The Herald Bulletin

July 19, 2011

4-H’ers show off livestock

Intense heat keeps fair crowds small

By Brandi Watters
The Herald Bulletin

ALEXANDRIA, Ind. — Megan Miller held her heifer by the animal’s face harness and guided the 459-pound cow in the center of the cedar-covered show floor Tuesday.

On her left and right, two other young 4-H’ers tried to control their cows with fire poker-shaped show sticks, guiding the animals’ legs into position. One foot, and then the next.

Using the curled edge of the show stick, the young 4-H members scratched the underbelly of the stressed cows.

“It relaxes them,” 4-H mother Jana Heritier explained, watching the showmanship competition from the stands. Her son, Eric Heritier, 15, would be showing his 2-year-old Simmental steer later Tuesday evening.

Outside the show arena, the Madison County 4-H Fair was quiet Tuesday afternoon as temperatures reached 95 degrees, forcing many of the fair’s typical visitors to wait out the heat in their air-conditioned homes.

Food vendors shut down for the few hours of the lull, placing “be back at six” signs in their booth windows.

Those who couldn’t escape the heat to find air conditioning, the 4-H kids, did their best to show off their livestock in the sweltering show arenas where mounted metal fans were turned on “high.”

Audience members vied for spots in the path of the fans.

Sweating at the fair was just part of the fun for the young 4-H’ers, including Eric Heritier, who was eager to show off his black cow.

Previously, he’d shown sheep, named Apollo and Rose.

Although he focused on his livestock showmanship, Heritier also participated in the fair’s non-animal 4-H projects.

This year, Heritier built a robotic spider operated with a wireless remote control.

It won the championship.

Contact Brandi Watters: 640-4847,