Talking Pictures: Tina Spaulding, Royalton

Taking care of cows at the fair starts long before the fair. You have to try to find the heifers that you feel have the best confirmation, body-wise. You start feeding them a little bit differently before the fair starts to make sure that they’re well-grown. You start washing them and clipping them before the fair starts to keep their hair nice and shiny and white. You train them to lead before the fair starts, and you just start playing with them, usually a couple of months before the fair. And when you get to the fair, you’re feeding them all the time, they take a bath every morning, so we’re usually up here about 5 o’clock in the morning. We’re outside in the wash racks about 6. At 5 we get up, we come in, we feed the cows. We make sure they have plenty of water, we clean out their beds. We get everybody milked. Then we go out to the wash rack, and everybody gets a bath, scrubbed nose to hoof, and during the day we make sure every need for them is met. Their tails are brushed, their bodies brushed. They’re fed constantly. We stand behind them, when they poop we pick it up immediately, wipe their butts off, wipe the noses, just like any other baby. And then on show day, they get a little extra attention, a little more spiffiness, a little more spic and span, a little more shine to them before they go into the ring. Most of them are like big dogs. They follow you around, they want to be patted. They like people. They’ll moo when people walk by to try to get them to come over and scratch their heads.

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