FILER • When it comes time for a 4-H show, children aren’t always the ones who are nervous.
Before entering the show ring, 15-year-old Brittny Hymas walked around with her steer to calm him down.
The goal: To make sure he’s “not jumpy in there,” she said.
It worked. Hymas’ steer stayed still during the commercial steer show, even as judges walked by.
For the Kimberly resident, raising the steer was her sole 4-H project for the Twin Falls County Fair, which kicked off Wednesday. But it was a large time commitment.
4-H beef superintendent Rick Rodgers said children spend six or seven months raising their steers after buying them in January or February.
“There’s quite a bit of work that goes into it,” he said.
Rodgers — a Castleford farmer and school bus driver — volunteers his time working with 4-H children.
After 4-Hers have their steers for a couple of months, the animals are weighed in at the end of March. In total, the animals are on feed for about 160 days.
Raising a steer requires much more work than just feeding it. Children also have to “tame them down,” Rodgers said.
Some children go to different shows throughout the summer to gain some experience showing animals before fair week.
Before entering the show ring Wednesday, children stood outside and took wet rags out of buckets of water to clean their animals.
“They have to bring the animal wet and brushed down so the judge can see exactly what they look like,” Rodgers said.
Colton Shafer, 16, said judges want to see mature animals that are ready to sell.
“I think they look for an animal that’s mostly finished,” the Filer resident said.
Shafer isn’t a stranger to showing animals during fair week. He has been involved with 4-H for eight years.
And this year, he raised two steers — one for 4-H and one for FFA.
Hymas and Shafer were among 63 4-Hers who showed their steers Wednesday. All the animals were born and raised in Twin Falls County.
In the show ring, children brought poles to reposition the steers’ feet. Some of the 4-Hers weren’t much taller than their animals.
On Wednesday afternoon, more 4-Hers gathered outside the rabbit barn. Standing behind tables, they placed their rabbits on carpet squares for judging.
Stacks of ribbons and rows of trophies were ready to go for awards.
Across the fairgrounds, Klea Nelson and her daughter looked at the animals at the petting zoo. It was the first time the Utah resident had been to the Twin Falls County Fair.
Nearby, the carnival area was quiet, except for the sound of hammering as workers put together rides.