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Show experience is priceless

Wednesday's dairy show at the Fairbury Fair / CIFN photo.

FAIRBURY – Jim Meyer appreciates the lifelong friendships which result from showing at fairs around the state.

Meyer does plenty of cattle judging at different state fairs and enjoys it. He considers Fairbury a “wonderful” fair which resembles those of years past and one that does things the right way. Meyer, who judged this week’s Fairbury Fair dairy show, formerly showed Holsteins in the Livingston County town.

“We showed when they had the tent over right by where the beer tent is now,” Meyer recalled.

Meyer retired from the Holstein Association after 26 years of classifying cattle all over the country along with Canada and Mexico. He grew up on a Holstein farm at Peotone before moving to Central Illinois where his wife, Ann, is from. In addition to judging, Meyer is a substitute teacher and helps at Erdman Dairy near Chenoa where they milk about 650 cows.

“There’s always something to do,” Meyer said of his wife’s family farm which his son helps operate.

Meyer is able to watch kids show at smaller fairs such as Fairbury before heading to the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. After getting their feet wet at the county fair level, those who get to the State Fair for the first time are often in awe.

“They can’t believe how many cattle there are and how many good showmen there are,” said Meyer.

One of the best parts of the State Fair experience is meeting others. When Meyer’s daughter got married, she had guests at the wedding from six different states since she showed at various fairs through the years.

“They were all people she met showing cattle,” Meyer noted.

Wednesday’s dairy show at Fairbury wasn’t huge but was impressive. Meyer considers the participants great kids who really enjoy what they do.

“We didn’t have a lot of cattle but the cattle that were here were outstanding quality.”

One of those participants was Meyer’s grandson, Cade Freed, who won junior showmanship for dairy.

“I’ve only won showmanship once in beef,” Freed admitted. “It is very cool.”

In fact, Freed mostly enjoys showing beef.

“You don’t have to walk backwards and you have a show stick.”

Freed received reserve champion with his steer a couple of years ago and shows again Saturday at the Fairbury Fair.


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