Livestock Competition a Family Tradition

September 19, 2006 - Posted at 4:15 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR - Its day two of the Northeast Arkansas District Fair and that means it's officially in full swing! Judging for the livestock began Monday and continues throughout the week...but it takes a lot more then what most folks realize to bring an animal to the fair.

"You have to halter break them, which is you have to try to train them into the halter and you have to lead them everyday and work with them, practice showing them around for the fair," said 11-year-old competitor Amber Culwell.

The Northeast Arkansas District Fair offers a little bit of something for everyone and on Tuesday it was an opportunity for folks in Region 8 to showcase cattle, poultry, swine, goats and rabbits. For the Strain brothers of Rose Bud, it was a chance to make it a family affair.

It takes a lot of work to manage a heard of cattle...especially if your only eight-years-old.

"You have to do all the watering, feeding washing...that's about it," said Sam Strain.

But it's a little easier when you've got your brother's helping hand.

"I'm showing 9 or 10 but we have 59 heads in all," said Daniel Strain.

All three Strain brothers...15-year-old William, 11-year-old Daniel and eight-year-old Sam...are competing at the NEA district fair this year.

"Most of them are Jersey and our Holsteins are good leaders," commented Sam Strain as he busied himself tying the calf to a fence.

"We get out of school for like a week and a half and go to our county fair in Searcy and then come straight up here and miss three more days of school for this," said William Strain.

So far, it looks like cattle competition may stay in the family for a while.  Parents Rick and Corinna made an early impression on their children about livestock.  Their oldest daughter, Margaret, attends the University of Arkansas - Fayetteville and is majoring in agriculture engineering.

"I want to be a farmer and let my kids have the experience of showing like me," smiled Sam Strain.

But big brother William says the younger ones still have a lot to learn.

"Like this morning we had to get up at 3:30 to start getting ready but they didn't show up until more like 6:30, but they'll learn once they get older," laughed William.