Published Thu, Aug 9, 2012 6:20 am Dateline
Hundreds have been making their way to the fairground for the Athens County Fair.
The event kicked off last Friday and although the rides and food attract a large crowd, most are there for the competition.
Livestock shows are the heart of the agricultural fair and participants have been preparing for months.
“[The calves] are born in February, so I start training them in the spring,” says Sierra Powell, an eight-year participant in the Beef Feeder competition.
And training isn’t easy.
Powell says calves must be halter-trained and be able to pose before they’re even a year-old.
“It can be difficult, but it’s still pretty fun,” says Powell.
Livestock competitions differ by the type of animal involved and the experience of the handler.
Rabbits, chickens, cows, sheep, and pigs can all be found at the county fair, some judged for marketing and others evaluated for showmanship.
Powell has been raising a calf for both a marketing project and the showmanship competition. She began showing when she was seven-years-old and says there are many benefits to starting young,
“It’s really nice because by the time you get to a certain age you have a lot of experience and it really makes showing more enjoyable,” says Powell.
Raising livestock is no easy task and requires a lot of time and dedication from a handler. Powell is only 15-years-old but says that showing can be a learning experience for everyone.
“It's a really good thing for your future. It teaches you responsibility and it also opens doors to a lot of career opportunities,” says Powell.
Livestock competitions will continue throughout the week and are expected to come to a close on Friday. Several other events including races, games and derbies will also be available to fair through Saturday.