BARODA — It’s been two decades since cows from the Shuler Dairy Farm in Baroda Township began participating in the Berrien County Youth Fair.
But for 7-year-old Austin Wheeler of Bridgman, it’s a whole new world.
Austin has been working with a calf named “Remi” five nights a week for several months in preparation for the Wednesday, Aug. 14, Dairy Show at the fair.
During a recent evening practice session he said it was “pretty easy.” After plenty of pulling and pleading to get the calf out of the barn and over to the practice area, he conceded “I’m going to need a little help.”
He got plenty.
At a typical weeknight practice session, the younger/less experienced participants in “Cow Camp” are helped by veterans such as Jack Mischke, Kaylee Shuler, Skylar Haluch and Jack Elliot.
Kaylee (who’s been showing for about a decade) said it’s fun to help new fair participants (adding that she remembers when she was learning and got tips and help from older fair veterans).
Mischke, 18, said he enjoys getting the animals ready for the younger kids to take to the fair and also takes cows himself including a 4-year-old to milk and for showmanship.
When the second group of more experienced youth begins working with their fair cows (often larger animals), kids from the first group help out with fly spray and helping get show halters ready.
Wyatt Shuler (who runs Cow Camp) said he and his brother, Billie, were the first to show animals from the family dairy farm at the Youth Fair. (about 20 years ago — about 1997).
A friend of Billy’s and his sister (Scott Davis and Jenna Davis-Hawkins) were next. Wyatt said Jenna’s son turns 5 next year and she has expressed interest in having him bringing it full circle.
It has grown to the point where this year 15 animals and 12 people are going to the fair.
“The nice thing is they’re all different ages so you’re able to spread out the responsibility, spread out a lot of the work, and you really end up with a good bunch of kids,” Wyatt said.
Austin took baked goods, vegetables craft barn entries to the Youth Fair in 2018, but this year marks the first time he will show animals.
It’s will be the third year 7-year-old Natalie Freehling has been part of the Shuler dairy team. Her calf this year is “Rosie.”
“It teaches them hard work, dedication, working with animals,” noted her mom, Teri Sue.
Remi and Rosie are among the three Jersey heifers born in March going to the fair for the first time this year. Another trio born last year will be making their second fair visit. One if them, “Rey,” was being led around the practice ring by Marissa Freehling (Natalie’s sister). It’s her second year with the same animal.
Wyatt said many practice sessions end with a couple innings of “barn ball” — a softball-like competition involving a slightly deflated on soccer ball hit with an axe handle.
BERRIEN SPRINGS — The 2019 Berrien County Youth Fair will begin on Monday, Aug. 12, at the fairgrounds, 9122 Old U.S. 31, Berrien Springs. Fair week runs through Saturday, Aug. 17.
This year’s theme is “Country Nights and Carnival Lights.”
The Youth Fair features many exhibits by youths ages 5 through 20, animals, a variety of food, rides, hundreds of commercial exhibits, entertainment, flower gardens and the always-popular Wonders of Birth Barn (Building No. 8).
The Pedal Pull event will take place at 3 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, between the commercial barns and the parking areas off Shawnee Road. Four classes are offered (35-45 lbs., 46-55 lbs., 56-65 lbs. and 66-75 lbs.) registration begins one hour prior to the event.
Youth Fair admission prices (parking included) are as follows: Adult One-Day Pass (13 & Over), $7; Adult Season Pass, $20; Child One-Day Pass (Ages 5-12), $4; Child Season Pass, $10; Age 65 & Over One-Day Pass, $5; Age 65 & Over Season Pass, $13. The gates (at 9122 U.S. 31 and 4261 East Shawnee Road) close at 10 p.m.
Every day is ride wristband day at the fair. The wristbands (cost is $22 each Monday through Thursday and $25 each Friday and Saturday) allow wearers to go on “most” fair rides as often as they want (fair admission not included). Rides are open from 6 p.m. until close Monday and 11 a.m. to close the rest of fair week.
“Fair food” favorites including Korn Dogs, Steak Tips, Fruit Pizza, Elephant Ears and Lemonade will be available all week as well.
The Fair King and Queen (and Prince and Princess) pageant is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, in the Grandstand area.
Contestants are: (King) Jackson Hall and Matthew Carpenter (Queen) Annette Donner, Morgan Gruss, Karen Smith, Samantha Pankratz, Alexandria Smith, Sydney Melton, Allison Crites and Kathleen Krieger ; (Prince) Wyatt Baker, Michael Steinke and Brayden Lawson (Princess) Torey Robbins, Evelyn Furst, Mattalyn Weinberg, Gracie Worley, Megan Bryant, Jessica Thornton, Brielle Berberick, Abiageal Smith and Kyra Krieger .
