110 pounds vs. 1,125 pounds

Madison Fitzgerald

Madison Fitzgerald

By Marcie Klomp
She may be small, but Madison Fitzgerald makes up for it with spunk! One of the perks of living on a farm is being able to have animals and take them to Howard County Fair.
Fitzgerald and her sister, Laine, along with all the other youth who raise livestock, start their journey to the fairgrounds long before the end of June.

Her calf weighed 370 pounds when the family purchased him. “We give them unlimited feed, which gets them the rate-of-gain,” Madison explained. The show animals are worked with every day. “We lead them around and train them by working with a show stick. It takes a long while to get them used to the ropes.”
Once they bring them to the fair on Tuesday evening the excitement is tangible in all the barns. That enthusiasm wanes as the week goes on because those kids and their families are super busy.

Madison gave her itinerary. “One of us is here almost 24/7. We are there every morning at 5:30 to feed and water them. We wash them and brush them out and put out new bedding. If they poop, we have to be here to clean it up so they don’t get all dirty.” For about 45 minutes in the morning and another 45 in the afternoon, the animals are let into the ring. “We don’t want them to get stiff legged.”

This week has been especially stressful, what with the Cresco area receiving four to five inches of rain in the five days of the fair.

“It’s been hard here to keep the windows closed. It’s been a challenge to keep them clean with all the rain. You can’t wash and dry them in the rain,” the FFA and 4-Her said. “Besides, they get all spunked up in the rain.”

Regardless of the hard work, the Fitzgerald family will be back at the fair next year. That’s what they do!

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