Dairy cattle traditional at the North Dakota State Fair

Showing dairy cattle at the State Fair

Kim Fundingsland/MDN Fayth Hoger, left, and Sydney Kleingartner, both New Salem, put the final grooming touches on Dandi, a Holstein that was moments away from the judging ring.

Dandi seemed to be enjoying the attention. She was getting her final grooming before making an appearance before a judge in the dairy cattle show at the North Dakota State Fair.

“She’s not quite two, a fall yearling,” said Fayth Hoger, New Salem, who was holding the lead on Dandi outside a show barn. “We have a whole string, about 16 head of Holsteins here. We are showing FFA and 4H and then the State Fair Show and the Dairy Show.”

Sydney Kleingartner, New Salem, and a cousin of Hoger’s, saw Dandi waiting in line to be judged and helped with some final grooming.

“They need to be brushed off and groomed before they hit the show ring,” remarked Kleingartner who will soon be attending her final year at Bismarck State College where she’s pursuing a degree in farm and ranch management.

“Dandi looks pretty good. She’s clean, washed, brushed down, looks good to compete in the ring with the others,” said Kleingartner.

New Salem is Holstein country. Always has been. The tradition there is so strong that even the high school athletic teams are named “Holsteins.” Then there’s “Salem Sue,” a giant fiberglass Holstein that sits at the edge of the city.

“We’ve always had Holsteins,” said Hoger. “We’ve never had any others. Strictly Holsteins. We’ve actually been coming to the fair for forty years. We’ve done this as little kids. My aunt did it since she was a little kid. It’s kind of a tradition. We see a lot of really close friends here, so it’s kind of nice to get together too.”

While Dandi is a traditional black and white Holstein, Hoger said her family also has some red and white Holsteins, but no Jerseys or other breeds.

There was no State Fair in 2020 due to coronavirus. Opportunities to show dairy cattle and other livestock was limited elsewhere too. Kleingartner said the only show they attended last year was the Morton County show in New Salem.

“It was kind of a year off for everybody,” said Kleingartner. “This is actually one of the bigger shows we’ve had in the past couple years with 50 to 60 head here. It’s an open show with quite a few from out of state.”

Both women noted that it seemed people were bringing more animals than usual to the State Fair, trying to make up for a missed year.


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