns a champion for each breed and then at the end brings out all the champions of each breed and crowns a Grandchampoin for the best overall cow of the fair.

This is a picture of when they brought out the champion of each breed that won and decide who will be the fairs Grand Champoin. The cow third from right was the eventual grand champoin and the the far right was resever champoin. Jays Highland heifer is the fourth cow from the right.

This was the first year that the Will County Fair had Scottish Highland Cattle there. Jays young heifer won the crown for that breed and the judge had a few nice things to say about her looks. Jay also told me there was a lot of interest in the Highlands, with people taking lots of pictures and asking lots of questions about the breed.

This is a picture of Jay Mathers Highland Cattle, waiting his turn to bring his heifer to the ring for showing. Jay is the  guy in the back  of this picture by the building with a gray shirt,  holding onto his young heifer.

This was a very warm day, espeacily out in the sun and I noticed the Highlands were panting it was so hot to them. None of the other cattle were doing this. I have said in the past this is the only thing that concerns me about this breed is their heat tolerance. Where my pastures are there is little shade and if I raise this breed I will have to make sure I have lots of man made shade for them.

In my next post I may have some big news about our farm.

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About Gordon Milligan

I am a conductor for a commuter railroad in Chicago IL, I have bought a 40 acre farm in South Central Iowa that I plan to retire to in 3 yrs. I want to raise and grow most of my own food using sustainible and organic methods. I have a blog that journals my journey to becoming a farmer.
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2 Responses to Will County Fair

  1. purlygirl2 says:

    This was a lot of fun. You should do a post about the sheep and goats we saw, too.

  2. I love a good county or state fair! There’s nothing like it. Glad you’re taking advantage of the chance to make these visits; once you get your farm and your animals, you won’t be able to get away as much! 🙂 Can’t wait to hear your big news!

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