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Local 4-H families prepare for 2015 showtime

Frosty is ready for annual Rock County Fair
Lead Summary
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Mavis Fodness

For many of the 179 4-H’ers expected to exhibit at next week’s Rock County Fair, the experience is something they look forward to each year.
For some 4-H’ers like 9-year-old Lanae Elbers of Steen, this year’s annual event will be the first time she’s old enough to be an exhibitor, earning premium monies from the Rock County Ag Society.
Besides bringing a sewn pair of shorts, a cheese cake and a poster showing the parts of a horse, the youngest of Kurt and Lanette Elbers’ three children will also participate in the July 31st horse show.
Thoughts of the upcoming experience left the petite third-grader speechless, as a large smile crossed her face.
After all, her family doesn’t own a horse.
It’s an opportunity Lanae can experience as a non-horse owner only through the horseless horse project. She will borrow another exhibitor’s animal to compete for a ribbon in the showmanship contest.
After two years of participating in the program, Lanae said, she hopes to be showing her own horse.
Older sister, Whitney, 12, knows the special feeling that comes with caring for and preparing animals for the fair.
She is currently working with her prospect beef steer named Jack, teaching him to walk in the show ring at the Rock County Fairgrounds.
“You can’t do that unless you go somewhere else,” she said.
While the seventh-grader may travel to another cattle show this fall, Rock County’s fair will be the only place she will exhibit her clothing, foods, fine arts and shooting sports projects.
Last year, Whitney experienced the Minnesota State Fair after earning a trip through the beef project, a feat she would like to repeat this year.
“It was crazy,” she said of her experience on the state fairgrounds in the Twin Cities. “I have never seen so many people before.”
In 2014, state fair officials indicated more than 1.8 million visitors attended the 12-day event, a new attendance record.
However, because brother Sean, at age 11, is not old enough to exhibit at the state fair, he said he is content to care for his maturing market steer named Frosty.
“I like watching him eat,” he said.
Since February, when the Charolais steer was first weighed, Frosty has gained hundreds of pounds and will make his debut in the show ring on Friday.
This spring, both Sean and Whitney began teaching their animals to lead by first using a four-wheeler and now by walking with the animals on a daily basis.
This is the third year Sean has taken cattle to the fair. He will also exhibit projects in foods, clothing and shooting sports, where he learned about bears.
“It’s fun to show,” the fifth-grader said.

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