'WEE ONES SHOWMANSHIP' They're naturals: Kids take the lead in exhibiting cows
The event is open to all children, including those who live in the city and do not raise cows.
By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- The Holstein cow outweighed Abby Hemphill by about 865 pounds. Yet, with a little help from an adult, 35-pound Abby, 4, still managed to lead the cow around the ring Sunday afternoon like a seasoned showman.
"I love leading cows," she said. "Pretty soon I'll be 5, and that's when I'll be able to do it myself."
Abby, of North Jackson, was one of several children who participated in the Canfield Fair's "Wee Ones Showmanship" event Sunday afternoon. The event was in the show ring behind the fair's milking parlor.
Children in the event each led a cow around the ring, as if they were competing in the fair's junior or senior cattle shows. An adult or teen helped the child by holding the cow's reins.
Each child received a trophy of a small golden cow.
Purpose of event: Howard Moff, the fair's cattle director, said he thinks the event encourages the children to compete in the fair in the future.
"These are the kids that come back and are exhibitors," Moff said.
Abby's grandmother, Leanne Isabella, also of North Jackson, said she thinks the 4-year-old will one day be a member of the 4-H Club. She added that Hemphill also helps to care for the 900-pound Holstein, which is kept at the farm of her baby sitter.
"She's been on the farm for years," Isabella said of her granddaughter.
Lori Coler of Columbiana said she thinks that helping to raise a cow helps teach her 5-year-old daughter, Christina, about responsibility. Christina also participated in the Wee Ones event by leading a Jersey cow that was raised on her grandparents' farm in Salem.
"It builds your character," Lori said. "My brother and I grew up around it, and I hope she will too."
Career choice: Christina said that when she grows up, she wants to be an animal doctor. She said her favorite animals were, "bunnies and cows and horses."
Marlena Lyming, 4, of Lordstown, meanwhile, said that when she grows up, she wants to "pet the cow." She led a Brown Swiss cow at the event.
Marlena said she enjoyed brushing and petting the cow, which is kept at the Lou-Ida Farm in Lordstown.
Hoff noted that the Wee Ones event is open to any child, including children who do not raise cows. Those children will be lent a cow to lead in the event, he said.
Hoff added that some of the children in Sunday's event were from urban areas.
"That was a real thrill for them," he said.