By Marie Meis
Elgin Review staff writer
It started with bucket calves. Then, it became second year buckets calves. Soon, it became a dairy calf and one pig. This year, it looks like one bucket calf, two second year bucket calves, four pigs and two sheep. This is a look inside the horse trailer of Baylee and Jayda Chessmore and their sister Shay. Baylee and Jayda will be going into their fifth year of showing at the Antelope County Fair at ages ten and eleven. They showed peewee and Clover kids before they were old enough to be in 4-H.
Their grandma Alice Morrison helps them get their animals ready for the fair. It started with first year bucket calves and has now turned into a full barn of animals they are bringing to show.
Their growth in numbers is reflective of the fair. Bucket calf numbers have jumped so high, they are creating another show just for the first year bucket calves. This year, they anticipate 28 Clover kids and 34 8-12 year olds to bring in bucket calves. In 2013, there were a mere eight in this category. This isn’t even counting the second year bucket calves like Baylee and Jayda’s, where 19 are registered to come in 2019.
The 4-H committee understands how hard these bucket calf showman have worked so that’s why they’ve changed the show, to allow more time with each 4-H member. Each member fills out a record book explaining their animal and the work they’ve put in. It used to be, the judge would look at the record books beforehand, watch them all at once in the show ring and decide a champion and reserve. With the new show, the record books will be judged, each 4-H member will interview and finally, they will enter the ring for showmanship. Each area is judged and scored and an overall champion and reserve will be picked. There are also awards for each area, receiving prizes such as halters.
The Chessmores started showing with first year bucket calves and both say they really enjoyed doing it. This year, they decided to show three different kinds of animals. They spend time working with each one from 8-11 every morning. This includes tying up and walking their cattle, washing and rinsing them and doing the same with their sheep.
Their mother Cass Coons said, “They are making memories while they’re practicing and while they’re at fair.” Along with gaining memories, they might be learning a few lessons along the way.
Coons told the story of last year when Jayda asked her sister Baylee to show one of her extra hogs and she had not worked with it very much beforehand. When they got in the show ring, the pig ran under Baylee’s legs and picked her up, right in front of the judge.
This year, they’re both taking more a little more time to work with their swine.
Every animal and every year bring new lessons and new things to try.
While they have shown cattle before, Morrsion said their focus this year is getting the girls to use their scotch comb correctly.
For the hogs, they’re continuing to learn how to manage them in the show ring and for sheep, they’re working to learn the basics.
Showing animals at the county fair is sure a learning experience and the Chessmore girls are excited to come back another year.
As their mother said, “At the end of the fair, you get to see all this hard work pay off.”