Not far from the rides and fair food of the midway is a barn where cattle and other livestock are shown.
The Hardin County Community Fair & Horse Show’s youth dairy cattle show Thursday featured participants in 4-H and FFA classes and an open show opportunity after the youth show concluded.
Jordan Elmore, 23, of Elizabethtown has shown cattle her entire life, including at the Kentucky State Fair and national shows. She shows year round. During the youth show, her nephew Tre Wright, 13, showed her cattle. She brought two Jersey heifers and a red and white heifer.
As far as she knew, Elmore was the only one from Hardin County showing that night. The rest of the participants came from other areas, she said.
“It’s a family thing,” she said. “It’s something I had in common with my dad and made us close.”
You have to work together every day and take care of the cows every day to get them ready to show, Elmore said.
During the Kentucky State Fair, she said her family takes a tent with air mattresses to sleep in the barn during the week while showing cattle.
It’s Wright’s second year showing as a junior and it’s is a good practice run for him going into the state fair, she said.
Showing cattle isn’t an easy or cheap hobby.
“It’s a lot of hard work, every day rain or shine,” Elmore said.
She said the cattle rely on you for everything year round.
“These animals get treated better than we do,” Elmore said.
When the animals get home, she said they are in stalls with fans blowing on them 24 hours a day during the summer.
“We love the animals like our own family,” she said, adding, it’s a a good value.
“If you want a way to keep your kids out of trouble, get into showing dairy cattle,” Elmore said.
When she was in high school, Elmore said she never had time to get in trouble because she was either too tired or had no money because it all went into the cattle.
Showing at the county fair has several benefits, she said. For one, it helps promote the cattle.
“Everywhere you go there are potential buyers,” she said.
It also is a good way to expose others to agriculture.
“It also shows people what we do every day,” she said. “It shows people that cows are not that scary.”
Often visitors to the fair lean up against the gate to watch and they may not normally be exposed to agriculture in that way, she said. They can see someone walking a cow that’s three times their size and be impressed.
Kristin Hall, a FFA adviser at North Hardin High School in Radcliff and volunteer at the show, said showing cattle at a local fair has many benefits.
“Anytime that students and young kids have the opportunity to care for something, they gain a lot of skills as far as responsibilities,” she said. “Taking are of their animals and caring for something else is a lot of hard work and those skills are very useful when they get older.”
It’s also important for the community to see.
“We are not as close to the agriculture community as we used to be when everybody had animals on their farm and had a garden,” she said. “I think it’s important for people to see in the community that we work hard with our animals, treat them fairly and really get a lot of enjoyment out of exhibiting them.”