An Equine Versatility 4-H Contest is set to begin at 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11.
The Youth Fair Daily schedule follows:
Monday, Aug. 12
6:30 to 8:30 a.m. — Weigh-in & Registration of Tractors
8:30 a.m. — Judging of Equine: all Halter Classes & Driving, at Equine Complex
8:30 a.m. — Judging of Goats: Showmanship, Special Needs, Market & Boer, in Show Arena
9 a.m. — Garden & Farm Stock Tractor Pulling, in Grandstand
9 a.m. — Judging of Rabbits: Showmanship, Market, Pens of Two, Doe and Litter, in Rabbit Show Tent
1 p.m. — Judging of Llamas/Alpacas Showmanship, Performance, Special Needs
3 p.m. — Judging of Cats, all classes, in Dog/Cat Tent
4 p.m. — Judging of Sheep, all classes except costume (Show Arena)
6 p.m. — 98.3 “The Coast” Talent Show (7-10 year olds), in Building 34
6 p.m. — Elvis Reprise (Mall Stage)
7 p.m. — NPTA Regional Truck and Tractor Pull featuring Super Farm, Mini Rods and Hot Farm Pulls (Grandstand). Tickets $8, $12 and $14 each reserved or general admission seating.
Tuesday, Aug. 13
(Kids Day — students through high school admitted free)
8:30 a.m. — Judging of Equine: Fitting and Showmanship, Western Riding, Open Ranchmanship, Open Ranch Trail, at Equine Complex
8:30 a.m. — Judging of Beef (all classes), in Show Arena
9 a.m. — Judging of Rabbits, Show Rabbits, in Rabbit Show Tent
9 a.m. — Judging of Poultry: Showmanship & Market Classes, in Poultry Show Tent
10 a.m. — Judging of Dogs, Rally Classes (Dog tent)
11 a.m. — Dance Arts Performers, in Mall area
Noon to 6 p.m. — Law Day (around Building 34)
1 p.m. Home Ec Food Awards (Mall stage)
1, 4 and 7 p.m. — Circus Continental, free in the Grandstand
2 p.m. — Frozen T-Shirt Contest sponsored by Herald-Palladium (Mall Area)
3 p.m. — Judging of Dogs: NTR Exhibitors, in Dog/Cat Show Tent
4:30 p.m. — Judging of Goats, Pet Wether, Cart, Dairy, obstacle and Costume, followed by Sheep Costume
4:15 p.m. — READY Taekwondo Demonstration (Mall Stage)
5 p.m. — Joy Bringers Bell Chorus (Building 34)
5:30 p.m. — Mexican Heritage Dance Team (Mall Stage)
6 p.m. — Horticulture Contest (Youth Memorial Building)
6 p.m. — 98.3 “The Coast” Talent Show (11 to 14 year olds), in Building 34
7 p.m. — Mark Ficks Band (Mall Stage)
7 p.m. — Citadel Dancers (Building 34)
1, 4 and 7 p.m. — Circus Continental (free in the Grandstand)
Wednesday, Aug. 14
8:30 a.m. — Judging of Equine, Saddle Seat, Hunt Seat, Discipline Rail, English/Western, Hunter/Jumper Crossrails, Mini Pony In-Hand Jumping, in Equine Complex
8:30 a.m. — Judging of Dairy, all classes, in Show Arena
9 a.m. — Judging of Dogs: Jr. Handling, in Dog/Cat Show Tent
9 a.m. — Judging of Poultry, Show Classes, in Poultry Tent
9 a.m. — Judging of Rabbits: Costume, in Rabbit Show Tent
11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. — Indiana Michigan Power Energy Workshop, in Youth Memorial Building
12:30 p.m. — Judging of Goats, Other Breeds Classes, Pygmy Classes, in Show Arena
1 p.m. — Judging of Pocket Pets, all classes, in Rabbit Show Tent
1 p.m. — Home Ec. Clothing Awards, on Mall Stage
2 p.m. — Judging of Dogs: Agility, in Dog/Cat Show Tent
3 p.m. — Style Show, in Home Ec. Building 16
3:30 p.m. — Flower Awards, at Mall Stage
5 p.m. — Gypsy Red, Mall Stage
5 p.m. — Judging of Equine, Flags and Cloverleaf, in Equine Complex
5:30 p.m. — Judging of Swine, Showmanship in Show Arena
6 p.m. — 98.3 “The Coast” Talent Show (15-18 year olds), in Building 34
7 p.m. — Lake Effect Jazz Big Band, Mall Stage
7 p.m. — Eli Young Band (with special guest Paul Erdman) in concert at the Grandstand all reserved seating, tickets $10, $35 and $45.
