Shows and activities underway at fair

BROWNSTOWN — Livestock shows came in full swing on Monday as 4-Her’s groomed, washed and cared for the many animals that will be shown throughout the week at the Jackson County Fair.

“Moos,” “neighs,” “oinks” and more could be heard throughout the respective barns, but one animal in particular was loud enough to be heard across the fairgrounds.

Many roosters and other birds crowed Monday morning as they were being prepared to take center stage for their big day .

Judge Guy Studebaker of Carroll County has been judging poultry, pigeons and rabbits for more than 30 years, but the thing he enjoys the most is educating kids.

“I am looking for something that fits the standard and for the kids to know what the standard is,” he said. “My passion is working with kids.”

During a typical 4-H poultry showmanship contest, birds of all different kinds, including roosters, ducks and various types of chickens, are scored based on how well they are taken care of and the health of the animal.

This was Studebaker’s first time to be judging the Jackson County 4-H poultry show, but he has traveled all over the state to judge poultry and will be judging poultry at the Indiana State Fair for five days.

“Hopefully, we don’t have any escapees. Sometimes, that tends to happen,” he said.

Studebaker said 4-H is about teaching the kids they are important, and through that, the care they have for themselves will carry on to other parts of their life.

“4-H teaches a lot of values,” he said. “If you are raising your own animals and taking care of them, that’s important.”

Studebaker said poultry is a very important aspect of not only the economy but to other aspects of daily life.

“Most people do not realize, but if you combine all parts of poultry together under one banner, it brings in more money in the state of Indiana than the auto industry, beef, pork and sheep combined and even corn and soybeans,” he said.

He said Indiana produces around 1 billion female chicks that are then shipped all over the world with a hatch rate of about 80%.

“The duck industry in Indiana produces ducks for the meat, and the feathers are ground an goes into coats, sleeping bags and even pillows,” he said. “Ducks also have the same sensitivity of human eyes, and all eye makeup, contact solutions and eye medications are tested on ducks.”

Before the judging commenced, Elizabeth Rotert, a first-year 4-H member, said she cleans the comb of her chicken, Knight, making sure he looks his best.

“I’m excited to start, but I am a little nervous to talk in front of people,” she said. “The hardest part is getting them in and out of their cages.”

Lena Benter, a fourth-year 4-H member, said she enjoys being in 4-H because she learns new things.

“I just enjoy being with my birds and learning about them,” she said. “It’s good to know what’s good with your bird and what you can improve on.”

Benter said she hoped to win the blue ribbon against her friendly competitor, Brocker Bottorff.

While in the arena, they are both competitive, but they are really close outside of the competition, as well, Benter said.

Across the fairgrounds in the parking lot, Wyatt Wires shot off his homemade rocket for his 4-H aerospace rocket launch project.

Richard Beckort, an educator with Purdue Extension Jackson County, said the thrill of pushing the button and seeing the results is the most exciting part.

“These creations have a small rocket engine in it, and just the thrill of pushing the button is what the kids get out of this,” he said.

Beckort said Wires was able to shoot his rocket twice with the second attempt landing in the tree and staying there for most of the day.

These cardboard tubes pack a punch, but Beckort said Wires is looking forward to doing the rocket launch again next year.