Central Iowa youth prepare for state fair

Paityn Peterson and her sheep, “Homie” Mahomes, show off the sheep’s treadmill exercise routine as part of preparation for the Iowa State Fair.

Summer is a busy time for young livestock showers in Central Iowa.

Many just got done showing their pigs, sheep, cattle and other animals at the Central Iowa Fair last week. Now, their attention turns to getting ready for one of the biggest events of the year – the Iowa State Fair.

“I’m taking seven pigs up to show in the FFA show and I’m taking one up to show in the open show,” said East Marshall freshman Delaney Runner. “I’ve been showing for two years now, this will be my third year.”

She said she gets a lot out of showing at the fair.

“I like state fair because you get to see people you don’t get to see all the time,” Delaney said. “I think it’s just a great experience and there’s a lot of different people you’ll met. Your friendships can last a long time with those people you meet.”

West Marshall brothers Cody and Cael Kline are also set to show at the big fair in Des Moines.

“This is my first year of showing lambs. A lot of people have helped me out along the way,” Cael said. “It’s just like any other livestock. It takes a lot of time every day.”

He said he is excited to show the sheep at a Future Farmers of America (FFA) show alongside other Marshall County families.

Whether its sheep or the pigs and cattle the Klines are also set to show at the fair, the brothers said there are some key things judges look for.

“You want an adequate amount of muscle, shape, make sure their structure is good,” Cael said. “You work so hard every day because you want to have them dialed-in.”

Cody echoed his brother’s thoughts about putting in a lot of work.

“It’s really cool to do it. It takes a lot of work to be successful. That’s like every day, all day but we enjoy doing it,” he said. “The state fair, there’s a lot of people there. Big crowds. So it’s kind of overwhelming to see all those people there, but it’s fun at the same time.”

Fellow West Marshall student Paityn Peterson said she is excited to show the hard work she’s done with her lambs and pigs at the state fair.

“It takes a lot of time. You have to work with both pigs and sheep a lot so they get used to you and they know what they’re doing,” she said. “You have to walk them every day to keep them in shape.”

Other routines include feeding the animals twice daily and ensuring they have adequate water.

Like other youth who show livestock, Paityn has been competing for years and goes to several shows. She said the state fair is unique.

“The state fair has much harder competition and way more people,” she said. “I like going to the state fair better. The county fair isn’t as competitive and winning and doing better at state fair is just more fun.”

That sense of accomplishment is part of what keeps her working hard and coming back each year, Paityn said.

This year’s Iowa State Fair runs Aug. 8-18. For more information and schedules, visit https://www.iowastatefair.org/