Thursday, August 15
7:30 a.m. — Swine Hersdman’s Quiz (Show Arena)
8:30 a.m. — Judging of Equine Horsemanship and Pleasure,, in Equine Complex
8:30 a.m. — Judging of Swine, Market Classes, in Show Arena
9 a.m. — Judging of Dogs: Obedience, in Dog/Cat Show Tent
9:30 a.m. — Small Animal Auction: Rabbits followed by Poultry, in Rabbit Show Tent
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. — Michigan Blood Centers blood drive, in Youth Memorial Building
1 p.m. — Horticulture Awards, Mall Stage
1:30 p.m. — The Art of Crocheting in Home Ec Building
2:30 p.m. — Craft Awards, at Mall Stage
3 p.m. — Judging of Dogs: Costume, in Dog/Cat Show Tent
3 p.m. — Pedal Pull, behind commercial buildings (entry forms available 2 p.m.)
3:30 p.m. — Healthy Food and Snacks in Home Ec Building
4 p.m. — Judging of Llamas/Alpacas, Costume, Jackpot, Leaping, Limbo, Paper Chain, in Show Arena
4:30 p.m. — The Toonas, Mall Stage
5 p.m. — Judging of Equine: PEP Exhibitors, Equine Complex
7 p.m. — Past Time Band, Mall Stage
7 p.m. — Square Dancing demonstration, Building 34
7 p.m. — Truck Demolition Derby in the Grandstand (Tickets $13, reserved seating)
Friday, Aug. 16
8:30 a.m. — Judging of Equine, In-Hand Trail, Sr. & Jr. Trail, Dressage, at Equine Complex
9 a.m. — Large Animal Auction: Sheep & Goat, Quart of Milk, in Show Arena
10 a.m. — Overall Small Animal Showmanship Sweepstakes, in Dog Tent
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Senior Day Exhibits and Demonstrations, Building 34
Noon — Auction of Dairy Grand Champion Gallon of Milk followed by Beef Auction, in Show Arena
1:30 p.m. — Pinewood Derby race, Youth Memorial Building
2 p.m. — Swine Auction, in Show Arena
3 p.m. — Lacey Peters Zumba, Mall Stage
4 p.m. — Needleheart by Ann Leatz, Building 16
4-6 p.m. — Towne and Country Quilters and the Berrien Springs Library Quilters, Building 16
5:30 p.m. — Amarillo Sky, Mall Stage
6 p.m. — Winners of 98.3 The Coast Talent Shows, Building 34
7 p.m. — Car Demolition Derby, in Grandstand (Tickets $13, reserved seating)
8 p.m. — Andrew Fisher Quartet, Mall Stage
Saturday, Aug. 17
8:30 a.m. — Judging of Equine: Gymkhana (except Flags and Cloverleaf), Equine Complex
9 a.m. — Judging: Youth Tractor Operators, Show Arena
9 a.m. — Judging of Communications Classes, Youth Memorial Building
Noon — Baked Fruit Pie Contest Awards, Building 34
Noon — Overall Large Animal Showmanship Sweepstakes, Show Arena
Noon — Bad Entertainment, Mall Stage
2 p.m. — Resurrection Blues Band, Mall Stage
2-4 p.m. — FIRST Lego Leagues and Tech Students demonstration, Building 34
2:30 p.m. — Ag-Olympics, in Show Arena
3-7 p.m. — FIRST Robotics teams, Building 34
3:30 p.m. — Communication Awards, in Home Ec. Building 16
4 p.m. — Judging of Equine PEP Exhibitors, Riding and Showmanship, Equine Complex
5 p.m. — E-Man, Mall Stage
5:45 p.m. — Parade of Champions through the Fairgrounds, ends in Show Arena
7 p.m. — Bullmania, in Grandstand (Tickets $12, reserved seating)
8 p.m. — Blue Shoes Jazz, Mall Stage
Tickets for Grandstand Shows may be purchased at the Fair Office prior to Fair week Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; starting at 2 p.m. during fair week at the Grandstand Ticket Office; or anytime online at www.bcyf.org. The Fair Office phone number is (269) 473-4251.