Last Saturday, we finished what may be our last Iowa State Fair experience. There was tension between the groups we’d stalled with for the last three years. My daughter was a cranky about many things. My wife was half a world away. However, that’s not to say that many, many, many good things didn’t take place, because they did. We had another heifer return to the ring for Jr. Champion, Faith got 5th out of 37 in showmanship, I ate garlic cheese curds, and many stories were told and much laughter was heard!

This is the thank you note I penned on Facebook Sunday night. Like it says, I was tired and feeling sappy, but I love these people, love their passion for their breeds (we had Brown Swiss and Guernseys), and love the fact they are all ready planning for next year.

Will we be there? I don’t know, ask me in January. If we are, there will have to be some changes made. If we aren’t, I will be sad. I know dairy is a hard, unforgiving, stinky, thankless career, but as much as I go down there for my own daughter, I go down to people watch. The eyes in a toddler’s face light up when I ask, “Do you want to pet her?” Heck, the eyes in an adult’s face do the same thing! The awe that people have as these 1800 pound animal amble down the alleyway, chewing their cud, without a care in the world. That’s what makes my experience each time.

Anyway, my note of thank you to our “show family”:


The heifers are home, the truck is cleaned out, and laundry is started. This year’s State Fair is done for us, so it’s that time to say thank you. I’m tired, I’m sappy, so this is going to be long.

Thank you Melissa for making a meal for us that went over great. Your presence was felt even though you were half a world away. Thank you Faith for putting up with lame Dad jokes, not much sleep, being dirty and dusty, but loving your Swiss all the same. Your showmanship class was display of true grit and perseverance (and another top 5 finish).

Thank you Gabrielle for taking days off to come help our crew by handling animals, scooping poop, and just being there for your sister. And thank you J.D., with your presence around the show ring and by helping with the tear down and packing up! To both of you, we appreciated your help more than you know!

Thank you Ulura Swiss Acres and Laura for everything you’ve done this year in the planning and coordination of this event. It takes a lot and each year, we’ve grown to appreciate what you both do. Thank you for letting us be part of your show family. You’ve taught us so much about the breed and what it means to be part of a crew. Whether or not this was our last State Fair, we a lucky to count you as part of our show family, but better than that, friends.

Thank you Ben and Kayla for letting us be part of your show family as well! Your sense of humor and willingness to try new things has taught us a lot! We appreciate both of you and how hard you work for your Guernseys and each other! The way you two work together is so much fun to watch!

And thank you Katy, Matt, and Jessica. It was fun having all of you there with us, Matt, for showing and making us laugh, Katy, for keeping us all company and helping with the crew, and Jessica, for finishing your reign as Iowa Dairy Princess. Good luck Katy as you travel from cold to heat! Good luck Matthew as you continue towards your degree from Coe. Good luck Jessica as you continue towards your degree from ISU!

This was a unique year, one full of ups and downs. It’s times like this where it’s good to remind yourself at in the end, we are doing this for fun and no one is forcing us to show!

Right, Faith??