A day for the kids

There was something for everyone at the Redwood County Fair

Photo by Jenny Kirk Youngsters had a blast competing in bouncy ball races in between cheering on their favorite pig during the World Famous L.A. Racing Pigs show at the Redwood County Fair on Friday morning. Eight-year-old Garet Larsen, left, won the first round of races.

REDWOOD FALLS — Children of all ages were thoroughly engaged in all of the activities and experiences that the Redwood County Fair offered throughout the day on Friday.

Area daycares brought swarms of children — many of them clad in colorful, matching T-shirts — out in the morning for Daycare Day at the Fair.

“It’s wonderful,” Judy Fischer said.

Fischer has been a daycare provider for nearly 30 years and appreciates the opportunity to bring her kids — the ones that are at least 3 years old — to the fair every year.

“We’ve been coming every year since they’ve had Daycare Day,” she said. “It’s been at least 10 years.”

Along with special events and a complimentary lunch courtesy of generous sponsors, daycares could also purchase discounted ride tickets.

“I bought two tickets for each of my kids,” Fisher said. “I knew they’d love the swings because I did as a kid, too.”

Wabasso residents Sheila and Randy Salfer decided to bring their grandchildren, Spencer and Khloe Salfer, to the fair.

“It’s been awhile since we’ve been here because our kids are all grown up,” Sheila Salfer said. “All the kids got to meet and greet the Paw Patrol. Most were excited, but some were scared. We got to take pictures with them.”

The Salfers were then thrilled to watch the World Famous L.A. Pig races. A handful of wooden pigs on a stick were given out to kids just prior to the race. The winner — the child whose color matched the winning pig — received a prize after every race.

After a few races, entertainer Gary Dauer invited kids into the ring for bouncy ball and Hula Hoop contests.

“I liked the games — all of it,” 7-year-old Spencer Salfer said. “It was fun. I won the last bouncy ball race. I got candy.”

Afterward, the Salfers enjoyed a carousel ride. Five-year-old Khloe Salfer said the ride was “good.”

“We also went to a dog show and a magic show,” Sheila Salfer said. “It’s a morning filled with lots of things.”

Large groups also gathered to watch the Kent Family Magic Circus. Victor and Mami Kent, along with their seven children, have performed all over the country and even gave a few international performances since beginning in 1995.

The crowd seemed to enjoy the dog tricks in addition to the more dangerous stunts, like swallowing fire, walking on machete blades, jumping into broken glass and lying on a bed of nails.

“It’s really good,” Macy Rohlik said about the show. Rohlik, of Vesta, was one of three girls who had the chance to demonstrate her Hula Hooping skills in between circus acts.

Countless families appeared to enjoy the AnimalFest exotic animal and FFA-run petting zoos. Five-year-old Ava and 3-year-old Eli Radermacher liked feeding the goats. Sherri Stormo and her three children — Chase, 7, Taylor, 4, and Kolbi, 2 — especially liked the Sulcata tortoise, Bennett’s wallaby, pot-bellied pigs and young emus.

“We’re from South Dakota and were just up in Duluth,” Stormo said. “My daughter, Taylor, loves fairs and this looked like a good one to stop at. My son loves races, so we’re planning to go to that (Friday night).”

Other animals included a zebu, llamas, bunnies, zedonk, dromedary camels, silkie chickens and white crested ducks. There was also a miniature donkey, which Redwood Falls resident Glenn Tiffany took a selfie with.

“My wife (Kathy) and I have the grandkids, and I wanted to send some photos to their dad,” he said.

The couple said they were having fun at the fair with three of their 11 grandchildren (Amelia, Audrey and Grayson Pashouwer). They also have one great-grandchild.

The 4-H’ers also looked to be having a good time. Many of them, including Echo siblings Calli and Clay Newton, were gearing up livestock judging.

“We’re shearing our lambs to get ready for the show,” Calli Newton said. “You have to shear their whole body besides the legs. When you leave the legs, it gives them more bone structure and it helps them look better. You have to bathe them before you shear them.”

