A summer of hard work, for a reward at the county fair, ‘because we are living advertisements’

Kremer leads her steer to the barn at the Butte and Lawrence County Fair in Nisland.
Kremer leads her steer to the barn at the Butte and Lawrence County Fair in Nisland.(KOTA/KEVN)
Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 11:08 AM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The dog days of summer are spent by the pool, on the lake, or sitting inside next to the air conditioner. That’s how we dream of our summers, but for some kids, it’s feeding and taking care of livestock to show at the county fair.

“I try to be the best person I can be in front of them because we are living advertisements,” said Karlie Kremer, a 4-Her.

For these teens, it’s what they know. They grew up being surrounded by animals on a ranch. And now they take on raising their own.

“I started off showing sheep and then I started showing steers,” said Morgan Mackaben, a Senior 4-Her.

For both Mackaben and Kremerer, they worked their way up to being able to train and show an animal weighing nearly three-quarters of a ton. Mackaben says, “It takes a lot of work to take a steer from a calf and feed him up all the way to 1,400 pounds.”

It’s work that takes time, starting and ending their days with the animals they will show at the fair.

“Six in the morning, go do chores, feed them, make sure they got water, make sure they got hay that probably takes an hour,” explained Mackaben, a member of the Butte Badgers 4-H Club. “When you get closer to show time, you’ll tie them up in the shade, especially with a market steer so they’re not losing weight.”

Each teen will show their animal in a showmanship class, which is judged on the technique used to show the animal. As well as a show where the animal will be judged, for its composition.

“All the 4-Hers down here, all their projects and it’s really nice. I enjoy showing animals, it keeps me busy, but at the same rate I have fun too,” said Mackaben.

And after all of the hard work over the course of a year, 4Hers get gussied up and lead their animals around a ring for people to bid on.

A member of the Short Chaps 4-H club, Kremerer says, “I can spend it on things here and there, preparing for our shows, for livestock, for things that I need so my parents don’t have to pitch in as much, so I can be more responsible.”

Mackaben and Kremerer plan to use any money from this year’s sale to go back into their livestock and save some for college. Each girl plans to stick with agriculture after graduating from high school.

The Butte and Lawerence County 4-H livestock sale is on August 4 at 7 PM.

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