Several area teenagers can be found working in the barns at the Newton County Fairgrounds this week, tending to their animals and waiting to show off their hard work for the judges.
The fair kicked off on Wednesday and runs through Saturday at the Newton County Fairgrounds, 700 Field Avenue, in Neosho.
Madelaine Giebler and her family take part in the Newton County Fair every year.
With 13 jersey cows entered this year, Giebler and her three siblings are active on the fairgrounds this week.
"I've been participating since I was eight, and I'm 16 now," Giebler said. "Our whole family is involved."
Giebler said work starts months before the fair, when they begin working with the younger cows, preparing them for the fair. Giebler said preparation includes selecting the animals to take and fitting them for the show, which includes food rationing, washing and grooming.
"As they get older they get used to the routine," she said.
Giebler, whose father Jason is the dairy superintendent, said her family, like many with animals at the fair, stay overnight at the fairgrounds to keep a close eye on their livestock.
"We've milked for 10 years," Giebler said. "We love it. The reward of working with the animals and just seeing how they do in the show."
The family's cows received two reserve champion titles, and several first or second place finishes, while Giebler also won in dairy showmanship.
However, Giebler said there is more to the fair than showing.
"As a little kid, my favorite part was just showing the animals," Giebler said. "I think my favorite part now is seeing the hard work pay off in the end."
In a cattle barn nearby, 13-year-old Amber Garrett and her family kept watch of their four head of cattle, waiting to show them in today's competition.
Garrett is in her second year showing at the fair, and won grand champion at last year's event.
She and her three siblings are each showing one cow at the fair this year.
"They started out with bottle calves when they were younger," said her mother, Lisa Garrett.
She said they started readying for the fair in April.
The Garretts are members of the Wyandotte 4-H Club.
Lori Trone, 16, is also in her second year showing at the Newton County Fair.
Trone, a member of the Seneca FFA, said she is the only member of her family that shows at the fair, though they help her out.
She said preparation included walking the cows daily.
And she, like the Gieblers, doesn't leave her cows alone at night when visiting the Newton County Fair.
"I stay with them at night because it's easier to take care of them," Trone said.
Page 2 of 2 - She will show cows today and has already won best of show for her turkeys.
The third day of the Newton County Fair kicks off at 8 a.m. with a sheep show and horse trail, followed by boer goats at 9:30 a.m. The afternoon includes beef at 1 p.m., with a goat costume contest set for 6 p.m., lead line sheep at 6:30 p.m., and the greased pig scramble at 7 p.m.
The Show-de-o will immediately follow the pig scramble, and the evening will also include live entertainment from Jake Clark and a carnival from Pride Amusements.