Showing cattle a family tradition at Adams County Fair

The livestock wash area is lively Saturday morning at the Adams County fairgrounds, as participants looking to clean up on trophies and ribbons, scrub their entires. H-W Photo/Steve Bohnstedt)
Posted: Jul. 27, 2013 7:16 pm Updated: Aug. 10, 2013 8:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

It was standing room only Saturday afternoon in the cattle show barn at the Adams County Fair as contestants marched their steers and heifers into the barn to show to the judges.

For many families, it's a tradition to show cattle at the fair.

Adams County farmer Ken Wolf watched as nine of his 14 grandchildren took part in the event. With so many of the grandkids showing cattle, it created an informal competition between the cousins.

"They take it in stride," Wolf said. "They help each other."

The grandchildren typically joke with each other during the cattle showing.

Nine-year-old Cannon Wolf of the Burton Flyers 4-H took home the grand champion award Friday for heifers, besting his cousins.

"It was my first time winning grand champion," he said.

Cannon has shown cattle at the fair for three years. He joked that he was going to retire from showing his heifer to keep his record perfect.

His 17-year-old brother, Connor Wolf, also of the Burton Flyers 4-H, said the stiffest competition between the cousins comes when they show white park cattle.

"All the competition is usually in that show right there," Connor said.

White park is a breed that came to North America from Great Britain in the 1890s.

Kristen Wolf, 12, of the Payson Progressors, explained that the cattle are judged multiple times, potentially earning them multiple ribbons.

"We show all of them each day," she said.

That can lead to multiple results for the same animal.

"One judge might like something different than the other judge," said 17-year-old Katelyn Wolf, of the Payson Progressors 4-H. "Say I have two steers and my friend showed the one that got first place and mine got fourth place. Today, it might be different. Mine could get first and hers could get last. It just depends on what the judge likes."

Judges typically are looking at the frame of the cows.

"You want to ‘rectangle' them," Connor said. "You want a flat top, flat belly. You want their legs straight, and when they walk, you want them walking straight. They want a lot of hair, but white parks don't have a lot of hair."

Participants do their best to brush the hair up for the judges.

Prize-winning cattle help create a strong reputation for the farms were they are raised.

"My oldest boy shows in several places," Ken Wolf said. "That's all advertisement for him. You don't win nothing. He's sold a lot of livestock in all those places."

The Adams County Fair continues through Tuesday. For a complete schedule, visit