This year marks Clay Newton’s last eligible year in 4-H — he’s a student at South Dakota State University — 17-year-old Callie Newton still has a few years remaining.

“I’ve been in 4-H since I was 6 years old,” Callie Newton said. “I’ll be a junior this fall. I went to the state fair last year with my sheep. I’m hoping to get back there again.”

According to Newton, the key to having quality sheep at fair time is to focus on muscle mass.

“You have to do a lot of exercise to get them to have good muscle mass,” she said. “You want them to gain weight, but you don’t want them to gain fat as much as muscle. You want to make sure they have enough muscle. It’s a lot of walking.”

Newton, who owns the three sheep she plans to show, showed beef cattle earlier in the day.

“I got overall reserve breeding heifer,” Newton said.

When asked what she liked about 4-H, Newton said, “My favorite thing is working with the livestock, but hanging out with friends is really fun, too.”

The Kodet family is part of the county’s largest 4-H club — the Golden Gophers of Morgan. Six-year-old Chase is a Cloverbud, while younger sister Brooklyn, 3, is still too young to officially participate, though she helps out by sweeping and doing other tasks in the livestock barn. Ten-year-old Morgan Kodet said she’s had a good experience so far this year.

“I’ve gotten a lot of purple ribbons with my horse — and some blue,” she said. “On my shop project, I got a purple, too. I put a lot of work into my projects.”

Morgan Kodet has been in 4-H for five years.

“I like riding my horse the most,” she said. “I’m looking forward to my sheep show and my dog show yet.”

Milroy teenager Kaitlynn Goblish said she was feeling good as she prepared for the dairy cattle show.

“I had to clip her, get her top line nice and tall and tease her tail so it’s nice and puffy,” Goblish said. “I bathed her this morning.”

This year is the third that 13-year-old Goblish is showing dairy.

“It’s fun,” she said. “Wendy was born in March of last year. I bring some stuff in general projects, too.”

Goblish added that there’s a few tricks to showmanship in the ring.

“When the judge is on this side, you want (your cow’s) front leg to be forward and her back leg to be back to make her look nice and long,” Goblish said. “Last year, I got reserve for showmanship. The year before, I got champion.”

4-H is often said to be a family activity. That is certainly the case for the Coudrons — all five children are involved in the Milroy Go-getter club.

“It started with me as a Cloverbud when I was going into second grade,” oldest Victoria Coudron said. “Now, I’ll be going into 11th grade.”

Along with Victoria, siblings Rachel, Elizabeth, Noah and Kathryn Coudron all show dairy cattle. Rachel Coudron was awarded grand champion honors with one of her junior dairy cows, while her sister Elizabeth claimed reserve champion honors.

“It’s going pretty good,” Rachel Coudron said. “I didn’t think I was going to do that well. But it’s very fun.”

Eleven-year-old Elizabeth said she did just about as well this year as last year.

“I did really awesome last year,” she said. “We still have to go back in for overall champion for fall calf (this year).”

While Courtland judge John Schroeder weighed in on the dairy cattle in the ring, Mary Hanson made announcements as they went along.

“It’s nice to see young people involved in dairy,” Hanson said. “In the ’70s and ’80s, there were 60 herds in Redwood County. Now there’s only eight or nine. And of the 10 students showing, nine are leasing their animals. This is why the leasing program is so important. There are so many out there who don’t know what it means to live on a farm or work with animals.”

Hanson admitted that she loves the county fair.

“It’s where I met my husband,” she said. “We’ll be married 44 years this year.”

Seventeen-year-old Adam Welu had a good showing in the dairy cattle competition. He said he has competed for about 10 years.

“My cows walked pretty good. I’m pretty proud of that,” Welu said. “I brought four cows this year. I used to make projects and put them in the 4-H building.”

Welu said he’s gotten busier and busier over the years — he’ll be a senior at Marshall High School in the fall — but he continues to value 4-H involvement.

“I think it’s a great way to learn how to take care of your animal, to get to know them better, and to meet new friends. I’ve enjoyed it. I’m glad I joined 4-H.”