By EBONY WINDOM
Youngsters look forward to the Pasco County Fair every year. Aside from the rides, games and food, part of the draw is the animal exhibits.
Tension was high as 4-H Club members and FFA members from around Pasco and surrounding counties gathered to have their dairy cows judged. Almost 100 friends and family cheered from the stands.
"I want to win a trophy," said 7-year-old exhibitor Josie Tomkow. She and her cousin, Natalee Gude, 8, spent hours preparing their calf, Buttercup. "We want her to look pretty for the show," she said.
The girls, with the help of some older cousins and friends, meticulously groomed Buttercup using a comb, brush and hair spray. They even scrubbed her toenails.
"It was a lot of work to give her a bath," Josie said.
"Yeah, we were having fun throwing bubbles everywhere," Natalee said.
Unlike steers, dairy cows are not sold at the end of the fair. But Natalee hopes to someday sell Buttercup.
"She'll be happier at a dairy," she said.
Josie and Natalee didn't win trophies, but they did take home blue ribbons for their participation.
For many kids, the animal shows are a family tradition.
Strait Butler, 5, of Dade City entered his black Holstein calf named Miss Heart. Named for the white, heart shape on her head, Miss Heart and Strait went home with a blue ribbon for participating in the 8 and younger class.
"We're into cows," Strait's mother, Tammy Butler, said. "Now he's finally old enough to show. He has worked hard. All of his cousins have been showing and he's been looking forward to being in this since before he could walk."
Pasco County Youth Dairy Committee members say the show has become popular since it began four years ago.
"Participation has increased rapidly, through the support of the community," said committee member Joan Crandall of Zephyrhills. Her daughters, Katy and Kari, went home with ribbons.
"This activity teaches them responsibility and keeps them busy and active," Crandall said.
Katy, 15, said she was proud of her white ribbon, earning her third place for showmanship for her calf, Dixie.
"I always have a lot of fun," she said.
The fair's last day is today. Hours are noon to 7 p.m.
2003 PASCO COUNTY FAIR SCHEDULE
Noon Gates open, W.G. Wade Shows Midway opens.
Noon-7 p.m. Robinson's Racing Pigs.
12:30, 2:30, 4:30 and 5:45 p.m. Rock-It The Robot strolling the fairgrounds.
1-4 p.m. Youth Sheep Show, Albert A. Barthle Livestock Pavilion.
1-5 p.m. "Babes and Bubbles," Baby pageant, Dan Cannon Auditorium.
1, 3 and 5 p.m. Kachunga and the Alligator Show, Gator Pit.
2, 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. Sean Emery, comedic juggler, Back Porch Theater.
2:30, 4 and 5:30 p.m. Ron Diamond, magician and hypnotist, Back Porch Theater.
3 p.m. Youth Plant Show Sale, Horticultural Greenhouse.
7 p.m. Fair Closes.
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