DEWITT — Georgia Peach spent Wednesday readying herself for the Clinton County Fair.
Thanks to Morgan Reuter and her younger sister Alyssa, the goat was one of several animals at the fair Wednesday preparing for the fair's main attractions, with the fair continuing today through Sunday in DeWitt.
"Aim the water that way," Morgan, 18, told Alyssa Reuter, 11, while Georgia Peach stationed herself in the bathing pen.
Morgan starts training with her animals before her sister, as to offer a lending hand to her younger sister leading up the fair.
Area Future Farmers of America and 4-H (and others) students arrived at morning check-in Wednesday, settling their animals and preparing for the shows show. For 85 years, the Clinton County Fair has inspired children to raise livestock.
It teaches them responsibility and also patience, said 15-year-old Chase Knoche from Calamus-Wheatland FFA, and also about the animals raised in their area. But mostly, the preparation includes a lot of walking.
"I just work with the animal," said Christian Jacobsen, 17, from Northeast FFA. "A lot of walking and washing, trying to give the judges what they are looking for."
Swine, goats, cattle, rabbits, etc., must be up to a health standard, including their muscle mass, body structure and other aspects of the livestock. Jacobsen, who has been showing since the fourth grade, has three pigs — two crossbreed and one pure Hampshire — and is picking up on a family tradition. Her parent and grandparents were all involved in showing at the Clinton County Fair — family often does play a role in the fair.
"We always had a little hobby farm with goats," said Knoche, who's been involved for three years. "We showed the goats, and it was a good experience."
Morgan remembers a time before she was involved in the fair. Seeing all the livestock was "cool" enough to inspire her to start. Between her and her sister, the Reuters show nine Boer goats.
Morgan's tip is to raise the livestock from birth. There's a lot to learn from the county fair, in particular, showing animals is a good tool, she explained.
"Instead of just buying the animal, it's important to take it as a baby and help raise it," Morgan said. "You take more pride in it, and it's more rewarding."
Walking around animal check-in, there are adults wandering with children — but mostly the children showing the animals are taking care of setting up. Washing the animal seems to be key, as people took turns with hoses and bathing pens.
"(My favorite part) is just being at the fair, and the environment," Jacobsen said.